By Terry Dean
The portion of property tax revenue allocated to Oak Park and River Forest High School and elementary school District 97 via development from the Colt-Westgate site could run into the millions.
That's according to the village of Oak Park as it looks to amend the 2011 downtown TIF settlement with the two school districts. Village Manager Cara Pavlicek discussed the details of the village's plan with the District 200 Board of Education on May 14. Speaking for about 20 minutes at the board's finance committee meeting, Pavlicek said the two school districts could net about $900,000 per year in property tax revenue once those newly-developed properties come back onto the tax rolls. She stressed, however, that those figures are preliminary.
The village has been working with Clark Street LLC on developing the site. The firm has proposed a roughly $70-million, mixed-use development for the 80,000-square-foot parcel located in downtown Oak Park. Pavlicek said that parcel will generate $1 million-plus annually in property tax revenue, based on the village's preliminary projections. The two school districts would get a portion of that revenue, she said.
According to D200 President John Phelan, the board would be open to amending the downtown TIF.
"I think it's a really positive development and I really appreciate the village's effort," Phelan said.
D97 is also open to discussing amending the agreement, according to a statement released last week by the district.
The village next month will begin accepting alternative requests for proposals for the Colt-Westgate site, Pavlicek said, which the village board expects to receive on June 17. The village would also at that time look for a decision from the school districts on reopening the TIF, Pavlicek added.
The village wants to amend that agreement to allow TIF dollars to be used to help develop the Colt-Westgate site. The downtown TIF is set to expire in 2018 with the two school districts receiving payments from the agreement until that time.
Pavlicek said developers would like to start building on the site next year, with plans to have the proposed commercial and residential properties by late 2015.
"So we take that as an indication that the market is really changing, and we have private developers who have money they do want to invest," she said. "And so we think it's important for us to give them a yes or no within that time frame. Otherwise we think those dollars would just be invested in other communities."
Pavlicek noted that full taxes from the site won't be collected until around 2017, after the site is developed.