Roadwork at routes 12, 120 marks start of Woodman's work in Lakemoor
Electronic signs warning drivers of pending delays at the busy intersection of routes 12 and 120 in Lakemoor are in place as construction of a long-sought Woodman's Food Market inches ahead.
"We're finally where we should be," Mayor Todd Weihofen said.
Next week, silt fences will be installed and equipment mobilized, said Matt Dabrowski, the village's director of community and economic development. Within a few weeks, construction entrances will be built to give Woodman's access to prepare the site for construction.
That will be the start of $5.9 million in road improvements, including expanding the intersection with dedicated turn lanes and installing new traffic signals, he said.
"Our goal is to have all the roadway work done by the end of the year when the asphalt plants close," Dabrowski said.
Another major step occurred Monday when Woodman's bought the property outright, he said.
"If they didn't close (on the property) within a certain time, that could have kicked back (the timing of) construction," Dabrowski said.
Village officials in February 2016 announced the Wisconsin-based grocer's intention to buy and develop 74 acres at the southwest corner in what Lakemoor officials regard as a spark for more development in the area.
Since then, required reviews and approvals by the village and the Illinois Department of Transportation, and a village extension of water and sanitary and storm sewers has been in progress, leaving tens of thousands of drivers who pass each day wondering what was happening.
Also in the mix has been a legal challenge by Wauconda Unit District 118, Wauconda Township and Wauconda Area Library. The entities contend that corner would have developed without the village designating it as a tax increment financing district, which freezes the value of the land for property tax purposes at predevelopment levels for 23 years.
Lakemoor officials have countered that despite its high-profile location, no development has occurred and the incentive was needed make that happen.
That suit continues. Many depositions have been taken, according to Dean Krone, an attorney representing the taxing bodies, and are expected to be completed by late May. Motions are due by June 29 and a trial is scheduled in November.
The Woodman's grocery store will be 240,000 square feet, and a gas station, car wash and lube center are part of approved plans. Lakemoor has pledged up to $6 million in incentives.
Dabrowski said there is an unmet demand for groceries and other needs in the Lakemoor area.
Extending the utilities will enable development of adjoining areas but Woodman's is the key.
"This is the cornerstone of that," he said.