BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Aldermen favored a different approach presented by city officials Tuesday night regarding a cash flow loan related to the North Vermilion Street retail development project.
Instead of extending the cash flow loan as part of the retail incentive for the project, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer presented a resolution reallocating additional sales tax funding generated from the new development to reimburse the city’s general fund.
This allows Community Development Block Grant funding during the next three years to be used for demolitions of dilapidated structures throughout the city.
In addition to the newly opened Kohl’s and under-construction T.J. Maxx and Meijer, All About Eyes and a new Cellular One store will join the other stores at North Vermilion Street and Boiling Springs Road.
Eisenhauer said the two businesses will go in a building located on the Kohl’s out lot space along North Vermilion Street. There still remains out lot space available in the Meijer area so more development can occur.
According to developer Quattro Development of Oak Brook, it closed on the acquisition of the out lot of the new Kohl’s last month and is preparing to break ground on a new 6,100square-foot retail center anchored by All About Eyes.
Federal dollars received through CDBG funding were not received in time during Phase 1 of the retail development, according to city officials, to pay back the $600,000 borrowed from the city’s general fund.
The full city council will consider the reallocation of funding next week.
Ward 7 Alderman Bill Black said using the money for housing-related matters is a better option.
Eisenhauer said normally the city has been earmarking $300,000 in CDBG funding annually for economic development projects.
The funding would be reduced to $80,000 for economic development and $220,000 would be earmarked for demolitions and blight removal.
Eisenhauer said the city has previous years of unspent economic development money.
About three years worth of sales tax dollars would be used for the reimbursement.
Also Tuesday, the city council’s Public Works Committee recommended approving a storm water detention agreement with developer Continental Properties Co. of Wisconsin regarding the new North Vermilion Street shopping center.
The city will receive a $1,000 annual maintenance fee from the developer tract owner to reimburse the city for the shopping center’s share of maintenance costs with respect to the regional pond.
In other business, the committee recommended:
A lump sum was to be paid upon completion and opening of the store. Funding comes from the city’s general fund reserve.
Aldermen questioned the length of the agreement and the city continuing to pay for heating, air conditioning and lighting. It was also brought up that non-club members can use the facility up to six times a year at no charge.
Black said he has “a real problem with this concept” of leasing public land to a private entity.
Public Works Director Doug Ahrens said from a parks perspective, the city’s annual cost of $7,000 to $9,000, is “a small contribution” for the improvements and services the not-for-profit entity provides.
“It’s a recognition of that level of improvements,” he added of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements that have occurred and will occur in the future, such as with the roof and other repairs and improvements.
“It’s a tremendous city asset,” Ahrens added.