Barrington wants to buy parking lot instead of rent it
Barrington village board members agree it would be better to buy a downtown public parking lot instead of continuing to rent it.
Elected officials Monday night approved an ordinance authorizing a law firm to begin talks to purchase the BMO Harris lot at 201 S. Grove Ave.
However, the ordinance allows the Chicago-based law firm of Neal & Leroy to pursue eminent domain in court in an effort to forcibly gain the property if a deal cannot be reached. Village officials said they are confident that good-faith negotiations will occur and the eminent domain process won't become necessary.
Barrington has been paying about $75,000 per year to rent the lot from BMO and have it available for public use, officials said. The village has rented the site since 2002.
Village President Karen Darch said the proposed purchase would save taxpayers money in the long run while ensuring the availability of free public parking downtown.
"It is being used and it is going to continue to be needed," Darch said after Monday's village board session.
In a memo to the village board, Director of Economic Development Peggy Blanchard said it's in the long-term interest of Barrington to own the parking area in question.
Officials said Barrington would pay for the lot from a specially designated parking fund. Darch said officials believe there now is enough economic activity in the Cook Street-Station Street retail corridor to purchase the lot serving that area.
"We have seen a significant uptick in the use of this lot for shopping, dining and entertainment purposes," she said, "and we believe that now is the time to make this purchase."
BMO's lease for the lot with the village runs through 2026.