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JIMAX mulching, recycling center will operate on city-owned property

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JIMAX Group and the City of Peoria have agreed to a 10-year lease for a mulch production and recycling "sustainability center" at the corner of Clark and Darst in South Peoria.
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JIMAX Group will turn a five-acre parcel in South Peoria into what it’s calling a “sustainability center” for mulch production and other material recycling.

The Peoria City Council this week unanimously approved a 10-year lease agreement with JIMAX on the city-owned property at the corner of Darst and Clark streets.

“We're looking to do wood waste recycling and then in the intermediate-to-long term, do tire recycling here locally,” said JIMAX partner Jarrod Martis. “Initially, we're looking for some internal diversion of our own material on the construction debris side. We're also looking for outlets for wood waste locally, both for the city and ourselves.

“Additionally, again in the near term to intermediate term, we'll be looking at possibly selling that product into the residential and commercial markets, in addition to possibly taking in material – but that's probably going to be a few years out.”

JIMAX will pay annual rent of $3,100 over the course of the lease and make site improvements that are expected to raise the property’s value from $40,000 to $130,000. The site improvements include drainage upgrades and demolishing some buildings on the property.

Peoria Public Works Director Rick Powers said the agreement turns the land into an investment opportunity for the city.

“The site itself right now is in somewhat of disrepair, so what they had proposed to us was a lease with in-time services. So they are going to mulch all of our daily mulch products for nothing, over the course of the lease,” said Powers.

“If you think about it from a city perspective, we're taking a blighted piece of property and they're going to remove the buildings, basically at their cost in lieu of rent – even though they're going to pay us a minimal amount annual rent. The bigger point is they're going to make a $400,000-plus in the parcel and increase its estimated value. So that's really a co-benefit for the city and them as a business.”

Martis said some of the buildings they plan to tear down have been there for at least 70 years.

“Some of them are not structurally sound, some are just in the way, and we will be repurposing a few just for low-key type storage,” said Martis. “It's a cost diversion for the city; they they're saving on both sides. So we're hoping to use that partnership to save money for the community and the taxpayer.”

Martis said the long-range goal of bringing tire recycling to the sustainability center would eliminate their logistical issues with the current closest tire recycling operations located in Chicago and Davenport, Iowa.

“That's been a challenge, because there's only a few companies that do that in the state, and of course, the need is increasing every year,” he said.