East Dundee’s new parking deck will have space for shops

East Dundee is getting a new parking deck with space for retail on the main level.

Construction on the new parking garage is expected to start in July. The two-level structure will include 6,000 square feet of retail space fronting River Street and 132 parking spots that will be accessed off Hill and Jackson streets.

“This new parking garage will help support existing businesses and attract new ones,” East Dundee Village Administrator Erika Storlie said.

The parking deck is expected to cost $6.5 million. The village plans to use a $1 million state grant and $1.5 million from the downtown district’s tax increment finance district to help pay for the parking deck.

The village anticipates borrowing the rest and paying off the 15-year debt using money from a special sales tax paid by patrons shopping or eating at any of the downtown businesses and by selling or leasing the retail space on the main level. The sales tax currently generates about $500,000 a year for the village, Storlie said.

Trustees initially debated if the parking deck should include space for retail on the first floor. Trustee Scott Kunze supported the move, saying it helps pay for the project and makes prime space in the downtown district available for new businesses.

“We have very limited valuable land in our downtown, and we should utilize that land for people and not for cars,” Kunze said.

Village President Jeff Lynam, who initially opposed retail on the main level, said the parking deck design is a “workable compromise.”

“I think it’s going to be a real solid addition for our downtown,” he said.

He said the additional parking spaces will be key to the downtown district’s future. A 2021 parking study showed the downtown district had about 573 parking spaces, about 259 spots short of what was needed.

“We have a great need for parking now,” Lynam said. “We have other development opportunities in the downtown area, and we have to provide for that parking if we want to make sure that the next generation is in good shape.”

Village trustees in May are expected to discuss whether the retail space should be sold or if the village should lease it out to businesses.

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