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Friday, July 08, 2016
State of Illinois Issues Statement of Eligibility for Kankakee Downtown Historic District
KANKAKEE, IL – July 8, 2016 – After initial assessment, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has determined that the Kankakee Downtown Historic District is eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. In correspondence dated July 5, the agency informed local project partners that the proposed district meets National Register criteria for both historical and architectural significance.

The City of Kankakee, Kankakee Development Corp. and the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County are pursuing the honorary National Register of Historic Places designation in an effort to secure tax incentives for preservation-based property rehabilitation.

Carlile Architects of Kankakee is consulting on the project, which will involve submission of a comprehensive nomination by October, presentation to the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council in December, and final reviews by both the IHPA and the Keeper of the National Register, Washington, D.C. If approved, a National Register designation for Downtown Kankakee would be official in early 2017.

“Downtown Kankakee is in the midst of a real renaissance, with both public and private investment accelerating,” noted Kankakee Development Corp. Executive Director Bill Yohnka. “National Register designation brings with it tangible cost savings for further private real estate rehabilitation in our urban core.”

“The 20% federal income tax credit for qualifying property rehabilitation is really what we’re after with this initiative,” explained Economic Alliance Director of Marketing & Business Attraction Lisa Wogan. “A National Register designation would position Kankakee well to attract developers who appreciate the value of both historic architecture as well as these revitalization incentives.”

The proposed Kankakee Downtown Historic District is made up of 71 buildings loosely bound by East Avenue to the west, Oak Street to the north, Harrison Avenue to the east and Station Street to the south. According to the IHPA’s initial assessment, the majority of income-producing properties within the proposed district built between 1861 and 1966 would be contributing and thereby eligible for the 20% federal income tax credit for qualifying property rehabilitation.

Because being listed to the National Register of Historic Places is an honorary designation, the status does not:

·        Require private property owners to obtain prior approval to change their property when using private, city or county funds,
·        Require private property owners to preserve or restore their registered place,
·        Block state or federally funded/permitted/licensed projects when these are desired by the owner and shown to be in the public interest.

“Carlile Architects is honored to be participating in this initiative,” remarked Carlile Project Manager Elisabeth Dunbar. “National Register designation would reinforce Kankakee as a progressive, business-friendly community while placing no restrictions on property owners who opt not to pursue the federal tax credit.”

Further information about the benefits of a National Register of Historic Places designation for Downtown Kankakee will be shared at a public hearing on Wednesday, August 31, 5:30 p.m., at Kankakee Public Library. All impacted property owners will be notified by mail of the event. Questions in the intervening period may be directed to Lisa Wogan, 815.935.1177.

The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County is a public-private partnership that works to create jobs and expand the economic base by improving the local business climate. Working under Kankakee County's 2014-19 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, the Alliance is challenged to help spur $500 million in new business investment and 500 new jobs, along with assisting 150 prospective new businesses. Kankakee County saw more than $1 billion in capital investment in FY 2014 and 2015. For more information, visit or phone 815.935.1177.