By Terry Dean
The lure of adding nearly a million dollars to their school budgets was enough to convince districts 97 and 200 to agree to amend the Downtown TIF settlement.
The two school boards last week approved amending the TIF at the request of Oak Park village government. According to village officials, each school district could net nearly a million dollars in tax revenue from new developments at the Colt-Westgate site (currently a village-owned parking lot).
The village in May asked both school districts, which already receive payments from the Downtown TIF, to consider amending the 2011 agreement. The village wanted to use some of those TIF dollars to help develop the site and now will get that chance. The D97 board on June 25 voted 7-0 to amend the agreement. The D200 school board voted 6-1 on June 27, with Sharon Patchak-Layman dissenting.
Clark Street LLC is the developer for the site. The firm has proposed a roughly $70 million, mixed-use development for Colt-Westgate. The 80,000-square-foot parcel, located in downtown Oak Park, has been empty for some time. The village estimates that the site will generate $1 million-plus annually in property tax revenue, based on preliminary projections. D97's and D200's portion of that revenue would be roughly $900,000 once those newly-developed properties are back on the tax rolls by 2015.
Clark Street LLC is looking to start building there next year.
The downtown TIF is set to expire in 2018 with both school districts receiving payments from the agreement until that time.