Troup’s State of the City speech focuses on need for more housing, hotels, retail, skilled employees

Troup State of the City

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup delivers his State of the City speech on Friday afternoon before the Quincy Service Club at the Elks Lodge. | David Adam

QUINCY — Quincy Mayor Mike Troup reviewed the city’s growth during the past year and noted what he saw as priorities for Quincy to continue that growth during his annual State of the City address on Friday at the Elks Club.

Troup, who is in the last year of his first four-year term as mayor, was a guest of the Quincy Service Club, which serves as the host of the annual speech. Several city employees also were in attendance, but only one member of the Quincy City Council — 3rd Ward alderman Ken Hultz.

Troup believes the city needs more housing units, more retail businesses, more infrastructure improvements, more hotel rooms and more skilled employees to fill available jobs.

Troup addressed what he believes is a shortage of housing in Quincy and what can be done to fix it in a Thursday interview with Muddy River News before he delivered his Friday speech.

“Lack of housing is killing us,” he said.

Troup said he has learned during the past three years that giving people money to move to Quincy hasn’t worked as well as he would have liked. That’s why the Quincy Workforce Relocation Assistance Program (Q-WRAP) has been eliminated from the upcoming budget. 

The program, approved by aldermen in August 2021, was designed to provide up to $5,000 in a one-time property tax rebate to people who live outside Quincy and buy a home in the city. City officials say 142 Q-WRAP participants have lived in Quincy for at least one year, earning the $5,000 payout, and others haven’t reached the one-year mark. Troup says the program will be eliminated May 1 but will continue to pay those who apply before that deadline..

“We haven’t seen the (population) number really grow,” Troup said. “It’s nice to have, but it’s not helping us drive people here.

“What we’ve found is people don’t have a place to move into once they get here. We’ve got to be clear. It’s not where we’re going to build mansions. We’ve got needs in every housing category. Jerry Gille (with the Quincy Housing Authority) has an affordable housing deal that he’s working on. We want to see that move forward. We’re trying to work with him the best we can.

“We’ve got different developers for different types of housing. We can’t say, ‘Hey, the race is on, let’s get going’ fast enough. More investment and development of all housing types are still needed in Quincy.”

An improvement in the city’s housing stock, Troup believes, will help attract skilled workers to Quincy. As more housing is built, Troup says the city’s assessed market values will increase, generating more tax dollars from the new developments and protecting current property owners from incurring greater increases in their property taxes.

He pointed out the 34-unit Brewhaus Townhomes development on Jersey between Eighth and Ninth as a “strong example of infill development opportunities.” He believes construction of cluster homes behind Walmart will begin later this year, and a group of single-family homes will be built near 17th and Koch’s Lane. He said another development of homes is planned on North 23rd near the American Red Cross Donor Center between Koch’s Lane and Weiss Lane.

Troup said the Adams County tourism industry recorded a record $131.9 million in expenditures in their last report, an increase of 17 percent. The city has 752 hotel rooms to date, and Troup believes more are needed.

“We’re getting interest for other downtown hotels,” he said.

He called the multi-million-dollar investment in the Atrium at Third an “unbelievable investment” in the downtown area. Brian Fox, president of Tracy Holdings LLC, said the cost of installing new floors, furniture, bathrooms, showers and plumbing in each of the 145 guest rooms, as well as the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, will be between $5.7 million and $10 million. Once all that work is complete, the 17,500-square-foot hotel will be named the Atrium Hotel at Third, DoubleTree by Hilton.

Troup said the new owners of the former Eagle’s Nest at 300 Gardner Expressway expect to reopen around 50 to 60 rooms this summer.

He also said he spoke with two other developers this week.

“One would rather do the mixed-use retail and even residential,” he said. “They understand the need for a hotel in Quincy. They’re looking more of a ground up. I know they already have had discussions with the owners of the Welcome Inn (which has been closed since July 2021). If this group could do something there, our prayers were answered.”

Troup said 84 new businesses opened in Quincy in 2023, with the biggest being Target, and 16 already have opened in 2024. Asked how many businesses the city lost, Troup said, “You know, I don’t know. I would think it would be less than 20.”

He also noted that United Alloy recently announced plans to build a 200,000-square-foot building at 24th and Ellington Road with plans to hire at least 100 employees. 

Troup said the city received more than $50 million in tax receipts for the third year in a row last year. 

“Municipalities live on sales tax,” he said. “And it can get bigger. We know a few other retailers are coming, but they don’t want to announce yet. A lot more of them are in the restaurant/small retailer base, but we’re still working with Retail Strategies (the city’s new retail recruitment consultant) to go after the Home Goods type of retailer or a Macy’s type of store. We’d like to fill the Sears building. We’d like to fill the County Market building at 48th and Broadway. We’d like to fill the Bed Bath and Beyond building.”

The mayor pointed out the city spent more than $9 million on city streets, more than $1.2 million on water mains and approximately $2 million on sewers. He said the city invested more than $2.8 million in its water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities for a total of more than $15 million invested in the city’s infrastructure. 

Troup provided figures showing the city has spent $38.058 million on infrastructure during his administration. The city spent $17.125 on infrastructure from Fiscal Year 2016-2020.

The city also received federal grants last year promising $1.4 million for a solar project at the wastewater treatment facility and a second one promising $2 million for lead water pipe replacements.

Troup pointed out two issues that could negatively affect city finances. One was Gov. JB Pritzker’s recent announcement in his State of the State speech proposing the elimination of the grocery tax.

“We understand that this is a regressive tax, but our estimates show (eliminating the tax) would reduce our tax collections by about $1 million per year,” Troup said. “During COVID when the state eliminated (the tax), it was a temporary deal. The state made up the lost revenues to the municipalities. There’s no discussion of that now. The governor is giving something he doesn’t have. It’s all at the cost of the municipalities.”

Troup also noted Pritzker’s $52.7 billion budget proposal includes another $182 million for migrants, part of a joint funding plan with Cook County. The money would be used for “welcoming center” services, like coordinating housing and legal help, and a program used to fight homelessness.

“I don’t know how that’s going to get doled out, but if you don’t care, don’t do anything,” Troup said. “If you don’t want that, you better call your state senator and your state representatives. They need to hear from every one of us. It’s a big issue. I’m not even sure the Chicago population wants to see that.”

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