Moline Aldermen Approve Genesis Wellness Center Tax Rebate - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Moline Aldermen Approve Genesis Wellness Center Tax Rebate

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Moline Aldermen have been discussing TIF's or tax rebates to spur development. Tuesday evening they approved a hotly debated tax incentive for a multi-million dollar project.

People are upset that the tax incentive is for Genesis Health System. The controversy surrounds the Genesis 41st Street Wellness Campus, which includes an 80,000 square foot medical office building and parking lot. Some aldermen and neighbors say that Genesis is too big of a company to receive a TIF.

"I don't think they are very good for the city," says Sandy O'Neill.

O'Neill has been following the TIF debate very closely and has been attending several city council meetings. She doesn't support tax incentives for large businesses.

"It just doesn't seem to fit the bill and I think Genesis is quite capable of financing their own developments," adds O'Neill.

Some aldermen agree with O'Neill and voted against the Genesis TIF.

"We don't want to give away the farm and I know we're sometimes forced to play a game, but it seems like a rigged game and it seems like it's getting worse," says Alderman Sean Liddell.

Other council members and Genesis officials say the 41st street project does qualify for tax rebates, even though the area, which is right behind Moline High School, is not blighted or economically depressed.

"Below that property is several dozen years worth of mining, landfill and dump debris," says Ken Croken, V.P. Of Community Relation for Genesis Health System.

Genesis cleaned up the land when it was acquired and it now meets EPA approval.

"When the TIF dollars are used to support that underground infrastructure," adds Croken, "It's to help offset the extraordinary expenses that are involved."

The wellness center will have physician offices and medical homes. Croken says the complex is needed because the Affordable Care Act is going to add thousands of people to Medicaid and other forms of insurance.

"Quite frankly there aren't enough physicians. Development of this state of the art facility will help us recruit the physicians this community needs going forward."

Since TIF financing has been approved, construction on the project will move quickly. A ground breaking ceremony will be held this Thursday, work will begin in the next few weeks and the wellness center is expected to open in about a year.