First the agreement won approval with the Logan County
Regional Planning Commission. Then it went on to all the
participating parties for approval. Sangamon County, Logan County
and Lincoln have all approved the agreement. All that remains is
approval by the village of Elkhart, and then the measure would go on
to the state enterprise zone commission for final approval.
Lincoln not only passed the agreement but also an ordinance.
Their agreement was drafted with stipulations that neither Sangamon
nor Elkhart would have power to add or remove any properties from
the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone. That initiative would
remain with Lincoln and Logan County only and would not only serve
to expedite future additions, but also allow Lincoln and Logan
County to retain control of the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise
McClure was contacted by the Elkhart consultant, who said that
Elkhart officials would be turning down the contract at their
monthly meeting tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 13). They do not like the
wording added by Lincoln that if their enterprise zone does not get
developed, it could possibly be removed by vote of Lincoln and Logan
Bates said he raised the question to the McClure, "How is
Elkhart any better off if they let this proposal get away?
Because if this gets away, they have no enterprise zone, for Corn
Belt or anybody else."
Bates said that he also responded to a comment of possible
animosity toward Elkhart. He said that in his three years as city
attorney, sentiments toward the village of Elkhart have always been
nothing but cooperation and good-neighbor sentiments.
Brief facts and history
The request for the extension of the Lincoln/Logan County
Enterprise Zone to specific properties in Elkhart and Sangamon
County was represented as an intention to allow Corn Belt Energy to
locate a power plant at Elkhart and Formosa to rebuild and expand
its plant in Sangamon County.
Once a business begins building on a site, that enterprise zone
designation is locked in for the duration of the whole enterprise
zone. The Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone is slated to renew in
1997 for another 10 years.
When an enterprise zone is granted, it is for the property, and
whatever business is located on that property has enterprise zone
advantages. If Corn Belt Energy did not locate the plant there,
Elkhart would still have the property to market for some other
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in this article]
This poses a potential drawback to Lincoln if another industry
considering locating in Lincoln or Elkhart might choose to go to
Elkhart instead. There is one such entity currently looking at both
However, according to McClure, Logan County Board Chairman Dale
Voyles indicated that in the interest of economic development in the
county, the county would be supportive of keeping an enterprise zone
once it is already established at Elkhart or for any other community
in the future.
McClure is concerned with getting the extension passed quickly.
The conduit in getting the Lincoln/Logan County Enterprise Zone
approval from the state is based on unemployment rates of the
proposed areas. These rates are improving and could jeopardize this
Bates said McClure told him that he would like to see the
agreement pass as originally proposed with a new side agreement
between Lincoln, Logan County and Elkhart that the property in
Elkhart will not be removed from the enterprise zone without
Concern for the loss of this development opportunity reigned with
further discussion. Bates said he is concerned for the success of
Formosa and Corn Belt, which promise many benefits and big returns
to the communities in property taxes, retail and jobs.
On next week's agenda
Mayor Beth Davis said: "I personally don't harbor any ill
feelings against Elkhart or anyone else. I would agree to amend a
side agreement with Elkhart and get the project moving. If people
mess around here, we might lose the whole thing. That's not good,
In summary, Elkhart is asking that any property approved for
enterprise zone in Elkhart not be removed without their approval,
Aldermen Benny Huskins and Verl Prather chimed in simultaneously,
"I don't have a problem with that."
City zoning and ordinance chairman Patrick Madigan proposed that
the new side amendment be put on next week's agenda to "vote
A straw vote of the council indicated only one possible vote
against the proposed amendment.