Central Illinois Ag is a farm implement dealership in Atlanta. Last
year at the end of June, much of the business facility was destroyed
by fire. Since that time the dealership has been conducting business
in temporary buildings.
What the company lost in that fire was a
22,000-square-foot building, but last fall in an interview with LDN,
fifth-generation owner Michael Schmidt said the intent was to come
back with a 57,000-square-foot facility that would be
state-of-the-art and capable of servicing today's larger and more
sophisticated farm machinery.
On Tuesday evening, McClure told the council that Central
Illinois Ag is planning to build a $6 million structure on their
existing property. He noted that Atlanta is already part of the
enterprise zone, so extending the zone for Central Illinois Ag would
take up 0.03 square mile, which is quite small.
McClure also said the new facility would assure the employment of
the current 25 employees plus add another five employees over the
first couple of years after construction is completed.
McClure would visit the other participants involved in the
Lincoln/Logan Enterprise Zone, who will also need to make approvals
The council was told that city attorney Blinn Bates has been
given a copy of the enterprise zone modification. Bates would
examine all the documents to assure they are in proper order and
make a recommendation to the council in the near future. The item
will then be put on the agenda for a future voting session.
With McClure on hand, Mayor Keith Snyder took the opportunity to
ask about the future of the state's enterprise zone program.
The enterprise zone is set to expire in 2017. However the state
has been working on a means by which to continue an enterprise zone
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McClure told the council that he had hoped it would be a
renewal program wherein communities that already had enterprise
zones could simply renew for another term.
However, he said that is not how it is going to be. Everyone will
have to reapply for their enterprise zone. In addition, he said the
state has added 10 new criteria for qualifying for an enterprise
"Everybody will have to start from ground zero, square one, and
compete to be an enterprise zone again," McClure said. "They (the
state) have not designed it to be an easy process. They have
established 10 new criteria. They have established that not only do
you have your territory or enterprise zone, but you also have to
have your market area statistically showing unemployment. You also
have to show full infrastructure plans for the area, you have to
show future investment for the area. So it is a pretty complex,
convoluted, complicated process."
McClure said that the one thing Lincoln and Logan County has
going for it is that its enterprise zone doesn't expire until 2017,
which will be after the first round of decisions from the state on
enterprise zone applications. He said Lincoln would be able to sit
back and observe what happens, which could better prepare them when
they go up for a new enterprise zone.
He concluded that he felt like a year from now, the city and
county should start working on their plans, and he warned that what
was submitted to the state would have to be completed in a very
McClure has had involvement with applications to the
Lincoln/Logan Enterprise Zone for several years and has helped to
designate zone areas. He finished up by saying that he would be
happy to work with the city again in the next round.
[By NILA SMITH]
Lincoln/Logan Enterprise Zone: