Glen Ellyn residents claim victory in fight to keep their homes
Irving Ruiz has spent his entire life, all 20 years of it, as a resident of Glen Ellyn's Parkside Apartments.
Now, he says, he can spend the next 20 years there, if he chooses, after village officials said they will remove the complex from the boundaries of a redevelopment plan that residents feared would lead to the demolition of their homes.
After hearing from concerned residents for several weeks, officials announced late Tuesday they are ready to modify the boundaries of the proposed Roosevelt Road tax increment financing district to exclude the Parkside and Park Plaza apartments.
"It's definitely great to know our leaders were willing to listen to us. It shows us we may be a small community, but we still have influence on the leadership," said Ruiz, a junior studying sociology at Wheaton College. "I was born in Parkside and I've gone to school here, literally, my whole life. I wasn't ready to leave."
Parkside tenant Matthew Soerens also called the decision a "huge win."
"I'm grateful to the village leadership for hearing our concerns and grateful to the many people from local churches, schools and other institutions in the larger community of Glen Ellyn for speaking up for our beautiful but vulnerable neighborhood," Soerens said Wednesday after learning the news. "There are still long-term sustainability issues with our apartment complex and serious issues with a lack of genuinely affordable housing in Glen Ellyn, but today's decision shows that elected leadership is responsive to our concerns, and for that we're very grateful."
Glen Ellyn officials have been looking to create a TIF district since February for a portion of the Roosevelt Road corridor in light of the increasing number of business vacancies and lack of private development in that area.
In a TIF district, the assessed value of property is frozen for the purpose of distributing tax money to local units of government. The increase in taxes created by the improved or redeveloped properties are funneled back into improvements.
That money could be used to pay for public infrastructure projects such as new sewer mains, traffic signals and signage, or could be used as incentives for developers to build larger-scale projects.
"We want to be responsive and fair in establishing this TIF district, and believe that modifying the TIF boundaries will not negatively impact the proposed district," Village President Alex Demos said in the prepared statement.
If at the end of the public review process, residents of the apartment complexes decide they want to be included in the final proposed boundaries, the village will consider incorporating them back in the TIF district, officials said.