The Forest Park village council passed a sales-tax rebate deal Monday with Hawk Chrysler Dodge Jeep, 7911 Roosevelt Rd., to help the auto dealership finance a $1.4 million new addition.

“Our manufacturer [Jeep] mandated that we add 40 percent more capacity to our service and parts business,” said Joe Crane, Hawk operations manager and co-owner. Construction has started in an area that was formerly a parking lot. “It’ll be a more customer-friendly version of our old service department, with a Roosevelt Road entrance.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the village will keep the first $195,000 of sales tax generated by Hawk and will rebate 60 percent of the remaining taxes over seven years. In years 8, 9 and 10, the Hawk portion will be 35 percent, according to memos written by Village Administrator Tim Gillian. The total amount would be capped at $700,000 over 10 years, or half of the total construction costs paid by Hawk. Hawk would earn additional incentives by hiring Forest Park residents and maintaining its membership in the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce. Auto dealerships are among the highest sales tax-generating businesses in the village.

“[The construction] was not economically feasible without some type of revenue sharing with the village,” said Crane.

Both the Berwyn Development Corporation and the Village of Oak Park have approached Hawk about moving out of Forest Park, confirmed Crane. “Berwyn specifically had open real estate from a closed Ogden Avenue Ford dealership,” he said. But the dealership wants to stay in Forest Park.

“We’ve always enjoyed our relationship with Forest Park, and we would always prefer to hire someone local. We have increased our membership level in the Chamber of Commerce,” he said.

He says car sales are picking up. “Our products are selling very well and we’re generating lots of tax dollars.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the village council approved a request from the Residences at the Grove to change the terms of the complex’s Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement and raise the percentage of owner-owned condominium and townhouse units allowable as rentals from 10 percent (14 units) to 25 percent (35 units). In January, Focus Development, which built the Grove condo and townhouse complex, still owned 39 of the 140 condo units and was renting 36 of them.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...