In split decisions, council members voted to begin negotiating with two property owners, and may invoke the state’s eminent domain laws to acquire parcels on North Circle Avenue west of the Green Line CTA station and 1000 Beloit Ave.
During Monday’s council meeting, Commissioner Patrick Doolin requested that the two properties be discussed as separates issues. The motions were approved by a 4-1 vote on the CTA station property and a 3-2 vote on the Beloit Avenue property.
The property on North Circle Avenue is privately owned by Zigmund Stutz, who for years has been leasing out parking spaces to commuters. However, Stutz has recently begun working with village staff on a plan to redevelop the site, along with the site located on the southeast corner of Circle and Marengo streets.
Commissioner Theresa Steinbach expressed her concern over the costs and practicality of both acquisitions.
“Is it a build able lot?” Steinbach said of the North Circle Avenue property. “We can’t make an informed decision without the right information.”
The North Circle Avenue property is not currently up for sale, though Stutz indicated that he wants to close it down, according to Village Administrator Mike Sturino.
“Our interest isn’t profit-motivated,” Sturino said. “Parking for commuters is an important public asset. If the property is redeveloped, there could be some serious consequences for residents living near the CTA station, such as congested streets.”
Mayor Anthony Calderone said should the property be acquired, the village will work to preserve commuter parking.
The 600-square foot property located on the south side of Forest Park at 1000 Beloit Ave. also raised a few concerns. While the village council has yet to decide what to use the property for, they had several ideas, including developing it into a police substation or a community resource center.
Doolin objected to the acquisition.
“The cost of such an acquisition could be anywhere from $345,000 and up,” Doolin said. “Why not put the money to use for something else, like hiring more police officers to monitor the area.”
Commissioner Tim Gillian said that Doolin’s observation was “shortsighted,” and that not all of the crime in Forest Park takes place on the south side.