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City Gets to Work Moving York/Vallette and Riverside Drive TIFs Forward

North York TIF could be approved as early as Aug. 20; revenue sharing plan with District 205 still hasn't been worked out.

City officials on Monday continued their efforts to double the number of tax increment financing districts in Elmhurst from three to six. For several months, of the three proposed new TIFs, the focus has been squarely on the

But on Monday, the Development, Planning and Zoning Committee turned its gaze back to the other two, taking the next steps toward establishing TIF districts at York and Vallette, and along Riverside Drive.

TIF districts freeze assessed property values for local taxing bodies for up to 23 years to encourage redevelopment in areas considered blighted. TIFs generate new revenue through new construction in the TIF district, or if the township assessor increases the assessed value of the properties in the TIF district. The difference between the frozen property value and any new assessment or growth goes into a TIF fund. The city then uses this money to pay for any public improvements or to help finance redevelopment projects in the district.

The committee filed draft plans for the new redevelopment areas in March, and on Monday, aldermen and TIF experts reviewed the plans, noted a few recent changes and discussed a loose time line.

York and Vallette

Estimated cost for the redevelopment of the proposed 14-acre York and Vallette redevelopment area is $27.5 million over the 23-year life of the TIF. The cost estimate is based on analysis of the tax rolls, input from city staff and projected development, said Charles Biondo, senior vice president of Kane McKenna, TIF consultants.

The law requires the city to give a best estimate on cost, but that does not mean it has to spend that much, he said. Investment in a TIF is a combination of public and private dollars, and any city expenditure will have to be approved by the full City Council.

"Just because it's here, doesn't mean it has to be spent," Biondo said.

The current equalized assessed value (based on 2011 figures) of all 45 parcels in the proposed redevelopment area is $7.8 million. The York and Vallette TIF is projected to be worth between $32 million and $45 million at the end of the 23 years.

"So we could see a ratio of 5 to 1," committee member Norm Leader said. "For every dollar spent, we'd get $4 or $5 back over the course of the TIF. So, it's a good investment."

Biondo said that calculation would be consistent with the existing TIFs in Elmhurst.

The former recently was added to the York and Vallette TIF, and the and Dulles Cleaners buildings have been removed through demolition.

Committee member Dannee Polomsky said she wants to see how the numbers would change if and the other businesses located in the Nucara strip mall west of York and Vallette, otherwise known as Parcel 57, were taken out of the TIF area.

Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp also proposed a change envisioned after several conversations with Park District Executive Directory Jim Rogers. The Park District would like to see some park property along the Illinois Prairie Path included in the TIF, Kopp said.

"(The parcels) are really long and skinny," Kopp said.

"The Park District does have some structures there—Safety Town, the old Depot, their storage warehouse. There's the potential for capital improvements on those," therefore park officials would like to make them part of the TIF, he said.

It was the first time the committee had heard the Park District's request. Morley said it is an "interesting concept," and Biondo said he needs to study the idea to "see if this makes sense."

Riverside Drive

The projected cost for redevelopment of the 90-acre Riverside Drive property is $40 million over a 23-year period, Biondo said. Current EAV is $8.6 million, and TIF experts estimate the property will be worth between $50 million and $75 million at the end of the TIF.

Capital improvements in this area would largely involve utilities, such as storm system improvements, Biondo said.

"It has qualified as a vacant, blighted area due to chronic flooding," he said.

Salt Creek Primary School, which is part of School District 48 based in Villa Park, also could fall within the Riverside Drive TIF. Any capital improvements to Salt Creek would benefit students from Elmhurst, Villa Park and Oakbrook Terrace, the three towns served by District 48.

The rest of the plan mirrors the other two proposed TIFs in terms of qualifications and statutory requirements.

Time Line

With work left to be done on the North York TIF, committee members agreed to keep the time table looser for the other two proposed TIFs.

"We are in the middle of our conversations with taxing bodies and getting to the end of our time line for TIF 4," committee Chairman Steve Morley said. "Because that portion of our job has not yet been completed, I don't see a need to rush these time lines. I look at these time lines as place markers; they're not written in stone."

In moving these TIFs forward, the city must hold a public hearing, notify taxpayers and the affected taxing bodies, hold a meeting of a Joint Review Board, which then makes recommendations to the committee. Following that, a public hearing will be held, and ordinances must be adopted by the City Council to designate the TIF.

"Once the City Council passes the public hearing resolution, everything else just flows from there," said attorney and TIF expert Brian Baugh.

