Business Council to take position on TIF extension, Whiteco

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The Oak Park Business and Civic Council (BCC) expects to take a position on the proposed extension of the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district after it holds a Feb. 11 forum on the issue.

The council is a non-profit organization that formed in July of last year. The 30-member group's mission is to "promote public policies that stimulate and encourage economic growth."

Frank Pellegrini, council president and president of Prairie Title, said the group will also later vote on whether to endorse Whiteco's controversial development proposal. Though next week's forum will primarily focus on the TIF, the event is also expected to include discussion of the Whiteco project, which is receiving a TIF subsidy from the village.

"We had a draft position paper [on Whiteco], but we decided that you can't look at Whiteco and exclude the TIF. They dovetail strongly together," Pellegrini said. 

The event, "Decision Time: Downtown TIF," will feature a presentation by Village Manager Carl Swenson, titled "The vision for Downtown Oak Park," and by municipal finance expert Phil McKenna, called "Minimizing taxpayer risk in extending the TIF."

McKenna was retained by the council to analyze the TIF and its effects on village finance, according to a press statement issued by the group.

A panel discussion, moderated by former Crain's Chicago Business reporter and Oak Parker Steve Srahler, will follow presentations. Panel members include Greg Peters, village finance director; Bill Planek, president of Greenplan Management, which owns more multi-family buildings in Oak Park than any other company; and Mike Fox, owner of the Carleton Hotel, and other properties in downtown.

The council is requesting that those interested in attending the event make reservations with Mary Ann Schott at 660-7003, or via e-mail at maryanns@cboprf.com.

A public hearing on extension of the Downtown TIF will be held on Feb. 7 at village hall. The Plan Commission is expected to vote on the Whiteco development at a hearing tomorrow night.
?#34;Katharine Grayson

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