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updated: 2/13/2012 11:56 PM

Glen Ellyn TIF district would help downtown area

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Glen Ellyn is moving forward with creation of a special taxing district in the downtown area that could help fund economic development projects.

The village board's 5-0 formal approval of the village's first tax increment financing district on Monday follows the recommendation of such a district in a 2009 downtown strategic plan.

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Officials say funds generated from the TIF district, estimated to be between $16.5 million and $34.5 million over its 23-year lifetime, could provide a funding source for proposed infrastructure upgrades proposed in the downtown plan, and help incentivize private developers to build them. Without the district, supporters argue, reinvestment would only occur on a small scale.

Under the TIF process, base equalized assessed values are frozen at current levels for taxing districts, and tax revenue derived from incremental EAV becomes available for economic development projects.

A joint review board of local taxing districts voted 4-2 in an advisory vote last December to recommend implementation of the TIF district. Representatives of Glen Ellyn School District 41 and Glenbard High School District 87 voted against it, raising concerns that it could shift an increased tax burden onto properties outside the TIF district.

Chris McClain, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for business services, said District 87 would've been supportive had the village established an agreement for the share of possible TIF surplus dollars.

Another objection was that the village hadn't provided a specific development plan for how the TIF money could be used.

On Monday, Maureen Barry of Ehlers and Associate, the village-hired TIF consultant, said TIF is just a financing mechanism to pay for projects that have been proposed, and those projects would still have to go through the village's planning and zoning approval process.

That said, Staci Hulseberg, the village's director of planning and development, presented a list of projects that could be funded in part through the TIF district:

Short term (present to 5 years):

• Public and wayfinding signage, streetscape improvements and a greenway.

• A combined $15 million parking deck and retail development, potentially at Forest and Pennsylvania avenues.

Mid term (six to 10 years):

• A new $15 million train station and pedestrian underpass.

• Facilitate a private, $12.9 million residential and retail mixed use development with parking decks on Main Street between Duane and Hillside Avenue.

• Facilitate a private, $25 million residential development on St. Petronille church property on Hillside. Officials said the church "seems open" to negotiations for use of the lot.

Long term (11 to 20 years):

• An $18 million parking garage and retail development at Forest and Duane.

• Relocate the fire station and redevelop the "prime" Main and Pennsylvania corner.

• Facilitate a private, $70 million residential and retail mixed use development at Crescent and Glenwood Avenue.

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