North York TIF Still Not Quite Finished

The process has flowed for the North York TIF, as well.

"There's not a whole lot left on this time line," said Than Werner, planning and zoning administrator.

The North York TIF proposition last week by a vote of 6-1 and is headed toward an Aug. 6 public hearing. Two weeks after that, Aug. 20, is the soonest the TIF could get final approval from City Hall. 

The city is simultaneously trying to of some kind. Committee members initially hoped a plan would have been worked out by now.

"We're waiting for them," Morley said. "Our initial hope was this meeting, but we found out last week they were unable to attend. I'm committed personally, and I've said this to the School Board president and superintendent, to do this as quickly as possible when they are available."

But so far, only rough ideas have been tossed around, he said.

"We at least have given them something to consider—a structure—and they're supposed to get back to us," Morley said.

Stewart Levine July 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM
I think infrastructure improvements have historically been what makes a city great, the more money that is invested into infrastructure, the more money a city is worth, however, i think Elmhurst should start working with its neighbor Villa Park, to better its community, there is much more money to be made and Elmhurst cannot be an Oasis in the middle of a Desert, nor can it be a Bubble either. There is alot of prime real estate in Villa Park along the prairie path that could make investors a fortune should Villa Park go the way Elmhurst is with Many well to do homes and, a nice downtown section. Frank Lloyd Wrights Prairie Style Home vision is what is needed, no more of these cookie cutter cheap cutting corner homes either
bill trudeau July 10, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The Good Earth Market? Seriously? How in the world is a three year old building "blighted"?
D L July 10, 2012 at 02:04 PM
The Good Earth Market. What a disaster. The city allows them to build too far out on the corner , therefore changing vallett to a NO TURN on red and congesting that intersection even more. Was there some political favors done there, or just typical Elmhurst cronyism ?? ..... And it's been empty for 2 years !! Go figure !
Tim Mathers July 10, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Let the demonization of TIF continue...everytime someone wants to demonize TIF, ask them about Spaeth, Thrall, Moriarity and Lominicki. Then ask them about downtown Elmhurst and 83 and St Charles. Ask them for better ideas than TIF. Ask them if they know how much north Elmhurst's EAV has DECLINED in recent years. Yeah, the reason Good Earth failed is because it is too close to Valette. What a moronic comment. Good Earth isn't blighted? Really? Look at that black elephant. Bill Tredeau, creator of Buildersgonewild, hates all things new and always has. 98% of Elmhurst would call Good Earth blighted. Any new ideas coming out of these windbags on what to do? Nope, just more complaining, pissing and moaning on blogs. In other words, just like normal.
PJC July 10, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Because it is a complete eyesore (the architect should go back to school), it has made the york/vallette intersection dangerous by having been built right up to the street, and the owners can't or won't get their act together and therefore allow the property to sit empty. IT IS A DISGRACE!
PJC July 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Don't you mean Croninism?
D L July 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Tim Mathers. There was never an intent to mean the Good Earth Marker failed because " it was too close to valletta", ( yes, that would be moronic"!),but to state that the city allowed for an very unusual commercial set back in order to satisfy a " local" political family and forever screwing up that intersection especially Valletta heading west. That's all.
Tim Mathers July 10, 2012 at 09:21 PM
D L - leave the Cronin bashing to the other article posted on the Patch. If you recall, before the black elephant was there, it was a vacant piece of land. Before that, a God awful gas station. Also, Good Earth was less a reason for the "No Turn" on red than Southtown and all of the kids it attracts. It was part of the reason for the no turn, but if Southtown isn't there, we'd still be turning on red. There were several neighbor complaints about that intersection because of the kids running every which way from Southtown. I know, I was one.
Justin Hunt July 10, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Am I reading this right? Jim Rogers of the Park District wants some land included in this. Tell me they are not wanting to clear park space in an effort to commercialize the prairie path.
bill trudeau July 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I hate all things new? Apparently you didn't actually READ any of the postings on BuildersGoneWild. If you did, you would have noticed I was documenting the PROCESS of building which then, as now, stinks of lack of oversight. It has nothing to do with "new". To this day, porta pottys are on the parkway, trucks are left parked at job sites, construction fencing is missing or dilapidated, etc. It's all safety related. Do I think what's been built over the past ten years is "pretty"? Doesn't matter what I think, it matters what someone with a fat wallet thinks. What I DO think is the Good Earth was condemned to failure from day one thinking they could make a go of selling coffee and flowers in a building that small. I think it's a vast improvement over the shuttered gas station, but overbuilt for the size of the lot. I think someone's going to get seriously injured someday at the intersection because common sense never overcame dollar signs. But blighted? It's a brand new building! There's a clone of it on Madison in River Forest that's doing just fine.
