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Article updated: 12/11/2012 5:35 AM

East Dundee forging ahead on downtown revamp

By Lenore T. Adkins

East Dundee trustees gave consensus Monday night to do a complete overhaul of the downtown that would involve both public and private investment.

And Tom Roeser, owner of Otto Engineering in Carpentersville, will play a key role in the downtown's revitalization.

Roeser has already bought up several properties downtown that he intends to rehabilitate and stabilize or, in some cases, tear down to build anew and recruit new merchants.

Roeser is mostly known for the work he has done in Carpentersville, in which he spruced up Otto's buildings and the surrounding neighborhood. He's looking to do the same thing in East Dundee.

"When you drive down this little area here, along River and Meier Street, it is very tired," Roeser said Monday night. "You had an abandoned lot, you had a tattoo parlor, you've got vacant buildings. ... I can help fix this. This is a small enough thing that I can get my arms around. If we can continue to invest in the area, that'll bring more people here ... and that'll help me in Carpentersville."

Monday night, trustees gave preliminary approval to embark on a public/private revitalization.

Its new features could include a splash plaza, a removable ice rink, a special event space, a restaurant, streetscape improvements, a performance area, a retail anchor, and 30 to 60 high-end apartments that would be marketed to empty nesters.

"It's really exciting," Trustee Jeff Lynam said. " ... To not do it, we would end up with more of what we've got."

The public portion of phase one, which would involve improvements to the Depot Plaza Square and its surrounding streets -- Barrington, Meier and River streets -- is expected to cost $2.3 million. The privately funded part of phase one involves turning the Depot Plaza into a residential and mixed-use development and would cost $4.5 million.

In January, the board is expected to give authorization to proceed with the project's design and to arrange the initial financing for phase one.

Construction on that project would start in April, while work on the private portion would begin in July.

Public investment overall is expected to be $5.9 million, while the private investment is expected to total $17.3 million.

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