Home Pay off Joliet Accepts $105M Bond Debt for Rock Run Crossings Project – Shaw Local

Joliet Accepts $105M Bond Debt for Rock Run Crossings Project – Shaw Local


Joliet City Council on Tuesday in a 5-2 vote authorized $105 million in bonds contingent on the success of the Rock Run Crossings project.

The bonds will fund infrastructure improvements for the 309-acre project promoted as a future regional attraction for retail, restaurants, hotels, entertainment and more at the intersection of Highways 55 and 80 in Joliet.

Tax revenue from the new venture will be used to repay the bonds, unless development is blocked.

“If it never happens, are we responsible for all of this?” asked Councilwoman Jan Quillman.

“Correct,” replied the city’s chief financial officer, James Ghedotte.

Quillman and Councilman Larry Hug were both no on the bonds.

She and Hug did not attend a June 21 meeting where the board essentially committed to issuing the bonds by approving a development agreement with Cullinan Properties, the company that will develop Rock Run Crossings. The council’s vote then was 6-0 for the deal.

Tuesday’s 5-2 vote reflected the absence of council member Bettye Gavin.

Ghedotte on Tuesday outlined ways to repay the bonds at the request of Councilman Cesar Guerrero.

Ghedotte noted that a tax increment funding district has been created for the site, which would allow property tax money to be used for bonds.

“Once development begins, we hope to repay the bonds with TIF,” he said. “There will be a food and drink tax. If they set up a restaurant, it would be used to pay off the bonds. Additionally, there will be a hotel/motel tax to repay the bonds.

Ghedotte said the city also plans to create a business district on the site that will generate additional tax revenue for the bonds.

However, these sources of income depend on business development. Ghedotte said the city will have to look at its own resources to pay the bonds if development is slow or non-existent.

He said the city could create a general property tax to pay off bonds or use its cash reserves. The city could pay itself back if Rock Run Crossings expands later than planned using corporate tax revenue when it arrives.

The city had been seeking major development at the site since 2007, when a previous developer acquired the site, but was stalled by the recession that then hit. Cullinan purchased the property in 2015.

Public investment in infrastructure to make the site accessible has always been considered, and a new interchange is being built on I-55 and Route 59 for Rock Run Crossings.