Mundelein buys another property for planned lakefront park
Trustees on Monday voted to buy the two-story Mundelein Apartments building at 516 S. Lake St., just north of Allanson Road, for nearly $1.6 million. After the tenants relocate, the village will knock down the building, combine the land with adjacent properties to the south and convert the entire 3.3-acre site to a park.
The southern properties -- four homes and a small commercial building -- are on the 600 block of South Lake Street. Trustees voted last month to buy them for $775,000.
The money for both purchases will come from village savings. The village's coffers will be built back up when the board borrows money for capital investments next year, Mayor Steve Lentz said.
The Mundelein Apartments building is owned by DJAK Properties and takes up nearly an acre of land. It contains 16 units, and all are occupied.
Under the terms of the contract, the tenants can remain up to six months after the real estate closing or until Feb. 23, whichever date is earlier.
"Every effort will be made" to help tenants from the apartment building and from the houses to the south relocate in Mundelein, Lentz said.
Officials hope to demolish the southern buildings this fall and the apartment building next spring. Work on the park could begin in the spring, too.
No other acquisitions are planned as part of the project.
The properties occupy about 260 feet of Diamond Lake's roughly three-mile shoreline.
Opening more of the land around Diamond Lake to the public is a goal in Mundelein's long-term development plan.
Aside from a few Mundelein Park District sites -- the most prominent of which is Diamond Lake Beach -- most of the land around the 153-acre lake is privately owned. The east and north shores are within Mundelein, and the rest is unincorporated Lake County.
Proponents have said the project will create more public space on the lakeshore and will give people driving on Lake Street a new view of the lake.
"Opening up the waterfront view to Diamond Lake will have a transforming effect on that part of town," Lentz said. "The impact will be profound."
But Trustee Dawn Abernathy, who voted against both land purchases, has said creating parks is the Mundelein Park District's responsibility, not the village's.
"We have much more important projects that we need to be doing at this time," she said.
Abernathy suggested the nearly $2.4 million being spent on the properties could be given back to residents as tax credits instead.