Mundelein looking to create special taxing district, redevelopment for south side corridor

  • Mundelein's Oak Creek Plaza shopping center is filled with vacant storefronts.

    Mundelein's Oak Creek Plaza shopping center is filled with vacant storefronts. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 
Updated 4/13/2021 1:41 PM
Editor's note: This story has been updated to indicate Dawn Abernathy said she left the meeting because of a bad reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination.

Mundelein officials on Monday took a big step toward creating a new taxing district to help fund improvements on the village's south side.

After months of discussions, the village board authorized creating a document that would establish a tax increment financing district for the businesses along Townline Road, also known as Route 60.

 

It also authorized a redevelopment plan be drafted for the new district.

The district would include properties between Route 83 on the west and the eastern edge of the mostly vacant Oak Creek Plaza shopping center. The district's northern border would be the Canadian National Railroad, and its southern border would be Route 45.

In a TIF district, tax revenue generated by a property's increasing value or new development is diverted to a fund that pays for land purchases, infrastructure improvements and other projects. Districts legally can last 23 years, but extensions are possible.

To qualify for TIF status, properties must legally qualify as blighted. Officials and consultants said the sites being eyed qualify because they have inadequate utilities and excessive vacancies, they're functionally obsolete and they're physically deteriorating.

Redeveloping the 42-acre Oak Creek Plaza is a long-standing goal for village officials. Only free-standing businesses such as Pita Inn and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen operate there.

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A developer wants to build single-family houses and townhouses on the plaza site, but that proposal hasn't been finalized. Funding from a TIF district could incentivize that redevelopment, Village Administrator Eric Guenther said.

Monday night's votes weren't unanimous. Trustee Dawn Abernathy left the meeting before the votes without explanation, and Trustee Robin Meier voted "present."

Abernathy later said she left because of a bad reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination.

During a discussion in August, Meier and Abernathy were hesitant about creating a new TIF district, saying they first want a policy ensuring developers would pay for work and be reimbursed district funds rather than having the village front the money.

Mundelein already has two TIF districts, both in the downtown area. This district would be considered the village's fourth, however, because one of the existing zones was renumbered after receiving a 12-year extension.

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