Friday, August 29, 2008



For the Artist

(These programs are complicated - research carefully)

First Time Homebuyer - $7,500 Tax Credit

First time Homebuyer – Up to $10,000 down payment assistance

or contact the Neighborhood Development, Twin Towers, Room 402, 494-8656

Housing Rehabilitation – Up to $20,000 in assistance

HUB Zone Credit – Federal and Major company preference

For the Developer

Enterprise Zone – No sales tax on building Material

Tax increment Financing – Some future property taxes to development

Historic Tax Credits for rehabbing buildings older than 36 years
City of Peoria programs to help home buyers are shown on the links below:_

__Housing Rehabilitation Form
For development and management of residential rehabilitation programs in community development areas, including loans and grants, contact Neighborhood Development, Twin Towers, Room 402, 494-8656._Or contact your local banker.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

City of Aurora Invitation

The City of Aurora, Illinois, invites people to their Art Walk

Please join us on Friday, September 12, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for our art walk. We're hoping to make this a quarterly event… Visit

for details. Hope to see you there!!!

For those of you who are poetry lovers, I'll be channeling Emily Dickinson at Eyeland Optical, 26 E. Downer Place.

kfc Karen F. Christensen
City of Aurora
Downtown Development Division
1 S. Broadway, Aurora, IL 60505
630-844-3670; 630-906-7430 (fax)

Please take our Customer Satisfaction Survey:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tour of RiverFront LoftsSunday, October 5, 2008
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Includes lofts at 401 Water, Maxam Quarters
Nice article in the Peoria Journal Star about artist oriented development in a nearby community.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Great Time for a Young Artist to Buy a First home

The City of Peoria, the State of Illinois, and the Federal Government have numerous programs to help people buy their first home. Depending on your income and the location of the home, you could be eligible for downpayment assistance of up to $10,000, a Federal tax credit of $7,500, a low interest loan, and funds to help you rehabilitate an older home. SUCH A DEAL !!!


Up to $7,500 Federal tax credit for qualified first-time homebuyers. Act soon. If you're looking for a new home, there's reason to act now! Congress has just approveda tax credit to help first-time homebuyers (or those who have not owned a home within the past three years).

Click below to learn more. The credit is a federal tax credit subject to qualifications, conditions and restrictions and repayment of the tax credit is required. The credit is only available for a limited time. Details are set forth in PL 110-289 and general information is available at:

City of Peoria programs to help home buyers are shown on the link below:

Contact the City of Peoria Planning Department for more information 309 494 8600
Or contact your local banker.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meeting Notes - Artist Relocation Program

10:00 am Wednesday 13 August 2008
Bradley University
Caterpillar Global Communications Center
834 N. Duryea


Suzette Boulais
Marc Burnett
William Butler
Jacob Grant
Bobby Gray
Sally Hanley
Dr. Jeffrey Huberman
Craig Hullinger
Paul Krainak
Tracy Jackson
Tory Jennetten
Doug Leunig
Ross McIntosh
Jerry McNiel
Jessica Moroz
Paul Murray
Michele Richey
Stephen Stone
Hiram Torasson
Mitch Williams


Paducah, Kentucky Artist Relocation Program

The Committee discussed the potential Artist Relocation Program via conference call with City Planner Ben Peterson of the City of Paducah. The Paducah program is the best known program in the midwest. Peterson explained the Paducah process.

They started their program in 2000. It took about 1.5 years to get it underway. They attracted about 5 to 10 artists in the first 1.5 years.

They have attracted approximately 75 artists over the life of their program. About 60 of those artists are still in the community. They have 20 to 25 art galleries, many of them an adjunct to the artist home.

The Arts District is composed of many older homes next to downtown Paducah. Many of the homes were built from 1850 to 1910. The area includes about 25 blocks.

They have no firm definition of artist. The City does not care if they are full or part time, but they must live in Paducah if they acquire the home for $1.00. They prefer their artists to own the homes.

