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Village Board Approves Property Purchase in TIF District

Parcel on Archer Avenue is in blighted area targeted for redevelopment.

The village took another step toward creating an enhanced gateway into the village out of a blighted industrial area between the I&M Canal and Archer Avenue.

The Lemont Village Board Monday approved the purchase of property at 10990 Archer Avenue through a substitution purchase contract between the village, owner John Ratkovich Equities LP and the State Bank of Countryside, in the amount of $375,000.

The property has gone into foreclosure since the original April 20, 2012 agreement between the village and the property owner, who is in the midst of a bankruptcy proceeding.

Village Administrator Ben Wehmeier explained the purchase will mark the fifth parcel of property the village will acquire in an area that Lemont has designated as a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) zone.

The property is part of the village’s Gateway TIF District, which was created in 2009 to include about 156 acres of property between the I&M Canal and Archer Avenue, as well as the industrial district west of Route 83.

According to the village’s website, the goal of the Gateway TIF District is “to spur economic growth in area that has inadequate utilities, deleterious land use, and deteriorating infrastructure.”

Mayor Brian Reaves said the village is working to make the area a “true enhancement” for the village.

The process takes a lot of time, Reaves said, and more cleanup work needs to be done at the site. But the mayor said he hopes to have some announcements soon about plans for redevelopment of the area.

“It’s got to be right for the village,” Reaves said. “Basically, we’re taking a terrible piece of property and tearing it down, making it viable.”

About TIF Districts       

According to the village website: TIF (tax increment financing) is a tool used by local governments to encourage economic growth within TIF districts by dedicating tax revenue generated within the TIF for improvements within the district. The state allows a TIF district to be in place for up to 23 years. 

When a TIF district is established, the current value of property within the district is used to establish the "base" tax revenue received by the various taxing bodies (e.g. the village, school district, township, park district, etc.).  This base tax revenue continues to be distributed to the various taxing bodies throughout the life of the TIF district. 

The future growth of property values within the TIF district, and the additional property tax generated by the increased values, is known as the increment.  The increment is used by the village to make investments in the TIF district to encourage continued economic growth within the district. Location within a TIF district does not alter the property tax rate for individual property owners.

Village will save money by refinancing bonds

The board approved an ordinance Monday authorizing the refinancing of 2004 waterworks and sewerage refunding bonds. A memo from the village administrator and treasurer explains the refinancing would provide a net interest savings on the bond of more than $225,000 over its term.

“Rates are very favorable now,” said Wehmeier on Monday. “We are not extending the life of the bonds, but we will save more money.”

In other action, the board:

  • Approved an amendment to the municipal code relating to part-time police officers, aligning the code with state statutes.
  • Granted a variation for a deck at a home on Keepataw Lane.
  • Tabled a resolution for a final plat of resubdivision for Lemont Plaza at 1052-1150 State Street until the Sept. 10 meeting.

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Tim Schlueter August 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Who is John Ratkovich, the seller of that parcel? Is he connected to the village some way?
James L. Rooney August 28, 2012 at 03:13 PM
The Village board has to be commended for TRYING to enhance the downtown area. How ever,As long as the Lemont bridge traffic goes over the downtown area and bypasses the businesses,we have a problem! How many businesses have opened and closed due to lack of business? Most that open last a year. The key will be to find a reason to have vehicles go into the downtown area. Parking is a problem for any of the "empty business" store fronts or empty restaurant/bars store fronts.
Marie Markowski August 28, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mr. Ratkovich is not connected to the village in any way.
John G. Rossi August 28, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I'm very interested to hear about what the Village has planned for the newly proposed TIF district. I am still purplexed that the Village considers this a Gateway to Lemont. I've lived in this area for 25+ years and always considered this property Unicorporated. This property doesn't even seem close enough to Lemont to be considered in planning. The property on the map is shown to be in Sag Bridge and there is also another town between Sag Bridge and Lemont called Hastings. Has anyone questioned the wisdom of this business venture? Is that what we elect our City officials to do? Purchase property and clean up other towns? What about our own Downtown, wouldn't the money be better spent?
Sherri Cwik August 30, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I agree with Jim Rooney's comment. Traffic bypassing the downtown is a huge problem and really hurting the businesses. Thriving downtown areas have traffic running through them. Our downtown is basically a large cul de sac. You have to have a good reason to go down there. More often than not I find myself shopping off of State Street or in the other "strip malls" simply because they are convenient (e.g. on my way to somewhere else and accessible parking).
Linda Ozbolt August 30, 2012 at 06:40 PM
We love to hear from our readers, but we have deleted a comment from this story because it violated Patch’s terms of use. (See http://lemont.patch.com/terms.) Commenters must agree not to post or transmit to other users anything that contains content that, among other things, is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive or contains “masked” profanity. Thanks!
Edward Andrysiak August 30, 2012 at 10:44 PM
John...a little history for you. that area has been considered the large intestine of Cook County for years. It is where their junk yards, chemical plants and biker bars went. Lemont ran an expensive water line to the area and has decided to "save" it and create a "gateway" to our town. Wisdom? I don't know. We can look at some history that might be encouraging. One plan was to build an inlet off of the canal and locate a gambling boat there. A major hotel chain was planning on building a large complex with convention capabality. Ferry boats were planned to bring people in from Chicago. The site's relatively unsettled placement and good road access, not to mention being in Cook County, made it an ideal spot for "the gambling boat" licesnese award. That licesnese may still be available.That was the grand plan and the junk yard people, one of them...were in the mix of the G boat plan. For a time Great Lakes Quarry was a potential site as well because it was shared by two counites...Cook and DuPage making revenue sharing a must The county line runs through the middle of the quarry. None of this happened! That brings me to a final statement that may answer your question. If a grand plan like this exists once again it would be good use of the property and make a gateway development delux and generate dollars for the Village. I DOUBT IT! It will likely become a unneeded shopping mall without a major anchor and suffer from the high taxes and distance from population centers.

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