The Christian County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors Executive Committee met Thursday afternoon in the Greater Taylorville Chamber board office, to review ongoing economic development efforts.
Executive director Mary Renner reported to the committee on several ongoing projects she's involved in.
She reported that the project engineer for the proposed Taylorville Commercial and Industrial Park on the city's west side, has submitted to the City of Taylorville, a request for variances and drainage computations for the site. Those plans must be approved by the city council's Street and Sewer Committee, Planning Commission, then the City Council as a whole. A mandatory traffic study has been submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The new industrial park will be built with over 500-thousand dollars of local funds raised, plus another 500-thousand dollars from the federal government's Economic Development Administration.
Renner reported that the City of Taylorville has completed the necessary steps to allow a Business District inside the Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, area number one, to benefit the proposed Steak and Shake project on Taylorville's northwest side. The City is awaiting further information from the developer before finalizing the Business District, which would provide incentive funds to Steak and Shake for infrastructure that will be needed for the restaurant.
Renner added that TIF area # 2, which will include the former Tenaska property northeast of Taylorville, has interest from EmberClear, to possibly build a gas to electricity power plant at that location. Talks between Renner and EmberClear continue.
Clearwater Organic Farms has closed on the purchase of the former Buckley Greenhouse west of Taylorville on Illinois Route 104, to grow organic vegetables. Renner says they're expecting to begin production in August. 3 people have already been hired at the new plant.
Renner told the committee that 3 different alternative energy companies, are interested in locating in Christian County. 2 of them—Next Era Energy and Invenergy—are looking at building solar farms in an area south of Taylorville, while Tradewind Energy is looking at building a wind turbine farm east of Oweneco. All 3 projects would lease farm land from owners, on long-term leases. Electricity generated would be placed on the nation's electric grid, which has feeder lines thru the county. All 3 projects are awaiting formal policies from C-C-E-D-C, the City of Taylorville and Christian County, on such things as extending the county's Enterprise Zone and any other tax incentives that could be offered.
The committee set Friday, October 19th, as its annual meeting date. The annual board meeting takes place at 10:30, with lunch and a program following at noon. A location is currently being worked on.