Jul 28, 2014

Plan To Redevelop Dempster Plaza Gets Hearing

Residents raise questions about Morton Grove's proposed financing plan to redevelop the area around Dempster and Waukegan Road, including Prairie View Plaza on the southeast corner.

Plan To Redevelop Dempster Plaza Gets Hearing


One resident argued that Prairie View Plaza, at Waukegan Road and Dempster Street, needs to be spruced up to attract more customers.

Others questioned the wisdom of what they said would be supplying less money to school districts, which get their funding from local property tax revenue.


And a manager of a furniture store in Prairie View Plaza asked what he should be doing as the village goes through the process of creating a financing plan--called a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, District--for the shopping center and environs.

The comments and questions came during a public hearing Monday at the village hall, which was necessary because the law that governs TIF districts requires scheduled opportunities for public input.

One citizen, Michael Kalodimos, told the board, "I’m against surrounding a school district with TIFs. It sounds like an effort to force failure of the school districts."

In an opening statement at the hearing, however, Mayor Dan Staackmann said, "The village board is committed to working with all the school districts, park districts and all taxing bodies within this TIF district.

"It is very important to the village of Morton Grove that we have viable school boards and park boards."

Another person who commented at the hearing identified himself as a vice president of The Room Place, a furniture store chain which has a location at Prairie View Plaza.

He asked what was being done to entice current tenants to stay, and wondered aloud if he should be looking for another location. 

Ryan Horne, village administrator, said the answers to questions asked at the hearing would be posted on the village's website.

The resident who stated Prairie View Plaza needs to be spruced up to attract more customers spoke after the hearing ended and declined to give his name. 

In a short overview before the village board heard public comments, Stephen B. Friedman, president of SB Friedman Development Advisors, said the primary goal of the TIF district was to facilitate improvements designed to stimulate commercial redevelopment within the TIF boundaries. 

Those boundaries include Prairie View Plaza, Castle Honda, the Public Storage facility, the shuttered former location of Produce World and the ICF building.

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