The Illinois Quad-Cities will try again to get approval from the state for a key economic development tool.

Denise Bulat, executive director of the Bi-State Regional Commission, said Wednesday that another application will be submitted to the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to gain enterprise zone status.

The state program offers a range of benefits to qualified new and existing businesses, including a tax break on building materials and an exemption on the state utility tax for electricity and natural gas. An investment tax is also available in some cases.

In September, a state board that oversees the program approved six applications for enterprise zone, but not the one from the Quad-Cities.

Local officials said the loss of the zone, a longstanding tool here, would hurt efforts to attract business and expand existing ones. They had thought it would be another year before they could re-apply. But state officials just opened up this new opportunity, Bulat said.

A state report said that in 2014, Illinois devoted $2.4 million in tax benefits within the Quad-City zone, which saw $84 million in capital investment.

The previous Quad-Cities application was filed by the commission for a zone that includes 12 square miles of commercial and industrial land within Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Silvis, Milan and unincorporated Rock Island County.

The enterprise zone program is aimed at stimulating economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas. Among the factors considered in granting an application are an area's unemployment and poverty rates, the potential for job growth and a history of large scale business closings or downsizings.

Bulat said three new zones will be approved in the new process. In the last one, the Quad-Cities finished 10th out of 12 applicants for six available zones. Bulat said the new application is being updated to try to improve this area's chances.

A decision isn't expected until next fall. The area's existing enterprise zone designation expires next March, meaning even if the new application is accepted, there still will be about 8 months in which there would be no designation for this area.

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