Most of the incentives were provided by local banks, who provided up to 300% financing for the rehabilitation of older homes. The City had acquired a number of older homes in very bad condition. They sold these homes to artists for $1.00.
They started the program with $40,000. The City has invested about $3.5 million total in the area over the life of the program. They have seen about $30,000,000 in private money invested. They believe that they have about a 1 to 11 ratio of public to private money invested. The succesful redevelopment of this area has also helped the development of the adjacent downtown.

About 1/3 of the City investment was for marketing, 1/3 for infrastructure, and 1/3 for everything else. Paducah has a population of 26,000, while the region has a total of about 100,000 people.

They draw visitors from around the Midwest. They draw a fair number of visitors from Chicago. Visitors from St Louis, Memphis, and Nashville are also important.

Property taxes are very low in Kentucky. In the early stages of the program an abatement of the 6% sales tax was employed, but this is no longer in place.

Revitalization of the neighborhood is now complete. Future efforts involve improving signage, streetscape, and more marketing.

The average age of their arriving artists was about 45 years old. Some of them were retirees establishing a second career.

Most artists prefer a space in which to live, to work, and for a small shop. The most desired homes had about 2,500 square feet. Homes range in size from 900 to 6,000 square feet.

Saturday is the biggest day for traffic and sales. The community also focuses on the second Saturday of each month as a marketing “focus” day. Most sales of art are to out of town visitors.

One of the difficulties in developing the district was to build consensus and keep focus.

Peterson agreed to meet with the Peoria Committee on Wednesday October 15, 2008. Participants should meet at the City Hall parking lot at 419 Fulton St at 07:00 am. The drive to Paducah takes about 5 hours. We will spend two hours with Peterson looking at the district and having lunch, with the return estimated at 7:00 pm+-. RSVP to Craig Hullinger at 309 494 8639.

Peoria Artist Relocation Program

Hullinger briefed the Committee on City programs at:

Hullinger noted that everyone was encouraged to post to the blog in an effort to build understanding and interest in the program.

The city has a number of programs to help redevelop older neighborhoods. Some of these programs are aimed to help first time homebuyers afford homes in Peoria. These programs provide assistance for down payments, low interest loans, housing rehabilitation. Banks have information on most of these programs. They are summarized on the page below:
Many of these programs could help attract artists to our city.
The City also has a number of other programs, including low interest loans to start businesses, Enterprise Zone incentives, and TIF incentives. These programs are explained on the City Economic Development Blogs under:
under TIF, Warehouse District, Incentives, and Enterprise Zone.

The Committee discussed areas of focus for artist relocation. The consensus was that the Warehouse District had the highest concentration of artists. The Warehouse District is very different than the Paducah Arts District, which is largely composed of single family homes. The size of the Warehouse District buildings sometimes requires a professional developer.
The committee discussed concerns about crime and poor infrastructure. More effort is needed on code enforcement and public safety.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 16 September 2008 at 10:00 am at the Contemporary Art Center at 305 S Water Street.


Welcome Alvin Reiss

Alvin H. Reiss, perhaps the most prolific writer on the business of the arts, will be in Peoria from September 3rd through September 5th hosted by the Department of Theatre Arts at Bradley University. "Skip" Reiss has traveled the world as an advocate for the arts, playing an irreplaceable and fascinating role in the bringing the worlds of business, tourism, and the arts together. He is the editor and publisher of Arts Management, a journal he co-founded with Alvin Toffler in 1962, as well as the author of six books, hundreds of magazine articles, and numerous studies and reports.

He also runs an annual national seminar in Chicago called "Focus on Cultural Tourism;" and writes a monthly column, "Arts Agenda" for Travel Weekly. Skip will be meeting with local Arts groups, business leaders and government officials on Friday, September 5th from 8 AM to 10 AM at the Radisson Hotel on Western Avenue to share his insights into future trends in a session called "The Road Ahead is Paved with the Arts."

Please join ArtsPartners and Bradley University Theatre for this dynamic discussion.

To RSVP, call ArtsPartners at 676.2787 or email