Downs: TIF Tensions

By:  Diane Benjamin

This is yet another case of TIF abuse.  I don’t know if the Village of Downs is at fault or the engineers they hired – Farnsworth.  Maybe Mayor James can explain.  (Side note:  Liberal California has banned TIFs)

The owner of the property pictured is Roger Reynolds.  It is located east of Corn Belt Electric along Highway 150.  According to Roger, his land was going to be used for storm drainage from Corn Belt.  It does have drainage pipes that evidently go through the property, Roger claims he didn’t know that was done.  He is currently spending much of his time in Texas.

Today the land is unusable.  The property was obviously dug up and not leveled.

Meanwhile, CornBelt is now building a retention pond/park south of their building.  They expect the TIF to reimburse them for the expense.  Somebody needs to explain what happened to Roger’s land and why it isn’t being used as planned.  Who dropped the ball and who is going to fix it?  Where is the grant money ($360,000) and who is going to pay back the USDA loan ($1,440,000) and the IEPA loan ($1,200,000)?  Will this TIF generate enough money or will the residents of Downs be paying it back?  TIFs provide lots of room for malfeasance since transparency is very limited.

Somebody needs to explain what happened to the property pictured below:  

Those street lights and fire hydrant could be okay, the drains are connected to pipes running under Roger’s property.

Water collects on the property near a culvert that drains under the Freedom station.

The new road ends at Roger’s, property but look at what has been abandoned on the other side of barricade in the next pic.

It isn’t connected to anything!

This is at the east end of the property.

The property also has a deep ditch dig through it, evidently to direct water to the ugly retention pond. 4 large concrete pipes are abandoned across from the round cistern.




  1. Mike Madigan says:

    Looks to me like there is ROW where the street is so the lights and hydrant are on public ROW. The storm sewer manhole probably isnt abandoned. You can clearly see the pipe below the water on the other end.


  2. This is a GOOD one for the EPA, as it’s basically ILLEGAL to “change the natural course of water” and divert it to another area OR across another property WITHOUT remediation! Otherwise farmers would be running ditches everywhere, but THEY have more sense (and respect) then this..


    • Mike Madigan says:

      That’s funny. Every field in McLean county is tiled and farmers keep adding to it every year. Tiles drain to ditches. If the course of water wasn’t changed there would be no agriculture in the area.



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