bill trudeau July 10, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Oh, and for a "windbag" idea, how about returning the parcels at York/South St to residential. The support of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin disappeared in 1957. Nothing has thrived there in years, and three blocks away someone is building a 4 million dollar home....and if nothing's going to be built on the Brown's site, could they seed the lot like the building code calls for?
Karen Chadra (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Hi Justin, The park district wants some TIF money to make improvements on their park property, not to commercialize the green space. It will remain park property. It's just like the School District wanting to include schools in the TIF so they can get money for capital projects at the schools.
Joe O'Malley July 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Interesting that the Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp is actually looking busy and justifying the salary and benefits by providing input for this article. One may wonder if having some meaningless conversations with Jim "Where's Mine?" Rogers counts as actual work. BTW....When will the Assistant City Manager be able to hire an assistant?
Darlene Heslop July 11, 2012 at 03:09 AM
has the city bothered to ask the york/vallette business owners if they want to be part of a TIF district...the last time i talked with one of the board members of the association, the answer was a very loud - NO WAY. what they want, instead, is the creation of an ssa, similar to what spring road did. as for riverside drive...really? a parcel of land which sits smack dab in the middle of a flood plain? the only way a TIF is profitable is if there is commercial development that can be cultivated on that particular area. the problem with the city council is they are being presented with only one alternative, TIF, for development rather than other viable options which may be actually better, especially in this economic climate.
Stewart Levine July 11, 2012 at 08:40 AM
The smart thing to do would be to create a setting like Oakbrook Mall with restaurants and out door / indoor fountains for Well to do types to congregate, something that won't attract the usual hillside or bellwood residents from stealing alcohol like they do at the south jewel all the time. just start demolition work, and have architects draft up various plans. citizens of the community can vote on what they like the most. if anyone knocks down good earth market i would like to have the green house, mmk thanks.
Stewart Levine July 11, 2012 at 08:43 AM
the problem with the york vallette area is that it is in an awkward area, it is definitely a good idea to give it some attention and infrastructural improvements. we need a few good researchers to study other areas around the country, and malls, atriums, outdoor / indoor parks, malls, etc. keep a convention area in mind for a year round farmers market, too.
Cincinnatus July 11, 2012 at 02:12 PM
I do not pay Elmhurst taxes to help Villa Park.
Dan July 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM
If you owned a business that operated on a low profit margin couldn't the creation of a TIF district be detrimental to your business? If redevelopment forced property values up and than property taxes up that could put a low margin business out of business. I still have the image I saw in a neighboring community of a vacant retail business where the owners had written on the glass WE QUIT OUR PROPERTY TAXES HAVE GONE UP 40%. They than taped a copy of their property tax bill to the window for everyone to see. I heard that the TIF district created in St Charles forced a business owner to sell his property so it could be put to a better use (read higher property tax generating use). Just look to that town to see how the character of a down town can be destroyed when the driving force becomes revenue for the city vs. the free market. Sure they built a number of ATM machines in the shape of buildings that pay out to the city but in return changed the whole character of the city. Why has the whole role of city government changed from providing services at a cost those of us who live here can afford to that of real estate speculator whose role is to drive up the property tax revenues to feed a growing city budget?
Darlene Heslop July 12, 2012 at 04:52 AM
one of the champions of TIF was former mayor richard daley...big, big democrat...take a look at who is contributing to dicianni...lots of democrats... . why do you think the chicago public schools are in such crisis...????
Dan July 12, 2012 at 01:00 PM
You are right on the money about Mayor Daley. Siphoning the incremental increases from the taxing bodies from where they should be going and instead placing them under control of the city is a huge money-power grab by the city. In part why do you think Illinois pensions are in crisis? Money was directed away from fully funding the pension system and instead used by politicians to fund pet projects. Why fund pensions when you can hand out state grant money. Under the new accounting rules for pensions they are calculating the liabilities for the Chicago teachers pensions are 4 times larger than had been reported in the past. You really have to like what they did with all those flower pots all over Chicago. Properly funding pensions is so boring. Who even notices stuff like that. If your to make it in elected office these days you need to give the people something tangible they can see. Let the next generation worry about how to pay for everything.

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