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Enterprise Zone Incentivizes Growth

Enterprise Zone Incentivizes Growth
February 21, 2022 Nicole

The Greater Freeport Partnership helps businesses grow and expand. As economic development professionals, one way we support growth and development is by ensuring businesses know what cost reduction tools are available to them. Locally, the most frequently utilized tool is the Enterprise Zone. 

The Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone is a state-authorized, locally designated geographical area that provides special incentives to encourage economic development, strengthen the business climate, and create jobs. Our regional zone includes areas of the City of Freeport, rural Stephenson and Jo Daviess Counties, the Village of Hanover and Lena, as well as the City of East Dubuque. To access Enterprise Zone benefits the property must fall within the zone. Enterprise zone boundaries can be expanded if the project meets certain criteria, giving businesses flexibility to grow. Zone benefits include exemption from all sales tax on building materials for authorized new projects, waiver of certain building permits and fees, and a period of exemption from property tax increases resulting from expansion or new development. It is important to file your project’s Ezone application prior to purchasing building materials as the sales tax can not be reimbursed.  

In 2021, the Partnership assumed responsibility for administering the zone and worked with the state and local governments to expand the zone to assist in the development of a 100 MW solar farm, High Point Solar, LLC. This one project brought over $109.5 million in investment, 150+ construction jobs and will bring approximately $13 million in property taxes over the 35-year project lifetime.  Last year the entire zone saw 19 projects, totaling $176 million invested and the creation of 285 jobs.  Of these 19 projects—12 were commercial, 4 industrial and 3 residential.  

Planning an expansion or renovation? Contact our office to see if your property is within the Enterprise Zone and we will help you through the application process. More information can be found on our website: . 

Andrea Schultz Winter is the Development Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. She can be reached at or 815-233-1354.