Peoria Heights moving forward with TIF

Christina Smith

Peoria Heights residents had the opportunity to ask questions, express concerns or share their thoughts about the village’s proposed Tax Increment Financing District, during a public hearing July 15.

In order to create a TIF, an eligibility study had to be completed to show that the area meets the requirements for a TIF.

Illinois law states that an area has to meet several requirements to become a TIF district, including blighted-improved, conservation-improved and blighted- vacant land.

Under the five requirements for blighted-improved, the area met seven requirements. 

For conservation-improved, all structures involved in the project met seven requirements and are 35 years old or older.

Only one criteria for blighted -vacant land needed to be met, which the area meets.

Beth Ruyle, executive vice-president and director for Ehlers and Associates, said that while the area is referred to as blighted, the definition does not mean what most people would think.

“Blighted is a specific definition from  state law, it is not what you understand from the dictionary,” Ruyle said.

Ruyle said to qualify for a TIF district, properties have to be places that could develop, if the needs of the area are addressed.

Ruyle said notices about the TIF were sent to all Peoria Heights residents within 750 feet of the TIF.

Mayor Mark Allen said if residents want to stay in the TIF, they can stay there.

“As long as I am mayor, I guarantee that there will not be any eminent domain of a homeowner’s property,” Allen said. “In my opinion, I think the best thing for Peoria Heights is to take care of its residents.”

For more on this story see the 7/23 issue of the Peoria Times-Observer.