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updated: 11/5/2013 4:41 PM

River's Edge project delayed in South Elgin

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Construction of a $14 million project in downtown South Elgin was delayed in order to perform extensive soil testing, officials said.

Polluted dirt must be removed from a "small area" within the 3.3-acre parcel at 481 Center Street where Water's Edge of South Elgin will be built, said Tracy Manning, executive director of The Burton Foundation of Sterling, Ill.

The 50-unit building for low-income residents and residents with disabilities is a joint venture between The Burton Foundation, a philanthropic organization with rental properties across the country, and the Association for Individual Development, based in Aurora.

The parcel is located in a vacant industrial area. South Elgin Director of Community Development Steve Super said the developer wanted to be "extra cautious" and test the whole site, hence the delay.

Financing is in place, Manning said. "We're planning on closing by March 1 and start construction then."

Officials had hoped to break ground this month. Manning said she hopes construction will be complete by November 2014.

The South Elgin village board Monday voted to finalize an agreement to use $463,000 in tax-increment financing district funds to reimburse The Burton Foundation for infrastructure improvements, including storm sewer improvements and connecting Center Street to Robertson Road, Super said. Water's Edge is part of a TIF district created in 2002.

Altogether, Water's Edge will include more than $2 million in improvements that could qualify for TIF money, but the village typically doesn't reimburse projects in their entirety, Village Administrator Larry Jones said.

"Developers are told that from the beginning," he said.

Board members Jennifer Barconi and Robert Sauceda voted against the TIF agreement.

"I was elected on the promise that I would vote 'no' on all things that had to do with Water's Edge. I wanted to keep that promise," Sauceda said. "Why should village taxes pay for something that village residents didn't want?"

Before Water's Edge was approved earlier this year, some residents and business owners submitted a petition with 900 signatures opposing the project.

Acting Village President John Sweet said he didn't understand the "no" votes.

"The reason we do TIF districts is to spark these developments and turn these unsightly areas into taxpaying areas, to transform these lands," he said. "Obviously now that this project has been approved, (Sauceda and Barconi) are still trying to grasp at straws to defeat it."

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