I’d like to share a few comments on the shuttle service: Five to six years ago, a group of residents who followed expenditures of the downtown TIF and the massive subsidies for The Shops of Downtown OP and Whiteco, suggested that the village take another look at the 1983 Downtown TIF Redevelopment Plan and return to the original objective of funding public projects, not private ones.

This plan listed in detail projects (nearly all public as I recall) to be funded by the TIF. The projects even listed the projected costs. As the TIF was amended, these projects and their costs were updated for everyone to see.

One of the projects was a trolley/shuttle service to run between and connect the three separate commercial districts within the downtown TIF; funding was approximately $600,000. The purpose was to make it convenient for residents/shoppers to more easily travel between these districts, thus strengthening all of them. As flawed as I believe the Crandall-Arambula Plan is with regard to its lack of a cohesive vision, it did recognize the importance of linking these three separate districts, both visually and transportation-wise.

The prior administration and a prior board developed the current shuttle system, which is a watered-down version of the original plan and does not serve well any of the commercial districts. It was to be all things to all people, and funded by all three village TIF districts.

I urge you to reconsider the original plan, and start funding the kinds of public improvements that will have an impact on the vibrancy of the three downtown commercial districts. If, instead, you continue the misguided policy of throwing more and more public tax money to massive, out-of-scale developments such as the Sertus proposal and the Colt building proposals, we can expect to see the blighted downtown conditions continue, with vacancies higher than any other commercial district in town.

Kathryn Jonas

Oak Park

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