Economic Alliance of Kankakee County President and CEO Mike Van Mill and McColly Bennett Commercial broker Jeff Bennett presented at the Spring Conference of the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association (IEZA), held April 29 to May 1 in Springfield.
Van Mill, the association’s vice president, presented the “EZ 101” course, a primer for new Enterprise Zone administrators. The state of Illinois Enterprise Zone program is currently being restructured, with new state statutes dictating that many existing Enterprise Zones throughout Illinois are phased out by July 2016. Communities were permitted by the state to propose plans for new zones, applications for which were due in Springfield by December 31. The needs-based designation requires communities to quantitatively measure and report economic impact on an ongoing basis.
Kankakee County is fortunate to have two Enterprise Zones, both of which have been instrumental in incentivizing Kankakee County’s industries to invest, grow and hire. Together, Kankakee County’s zones have seen the addition of nearly 6,500 jobs as well as more than $409M in capital investment, helping to make Kankakee County Milken Institute’s #1 small metro in Illinois for economic growth along with Forbes’ #9 metro nationwide for cost of doing business. Read more about Kankakee County’s high-performing Enterprise Zones here.
Bennett participated on an “Illinois Competitiveness” panel with Tracey Hyatt Bosman, Managing Director Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co. Bennett offered observations with personal experiences in Kankakee County and the Chicagoland Southland over the past 30 years.
Keynote speaker was Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Acting Director and private equity executive James Schultz.