Springfield may add TIF district to section of Route 66

Sheas Gas Station - Route 66

Springfield, Illinois, may add a tax-increment financing district to declining Peoria Road, which is historic Route 66 in the town’s north side.

TIF districts are where taxes from rising property-tax values are used to pay a part of renovation costs or infrastructure improvements for businesses.

Anecdotal evidence existed the Peoria Road district was in decline, but WRSP-TV had concrete numbers to show the problem is real:

Sangamon County data shows property values near Peoria Road dropped six percent from 2009 to 2014. 2010 census data shows less people are living near the corridor. Ward 4 Alderman John Fulgenzi said it’s a poor sign for businesses looking to plant roots.

“We need to give them some reason to build here,” said Fulgenzi.

So he put forward an ordinance for the city to research whether it should establish a TIF district. A portion of any property tax increases on Peoria Road could help fund businesses doing construction.

“Every time they tear something down or something goes out of business they put up a for sale sign or it’s a vacant property,” said Fulgenzi. “We need something to replace that.”

John Fulgenzi co-owns Fulgenzi’s Pizza and Pasta on Route 66 in Springfield. The Fulgenzis recently bought the Mahan’s Filling Station during the estate auction of Bill Shea, who owned Shea’s Gas Station Museum on Route 66 in Springfield until his death in 2013. The Fulgenzis moved the station to the restaurant and want to make it a Route 66 destination.

On a related note, Geoff Ladd of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway found a 2000 article from the Lincoln Daily News about the gas station’s history and uncovered more information that indicates Mahan’s may mark its centennial next year. Jeff Fulgenzi estimates Mahan’s may date to 1917 in its original home in Middletown, Illinois. Shea acquired the gas station in 2000 and moved it to his museum.

The overall economic effect of TIF districts seems mixed, at best. John Fulgenzi feels the need to do something to keep that part of Springfield from worsening. Regardless of what happens with the TIF, however, the Fulgenzis’ attempts to create a new Route 66 destination with the Mahan’s Filling Station definitely is a step in the right direction.

(Image of Mahan’s Filling Station in 2011 at Shea’s Gas Station Museum by John via Flickr)

3 thoughts on “Springfield may add TIF district to section of Route 66

  1. I’m glad the Fulgenzis are working to try and get something done.

    Ron, you mentioned that TIFs have a mixed record. Can you expound on that a little? Thanks.

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