Coronavirus on minds at Arlington Heights state of village address
Arlington Hts. leader also talks TIF plan, new housing rules
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes' annual recap of the village's year and preview of what's ahead locally went on as scheduled Thursday, but he and those gathered for the event couldn't help but talk about the impact of international events on the community.
"It's a very interesting time to be living in Arlington Heights and in this country in general," Hayes said during his yearly State of the Village address. "(The coronavirus is) something that is on everyone's mind for obvious reasons today."
In Arlington Heights, it's meant closure of the village's senior center Thursday afternoon, right around the time Hayes was delivering his remarks during a Rotary Club luncheon at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant on Algonquin Road. The senior center, 1801 W. Central Road, will remain closed through the end of March for most programming but still offer essential drop-in services, officials said.
Hayes said village officials are in touch with health experts and government agencies to "maintain a very high level of awareness." He was among 150 local mayors on a conference call hosted by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sunday night.
On village issues, Hayes on Thursday listed the proposed inclusionary housing ordinance and a new tax increment financing district among the top issues the village board will consider in the coming months. He also detailed stormwater and economic development projects, but didn't address the uncertain future of Arlington International Racecourse.
The proposed housing rules, reviewed once by the village board and twice by the housing commission, are set to come back to the board Monday. The ordinance would put more teeth into affordable housing guidelines that have been in place since 2008.
"It's very important as a village that we be open to all income levels to hopefully have children who grew up in this community be able to afford to move back here (and) to stay in this community," Hayes said.
The proposed TIF -- by which property taxes above a certain point would be funneled into public and private economic development projects instead of local governments -- is part of an overall approach to enhance the southern gateway to the village.
Hayes also revealed that village leaders are in talks with a developer at International Plaza on Golf Road, where redevelopment has long stalled.
Among projects that have the board's approval, the massive Arlington 425 downtown redevelopment could get underway in the near future, Hayes said. Right now, officials say the project is trying to secure financing.
On the rest of the empty Block 425, the Sigwalt 16 townhouse project is about to break ground, Hayes said.
Village-led stormwater projects include some $3 million to upgrade storm sewers in the Greenbrier subdivision and about $2 million in the Berkley Square area. Hayes thanked state Rep. Mark Walker and state Sen. Ann Gillespie for helping secure state grants for the work, which means the projects may be slightly delayed so the village can formally acquire the funds.