The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 23, 2013

Parking lot questions need answers


DANVILLE — Danville City Council members had thought they were going to vote Tuesday whether to proceed with a project to create an environmentally friendly parking lot at Danville High School, but the item was pulled from the agenda.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said he wanted time to be able to respond to questions raised by a couple of aldermen during committee discussions about the project.

The parking lot — with a total cost just shy of $1 million — will be paid for with a combination of a grant from the state and more than $400,000 from the city’s Midtown Tax Increment Financing district funds.

TIF districts allow officials to collect property tax revenue for infrastructure improvements and other projects.

The parking lot’s design will allow rain water to pass through into a filtering system before it flows into storm sewers.

The lot will be used for overflow parking during special events and as a practice field for the high school band and others when it’s not full of cars.

Several aldermen have questioned whether the expenditure of more than $400,000 in TIF money is the best use of funds.

There are a couple of other questions we’d like to know the answers to as well:

Is this a project created out of need at the high school and for the community or is it one one designed to meet the requirements of an available state grant?

Will the filtered water from the parking lot really make a difference in the storm water runoff once it merges with other drainage?

Is there another use of the city’s $400,00-plus that could benefit more residents than a parking lot that will stand empty most of the time?

Aldermen will vote on the proposal next month.

The extra time will give them the opportunity to find all of their answers. This should be a project based on need before anything else.