Lake Zurich village board members have approved tearing down five buildings as part of an effort to prod downtown redevelopment.
Trustees voted 4-0 at a meeting Tuesday evening in favor of a $115,800 demolition contract with Langos Corp. of Barrington Hills. Langos was the lowest of eight bidders for the job, with Berger Excavating leading the pack at $214,800.
Public works manager Michael Brown said Lagos is ready to start the wrecking work this week.
After the structures disappear, the properties are supposed to be 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.
Brown said he anticipates the seeding and other work should be done by early November.
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."
Buildings on Mionske Drive, West Main Street and South Old Rand Road are on the demolition list, and two others are on Park Avenue.
Downtown redevelopment has long been an issue in Lake Zurich. After 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.
Lake Zurich had budgeted $255,000 for the demolition. Trustee Jim Beaudoin complimented the village staff for staying well below budget and securing a number of bids that resulted in a $101,000 difference between the top and bottom.
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.
Knock: Work will come in well below budget