Four single family homes stand in the North Roosevelt Road TIF district area in the 7600 block of Roosevelt. (Courtesy Google Street View)

After two years, the village finally approved two new tax increment financing (TIF) districts on Roosevelt Road at Monday’s village council meeting. The village also approved a Redevelopment Plan and Project prepared by Financial Consultants Kane, McKenna and Associates. 

Along with a $2.3 million beautification grant from the Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT), funds raised by the TIFs will provide incentives to developers who wish to build projects on the north and south sides of Roosevelt Road. The TIFs were first proposed in January 2013.

Two different TIF zones were created, from Hannah Avenue east to Harlem and from Hannah west to the edge of Forest Home Cemetery on the north, with a “donut-shaped” gap at the site of the Hawk Jeep dealership and just past Desplaines Avenue on the south end of the street. The west TIF will also extend north of Roosevelt Road on the west side of Desplaines in the industrial and commercial zoned areas south of Taylor Street.

If the Army Reserve Center parcel at 7410 Roosevelt Road were ever sold, or the U.S. post office bulk mailing center behind it, the TIF funds would be available to expand development around the new project.

The village commissioned a study on development options for the parcel in December 2011. These included a car dealership, various strip mall and medical office parks and possibly a small hotel. 

By creating a TIF zone across the street from the U.S. Army site, developers could be offered incentives to build something on the north side of Roosevelt to “match” or complement the site’s new use. 

The new plan tries to give a better direction for future development of the haphazard patchwork of housing and businesses presently on the north side of Roosevelt Road. The document provides evidence that the buildings on the north side of the road are “obsolete” and “in decay.” This dampens the prospect for private and commercial investment in the area. 

Calling it a strategy for revitalizing the street, the plan encourages investment by light-industrial, retail/commercial and mixed-use development. 

The plan proposes a pattern of land uses, including consistent parking and separation of loading docks from public parking lots. Streetscaping, lighting and signage would be uniform. The idea is to upgrade the image and appearance of commercial areas and buildings.

The plan lists 32 residential properties on Roosevelt Road that might be purchased by developers. These include 27 multi-unit properties between Harlem and the 7700 block and four single-family homes in the 7600 block. Although the plan specifically says the village may assemble parcels by eminent domain, Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the village has no plan to buy property.

“The village has no specific plans for development other than the streetscaping,” Gillian wrote in an email. “Any property that may need to be assembled for a project would be done by the developer,” he added. 

The TIF districts last for 23 years and must “try and contemplate any and all scenarios,” Gillian said. 

The village will begin the Roosevelt Road facelift in 2016, using TIF funding plus the $2.3 million IDOT grant, according to the tiered plan proposed by Christopher Burke Engineering. 

Oak Park, Cicero and Berwyn cooperated in a three-village initiative a few years ago. State and federal funds were used for the construction of bump-outs, planters, benches, slate sidewalk accents and decorative lighting.

Mayor Anthony Calderone said last year the TIF dollars and the grant combined should extend the new look of Roosevelt Road into Forest Park. 

“Roosevelt Road will experience a revitalization, which should marry well with the improvements made by our neighbors to the east,” he said in a statement last year.

Jean Lotus

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...

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