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updated: 7/7/2014 3:46 PM

Group opposes redevelopment near downtown Arlington Heights

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  • The website hickory-kensington.com urges Arlington Heights residents to oppose the Hickory-Kensington TIF district

      The website hickory-kensington.com urges Arlington Heights residents to oppose the Hickory-Kensington TIF district

 
 

An online group is expressing opposition to a proposed new tax increment financing district that will be voted on by the Arlington Heights village board on Monday.

A website and Facebook page launched this week asks residents to tell trustees to vote against the Hickory-Kensington TIF district.

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The Hickory-Kensington TIF district is a proposed redevelopment of 35 acres east of downtown. It is north of Northwest Highway and bounded by Dryden Avenue, Miner Street and Belmont Avenue.

The site is near Mariano's and the new Walgreens and primarily has older, industrial buildings.

According to the Hickory-Kensington Area Plan approved in 2012 by the village board, redevelopment would create "a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood which complements the downtown area, providing new housing and commercial opportunities in a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment."

"The reason for the TIF is to create a financial incentive to develop the area because otherwise we don't believe development will happen," said Bill Enright, deputy director of planning and community development.

But an anonymous group of residents disagrees.

As of Monday afternoon, 265 people had signed a petition at hickory-kensington.com. No names are attached to show who is behind the website or who has signed.

The website expresses concern for longtime businesses, which it lists as Heller Lumber; Jeff's Automotive; Parkside Auto Body; HK Cleaners; Reese Automotive; Central Plumbing Co.; Signature Oil Change; Express Motors; HiTech Auto Center and Body; Pro Coat Inc. Painting; Cullivers Auto Sales and Cassiday Tires.

Robert Eccker, who has worked at Heller Lumber for 34 years, fears the family-owned business and others would be displaced by condo and retail development. The Cary man, who supports the website, said TIF planners are overlooking the contributions of area businesses, pointing to when Heller provided coal to residents during the Great Depression.

"People with the TIF district have short, little memories," Eccker said.

If a TIF district is approved, property tax disbursements from those properties to local governments would be frozen at current levels for 23 years, the life of the district. Any additional revenue generated by the redevelopment would go into a special village fund to be reinvested in the project -- in this case mainly infrastructure updates.

Officials have said the redevelopment fits into the village's long-range plans and would benefit the entire community over time.

The equalized assessed valuation of the area in question has fallen dramatically since 2007, when it was at $15.2 million, said Bob Rychlicki, executive vice president of Kane, McKenna, which is helping manage the project for the village. In 2012, it was valued at $9.6 million.

Village officials anticipate that value could be driven to between $30 million and $40 million by the redevelopment.

The Arlington Heights village board will vote on the Hickory-Kensington plan at its meeting at 8 p.m. Monday in the third-floor board room of village hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road.

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