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By Pat Pratt
A new restaurant in downtown Troy is expected to be complete by the end of summer and possibly sooner, City Administrator Jay Keeven said this week while providing updates on several projects currently underway.
Pfund construction of Edwardsville is in the process of renovating the old US Bank building at the corner of Main and Market Streets in Troy, which upon completion will house the new eatery and several apartments on the top floor. The location will also offer a coffee shop and patio seating.
Keeven said the development is one aspect of the city’s overall goal of revitalizing the downtown area. He noted the building has been vacant for 7-10 years and seeing it occupied again with a thriving business is a positive for the community. The name of the eatery has yet to be announced, but it could be ready by the end of summer or possibly sooner.
“We want to revitalize our downtown,” Keeven said. “We want bars and restaurants and shops there. We want people to come downtown and spend their money in Troy. And this redevelopment agreement was good for us, because it’s doing just that.”
In addition to the restaurant and apartments, other formerly vacant buildings downtown are soon to be occupied by retailers. Those include the Adams building at 101 East Market Street, which will feature a new med spa, and the building at 103 East Market Street, which will house a new salon.
“So those are three buildings right on our main downtown corner which were empty and are now going to be bustling again,” Keeven said.
The revitalization efforts also coincide with infrastructure improvements downtown, such as new street lighting, utility and sidewalk improvements. However, Keeven said it may be some time before those are complete, as no grant assistance was available.
The city is still in the process of having power lines moved underground near the old US Bank building, as that is necessary for the construction of the second-floor apartments atop the new restaurant.
“Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in a couple attempts to get some grant funding to do those projects,” Keeven said. “So they are not going to happen as quickly as we would like. We are going to have to do this now as we receive money from our downtown TIF district and from our business district, which is sales tax.”
“As the money comes in we are still going to do this, but we didn’t have the funds to do it all at once because it’s about a $2 million project.”
Tax increment financing (TIF) is where some taxes are diverted or refunded to companies or developers for improvements. Those are usually collected under a tax applied to a geographical area, such as a downtown or other business district.
And with the downtown TIF district showing signs of success, the city is studying the feasibility of another along the I-55 corridor and the western section of Illinois Route 162. Moran Economic Development during the June 5 council meeting presented the results of that study, which showed properties under consideration do meet the qualifications to form the new district.
Keeven credited Mayor David Nonn with spearheading the recent move to improve business climate in Troy, saying it was one of his first moves upon taking office. He also lauded the city council for its ability to coalesce on measures to initiate those changes.
“I think we are moving in a positive direction and the credit for that has to go to our mayor, Dave Nonn, who had the vision for revitalizing downtown and bringing commercial development to the city. He felt it had stalled far too long and we had to take some aggressive action. So the vision is his.”
“We also have a very fiscally conservative, but progressive, forward-thinking council. This council works very well together. They don’t always agree on everything but they have respectful conversations, majority votes carry the day and they see what our city could be,” Keeven added.
If all goes according to plan, Keeven said in the years ahead, downtown and possibly other areas of town could see vast improvements in commerce and quality of life for residents.
“I see a robust bustling downtown,” Keeven said. “I see people sitting at that outdoor patio area waving to friends as they are walking to get an ice cream or a cup at the little coffee shop that’s there. I see more people coming into our downtown. I think in five years, you will look at downtown Troy and say this is what it needs to be.”