Heavy truck traffic on Forest Park’s Industrial Drive has caused such wear and tear to the street that it needs to be rebuilt, according to Village Administrator Michael Sturino. But the village has a plan to limit the funding of that project directly and solely on businesses in the small industrial park.
The village will soon be holding a hearing to consider forming a Special Service Area (SSA), or an area where extra taxes will be imposed without affecting the remainder of the village, consisting of the portion of 19th Street immediately east of Desplaines Ave.
Commonly known as Industrial Drive, the street endures heavy truck traffic from local businesses which Sturino said has contributed to significant wear and tear.
“The street is very old…it requires a complete reconstruction and much more extensive base course, not only to help with the wear and tear but to extend the life of the roadway,” he said.
“This is exclusively for the benefit of the businesses there, and we welcome their continued presence in the village,” added Sturino. No residents would be affected if the tax hike were approved.
The improvements would be funded by the issuance of limited property tax bonds in an amount not to exceed $2.4 million, which would be paid over the course of 20 years at an interest rate of 9 percent or less.
The establishment of the SSA can be blocked if a petition signed by at least 51 percent of property owners within the special service is filed with the Village Clerk within 60 days of the upcoming council hearing.
If that were to occur, the SSA could not be proposed again for a minimum of two years.
All individuals affected by the formation of the SSA will be given a chance to speak at the hearing.
The authority to establish an SSA was granted by the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1970. The areas are excluded from tax cap legislation, and can be created in both home rule and non-home rule municipalities.
According to information provided by the village courtesy of S.B. Friedman and Company, a Chicago based development consulting firm, a statewide survey conducted in 1991 showed that there were over 400 SSAs in the state at that time.
In addition to road improvements, SSAs are often used to fund downtown retail districts, special events and transportation improvements.
The hearing to discuss the proposed SSA is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall.
Sturino said that if the SSA is approved, he expects work to begin by next spring.