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Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Continues To Help Ravinia Business District


Ravinia Business District

The Ravinia Business District is a unique neighborhood commercial corridor on Roger Williams Avenue between Green Bay Road and St. Johns Avenue. The district is anchored by the Ravinia Metra station and is walking distance to the renowned Ravinia Festival. The City, local businesses, and residents are committed to strengthening this commercial corridor through a variety of economic development strategies that include a Special Service Area and TIF District.

Ravinia Special Service Area

A Special Service Area (SSA) is a taxing mechanism authorized by the Illinois Constitution to provide additional services for a specific area. The funds may be used for improvements such as maintenance, landscaping, security, and local business marketing and advertisement. The Ravinia SSA (SSA #17) was approved on December 9, 2013. The tax is paid by commercial property owners on Roger Williams Avenue and St. Jones Avenue and has been used to fund marketing efforts and events such as Harvest and Harmony Fest and Food Truck Thursdays.

Ravinia TIF District

The City established a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District in Ravinia in 2005. TIF Districts are permitted under Illinois law and exist for no more than 23 years. Additional property tax dollars generated by increased values in the district are placed in a dedicated fund that can only be used to finance improvements and public investments within the boundaries of the TIF District. The primary goal of the Ravinia TIF District is to ensure it continues to serve as a viable neighborhood retail district, while maintaining its historic character.

Since its inception, TIF funds have been used to design and construct new crosswalks in the district, increasing pedestrian safety and contributing to the character to the neighborhood. In addition, the funds supported new gateway and wayfinding signs that have helped to brand and identify the Ravinia District. Future projects include new street lighting, as well as streetscape design and construction documents as part of the Ravinia Business District Streetscape Improvement Project.

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Streetscape Improvement Project

Utilizing TIF funding, the City is currently working with an engineering and design team to develop construction documents for the Ravinia Business District. The project will further advance the concepts presented in the 2012 Streetscape Design & Identity Plan and findings from the Strand Associates’ 2012 Utility Adequacy Study, as well as include the next phase of design work. That next stage of engineering and design work will identify new street lighting for installation within the next year, and provide detailed cost estimates for a final streetscape plan for the District. The goals of the project are to:

Upgrade the Roger Williams Avenue corridor to leverage additional private investment in the district and elevate the Ravinia Business District into a vibrant, modern mixed-use neighborhood;

  • Stimulate additional reinvestment and growth in the area; 
  • Enhance the quality-of-life for the adjacent residential neighborhood; 
  • Further establish the district as a destination for pedestrians and cyclists; and 
  • Provide a streetscape infrastructure that offers a connected, welcoming business district to visitors.

Visit the project webpage for updates and to learn about opportunities to get involved!