Schaumburg officials Wednesday tried to dispel the fears of a roomful of residents that the village's plans for an entertainment district near the convention center could mean eviction for them.
About 65 people attended the village's informational meeting on a proposed tax increment finance district south of Algonquin Road and north of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.
The area, though largely commercial, includes 1,700 residential units.
The village's Economic Development Manager Matt Frank said the TIF district is seen as a tool to spur economic development in the area, but that there are no plans to condemn any of the area's condominium or apartment buildings.
"The village has no intention of using TIF money to relocate, demolish or raze residential property," he said.
What officials couldn't promise was that the economic redevelopment they hope to see over the next two decades would never result in a private developer offering to buy the residents' current homes. But accepting such an offer would be up to the homeowners themselves.
Peggy McNamara, a 22-year resident of the Walden Condominiums, said she felt more assured after the meeting but still concerned that some developer might be able to convince the village to change its mind about condemnation.
Most of the residents affected by the proposed TIF district were already part of one that was created in 2009 but dissolved in 2011 due in part to the impact of the recession on its property values.
That TIF district looked to take advantage of the proposed STAR rail line along the tollway, which was ultimately put on hold. The one proposed aims to enhance the area around the convention center with an entertainment district similar to Rosemont's, but with one major difference.
"We're going to do it one better because there's already a substantial residential base," said Schaumburg's TIF district consultant Kon Savoy.
A TIF district works by freezing the property taxes local governments receive at the level of the district's first year. As values rise, increases in the amount of taxes collected go to a municipally held fund to pay for public improvements within the district.
Among the public improvements already envisioned are tollway interchanges at Roselle and Meacham roads, and an access road to Sunstar Americas Inc.'s new North American headquarters to be built next to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.
The village plans to meet with affected taxing bodies about the proposed TIF district on Oct. 25 and hold a public hearing on Nov. 20.
The village board could approve the TIF district as early as January. A TIF district expires after 23 years or when all public improvements have been paid for, whichever comes first.