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Morris' Greenway Auto plans to remodel dealership

Finance committee recommends council approval of TIF-fund loan

MORRIS – Greenway Automotive is looking to upgrade its dealership, with some help from the city of Morris.

The Morris Finance and Administration Committee recommended Tuesday that the City Council approve the dealership’s application for a tax increment financing loan from the city to help finance remodeling of the business at 300 Bedford Road.

With the remodel estimated at a cost of about $1 million, Greenway Automotive has proposed 45 acres of land south of Route 6 and east of China Buffet as collateral for the loan, Mayor Richard Kopczick said Thursday.

City Attorney Scott Belt said he doesn’t see a problem with the proposal from a collateral standpoint.

Though no specific remodeling plans have been presented yet, the remodel will include upgraded facades and other additions, Kopczick said.

Greenway is requesting a loan of $600,000 out of the city’s TIF fund, which would be paid back in a balloon loan format.

This means Greenway would pay back the loan with monthly payments until the city’s current TIF agreement expires in 2022, at which point Greenway would be required to pay whatever amount is left on the loan.

“This would allow us to make further improvements than we would maybe on our own,” said Tom Greenway, general manager of the Ford/Chrysler dealership.

Greenway is remodeling because its business is growing. The year-over-year sales of Chrysler and GMC models are up significantly, Greenway said, adding that the remodel is a win for all parties.

He said as the business continues to grow it will provide the city more sales tax and more jobs. 

Greenway has hired five new people in the last month and intends to hire more, he said.

“We’ve recently invested into an ad firm to help us market Morris as a car-buying destination,” Greenway said.

Kopczick said one key requirement for a TIF loan is that the property be within the TIF district, which Greenway is.

A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen at the level they are at when the district is established. The difference in tax revenue generated between the frozen tax value and present-day value goes into a special TIF fund to be used for improvements to properties within the district.

If approved by the council Monday, it would not be the first time the city has agreed to a TIF loan, Kopczick said. The city has approved them in the past for Big R and Talty Auto.

Insurance presentation heard

In a separate meeting Thursday afternoon, the committee heard a presentation by The Horton Group regarding the city’s insurance plan.

It was one in a series of presentations by different companies hoping to reach an agreement for future insurance services.

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