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posted: 8/13/2012 3:44 PM

Fox Lake to offer sales tax incentives to Thorntons

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Fox Lake officials said they will decide Tuesday whether to offer sales tax incentives to developers building a Thorntons gas station at Route 12 and Grand Avenue.

Mayor Ed Bender said the proposed incentives would be used to offset the cost of streetscape improvements developers would have to make at the proposed site.

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Bender said the planning and village boards are requiring the company to make landscape improvements to spruce up what is the main intersection in the village, but he added those improvements will cost the developer money.

"In order to stay within what we requested through our comprehensive plan, the developer must go over and above what we would normally request of any business coming in," Bender said. "It costs significantly more money to add the streetscape improvements that we are requesting, so this will help them get the work done."

Trustee Kevin Burt said the proposal calls for the village to refund to the developer about $150,000 in sales tax revenue over five years in exchange for the cost of extensive landscaping and sidewalk renovations at that corner.

In essence, the developer will pay for and do the work the village would have done at that corner, Burt said.

"We are getting all that work that we want done to spruce up that corner, and we are paying them back for doing it," he said. "It's going to be a gorgeous corner that fits perfectly into our comprehensive plan."

He added the village is not reimbursing contractors for construction costs associated with the Thorntons gas station, only the streetscape improvements the village requested.

"I'm not in favor of giving corporate welfare, but they can do the work for us and we can pay them back through incentives over time," Burt said.

Bender announced a deal had been struck in February with Thorntons to go in at the site, where the vacant Second Federal Savings and Loan building now stands.

Developers have already purchased the vacant bank building, as well as the nearby Ace Hardware store in Fox Lake.

The plan calls for demolishing both buildings to make way for the Thorntons.

However, construction at the corner -- which was slated to begin in May -- has not yet begun because of the proposed incentives being discussed by the village board.

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