Plans to give the Roosevelt Road business district a facelift advanced Monday after the village council approved two TIF districts for the north and south sides of Roosevelt Road. The new districts, combined with existing TIFs designed for the Forest Park Mall and Walmart, will bring an unbroken development district all along Roosevelt between Harlem and past Desplaines Avenue to the Des Plaines River. The districts also finger upward onto South Dunlop north of Roosevelt and southward along the industrial corridor on Hannah Avenue.
Village officials have said the TIFs will do two things. First, the adjacent TIF districts will provide money for a unified streetscaping effort along Roosevelt Road. Mayor Anthony Calderone said last year he hoped to continue the streetscape upgrades to the east on Roosevelt paid for by state and federal grants to the villages of Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero two years ago. With a TIF district in place, Forest Park can apply for similar grants to give Roosevelt a new look west of Harlem.
Although Calderone has said in the past “a village cannot have more than one downtown,” he and Commissioner Rory Hoskins have both pushed to improve sidewalks, planters and pavement on the village’s southern business thoroughfare.
The TIF and development plan passed Monday night permits the eventual acquisition of land within the project area either by the village or a developer and hypothetically allows the demolition and clearance of the land and construction of public works improvements such as repaved streets, storm sewers, water mains and traffic signals.
The second advantage of the TIF is long-range planning for land use in the village. Specifically, the U.S. Army Reserve property at 7410 Roosevelt Rd., now off the tax rolls, is ripe for development if the United States government decides to close it and sell to the village or a developer.
The village commissioned a study on a handful of different development options for the parcel in December, 2011. These included a small hotel, car dealership, various strip mall and medical office parks as ideas. By creating a TIF zone across the street from the U.S. Army site, developers could be offered incentives to build something across the street on the north side of Roosevelt to “match” or complement the site’s new use. This would get the site back onto the village tax rolls and sweeten the deal for a more tax-generating business to grow up across the street.
Now that the TIFs have been passed by the council, two hearings will take place before they can kick in. A public hearing was supposed to take place before Monday’s meeting, but an error by the Forest Park Review in publishing the required legal notice delayed the meeting until the August 26 village council meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall. Some Roosevelt Road business owners attended Monday’s meeting and the mayor explained it would be “business as usual” on Roosevelt Road there would be no adverse impact on property owners in the new TIF districts.
“They will pay property tax to the Cook County Treasurer as they always have,” Calderone said. “The difference is a portion of the tax that is increasing will go to [the TIF district.]”
Another meeting of taxing districts, called a “joint review” board meeting will take place July 24 at Village Hall. Representatives from other taxing bodies will attend. Technically, the village needs other taxing bodies to sign off on the TIF, because the difference in collected tax money would be coming out of their budgets. These bodies include Triton Community College, District 91, District 209, the park district, library, fire protection district and Proviso Township.
This process is usually a formality and other taxing districts rarely challenge a TIF district, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian last March.