Lake Zurich trustees will be asked to approve spending nearly $116,000 in an effort to stimulate downtown redevelopment.
Village government owns five buildings that are expected to taste the wrecking ball this fall, with the properties then cleared of debris, groomed and seeded for new grass. Officials say the area will become more aesthetically pleasing and likely attract more developer interest for mixed-use projects.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the village board will be asked to approve a $115,800 demolition contract with Langos Corp. of Barrington Hills. Langos was the lowest of eight responsible bidders for the job, with Berger Excavating leading the pack at $214,800.
Lake Zurich Public Works Manager Michael Brown cited a need for the demolition in a memo to the village board, saying, in part, "the properties have sat uninhabited for years and have deteriorated to a point that public health and safety could become a potential concern."
Downtown redevelopment has been a longtime issue in Lake Zurich. Following months of feasibility studies, the village board in March 2002 approved boundaries for a special taxing district to lure developers to the downtown, but nothing significant has occurred because of the weak economy and other factors. Lake Zurich has what's called a tax increment financing district for downtown. That's where property tax revenue is frozen at a certain amount and any additional money goes into public improvements rather than to local governments, such as school or park districts.
Trustee Jim Beaudoin said demolition of the five village-owned structures will help in trying to revitalize downtown Lake Zurich. He said while much attention has been focused on plans for a four-story building on roughly 2 acres overlooking the village's namesake lake, other downtown properties are just as important for redevelopment.
"There is a lot of good energy going on down there," Beaudoin said Friday. "Getting rid of those buildings is a good step forward."
Buildings on Mionske Drive, West Main Street and South Old Rand Road are on the demolition list, with the other two on Park Avenue.
Of about $40 million in outstanding debt, $28 million is associated with the long-stalled downtown redevelopment and has included the village's purchases of properties, according to Lake Zurich's current budget that runs through April 30. It's projected the village will pay $2.5 million to $3 million annually in debt principal payments.