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Local

Diamond Enterprise Zone’s $1 billion natural gas plant

Expansion of enterprise zone would give plant tax, regulatory breaks

The current Diamond Enterprise Zone, with the proposed expansion at the north to accommodate the CPV Three Rivers project.
The current Diamond Enterprise Zone, with the proposed expansion at the north to accommodate the CPV Three Rivers project.

MORRIS – With a few pen strokes and boundary changes, a planned energy plant could be built in the Diamond Enterprise Zone.

The CPV Three Rivers project is a planned 1.25-megawatt natural gas plant that would be located in the Diamond Enterprise Zone. Locating the plant in that area would require expanding the enterprise zone, from 12 to 15 square miles.

Announced in 2016, the CPV Three Rivers Energy Center is a nearly $1 billion privately funded project designed to meet the future electricity demands of Illinois. The facility is planned to provide enough electricity to power about 1.1 million homes.

So far, the Diamond Enterprise zone hasn’t had much activity, with the only project so far to renovate a gas station, said Teresa Kernc, the mayor of Diamond, at a recent Grundy County board tax committee meeting.

But she liked the idea of kicking off the zone with a $1 billion project.

“It’s definitely regional in scope,” Kernc said.

County Board Chairman Chris Balkema, R-District 2, said that the purpose of items like enterprise zones is so localities in Illinois can compete with those in other states to attract businesses to their region.

The expansion would allow the CPV site in Goose Lake township to connect to the Diamond Enterprise Zone. Kernc said she had spoken with Nancy Norton, president and CEO of the Grundy Economic Development Council, who said it would free up space in the other enterprise zone in Grundy County, the La Salle/Ottawa/Grundy County Enterprise Zone.

“This would allow Grundy County to save the remaining enterprise zone property ... for the redevelopment of the shuttered Collins Station,” Kernc said.

In order for the boundary changes to take place, Kernc said, there needed to be an intergovernmental agreement between Grundy County and Will County.

Portions of the route to access the CPV property and the planned project would need to go through Will County, Kernc said, necessitating the agreement.

The plan would also result in the property of the Reichold facility being removed from the enterprise zone, something the company has requested.

An enterprise zone is supposed to encourage economic development in economically depressed areas through tax incentives, easing of regulations and improved government services. There are currently more than 100 enterprise zones across Illinois.

Norton, in a memo to the committee, said competing plants of the CPV Three Rivers facility are located in enterprise zones and receive those incentives.

The committee approved moving the intergovernmental agreement forward to the county board for approval.

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