Belleville votes in favor of TIF for Our Lady of Snows development

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) – Mention Tax Increment Financing and you are usually spoiling for a fight.

But when the Belleville City Council met in special session Tuesday night to vote on a TIF for a new hotel, convention center and restaurant development, the plan breezed through with only one council member voting no.

The development will be located on vacant land just across Highway 15 from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

The shrine owns the land and partnered with developers from Effingham to design a complex that would include a hotel, a 30,000 square foot convention center, and several restaurants including a Hofbrauhaus brew pub.

The developers said they would come up with the $60 million to build it if the city would grant them a $6 million TIF, and spend a couple million more to extend the sewer.

After a brief discussion, the council voted 14 -1 in favor of the tax breaks.

The lone dissenter was Councilman Mike Buettner.

'We are going to concentrate nine restaurants in an area; I just don`t see the numbers, I just don`t,' he said.

Some who oppose the plan argue that the city should be focusing more of its efforts trying to revitalize the core of the city instead of its western outskirts.

Supporters say the city will benefit from the half million dollars a year in new sales tax revenue the development is expected to generate.

'I think for that part of town and the shrine, it is going to mean more people coming its direction, more people seeking things they maybe didn`t even realize they were looking for,' said Chris Diel, Director of Marketing for the shrine.

Diel said they expect to break ground in 30 to 40 days.

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