Ribbon Cutting on Virginia Street TIF Project

Mayor Aaron Shepley speaks to the gathering about the TIF project. In the shade are City Council members Ralph Dawson, Kathy Ferguson, Ellem Brady Muller and Carolyn Schofield. All but Schofield were on the Council when the project was begun.

The expensive Tax Increment Financing District remake of Virginia Street from Kwik Kopy to the Pizza Hut is finished “on time and on budget,” Mayor Aaron Shepley told a group of contractors and local businessmen this morning on the northeast corner of McCormick Park.

The city web site says the whole project is estimated to cost $9.3 million. (I have a call into the Finance Department for a better answer, but was told to file a Freedom of Information request, which usually takes a week to get an answer. This article will not wait that long, so if city officials want to be more precise, they can call or leave a comment.)

Add to that the State Department of Transportation spend on the highway repaving.

I see $3 million for property acquisition (look below) in the TIF district, which probably isn’t part of the streetscape. There is another $2.5 million for parking, which may or may not represent money for re-working the parking spaces on the north side of Virginia Street.

A new sign points to Downtown and the Lake. extolled the new look, saying it would look even better next year when the plantings were put in.

Shepley extolled the new look, saying it would look even better next year when the plantings were put in.

He explained that the idea was to make Crystal Lake’s original “Main Street” look like Downtown.

For those who don’t know, Crystal Lake was combined with a village called Nunda that grew up around the train station Downtown.  The merger explains why the lake resort community streets don’t always fit those in the other part of town.  (I remember we got lost a lot when we moved here in 1958.)

The TIF project includes signs pointing to Downtown.

Star 105.5 radio host Joe Cicero suggested a ribbon cutting to celebrate the end of road and “streetscape” construction (and re-construction, as sections of the new asphalt was removed so decorative walkways could be added at Dole and McHenry Avenues).

STAR 105.5 Radio host Joe Cicero uses giant scissors to cut a big red ribbon held by Mayor Aaron Shepley and Councilwoman Ellen Brady Mueller. Most not taking photos got in the picture. Click to enlarge.

A monument at Country Companies across from Kwik Kopy on Route 14 marks the western edge of the TIF District.

Another monument in front of Fifth Third Bank marks the eastern edge of the Tax Increment Financing District on Virginia Street.

Shepley said the idea came up 13 years ago at a visioning meeting. There were 21 ideas for the 21st Century, he said.

This idea was pushed by Councilwoman Ellen Brady Mueller, Shepley said.

After the ceremony I asked Mayor Shepley if there would be another TIF District to continue the streetscaping east of Fifth Third Bank and Pizza Hut.

That’s where the new black light poles, new sidewalks and landscaping end.

Tax Increment Financing District money can only be spent within the boundaries of TIF districts.

“There are no present plans for another TIF,” he said deliberately.

“What the future brings, who knows?”

He added that I had taught him “never to say never.”

I also talked to Shepley about the lost parking places on the north side of Virginia Street.

This corner building, which used to have a cell phone store, lost two or three parking spaces.

Pointing to at least two parking spaces that are now covered by grass in front of the white building on the corner of Pomeroy and Virginia, I offered the opinion that it would never be occupied by a business again because of the parking the re-designed of the streetscape had eliminated.

I got the feeling that such implications of less on-street parking had not occurred to him.

Unintended consequences of governmental actions almost always happen.

But some can consequences can be predicted.

It’s not as if the Virginia Street Corridor, the official name of the project, has lots of off street parking similar to Downtown’s.

1776's Andy Andresky and Angie Angelos of Andy's Family Restaurant were at the ribbon cutting.

Two restauranteurs were present for the ceremony, 1776’s Andy Andreski and Andy’s Family Restaurant’s Angie Angelos.

Andresky revealed that the construction season had cut down on his business by 35%.

Angelos declined to offer an estimate, but said that if it were not for her parking lot across the street and loyal customers, not to mention her “construction specials,” business would have been a lot worse.  (She plans “End of Construction” specials now.)

Andresky said he though four business had gone out of business during the traffic snarls.

A commenter names Mark added the following information in a previous post entitled,

Message of the Day – Waste



A 50 page document stating:

Total Estimated Project Costs: $9,291,000

TIF Cost Estimates for Virginia Street Coridor.

2003 Equalized Assessed Valuations: $9,845,120

It is estimated that the incremental increase in property taxes over the term of the TIF District in 2003 dollars will be $12,085,875.

Upon the completion of anticipated redevelopment projects it is estimated that the equalized assessed valuation of real property within the Project Area will be in excess of $26,080,000.

This represents an approximate 165% increase in the total equalized assessed valuation.

The following taxing districts cover the proposed Project Area:

Algonquin Township, Algonquin Township Road and Bridge, City of Crystal Lake Fire, Crystal Lake Park District, City of Crystal Lake, College District #528, Crystal Lake Library, McHenry County, McHenry County Conservation District, School District #47, and School District #155.

= = = = =
The way TIF districts work is that everyone outside of the area pays the bill.

The properties included in the Virginia Street TIF District.

That’s because tax districts are deprived of any increase in assessed valuation. The municipality gets all the money from increase assessments to spend in the TIF area. Besides the new lights, sidewalks, signs, brick-like decorations along the sidewalks, planters, etc., the City Council has provided money to various property owners for new signs, new lights, landscaping, and probably other improvements to private business property.

Unless those deprived tax districts bump into their tax ceiling, which hasn’t happened yet since the Tax Cap took effect, they will just raise their tax rates to make up the difference.


Ribbon Cutting on Virginia Street TIF Project — 5 Comments

  1. Teska was also involved (as a planning consultant) in the Bartlett Town Center TIF (Main St & Railroad Ave, south of the tracks, east of Main St).

    Limited parking in front of the stores is a complaint about that development.

  2. Parking is a complaint pretty much everywhere in the city.

    Love the forethought that goes into these projects.

    Cal: Seriously, the purpose of those markers is not for marking the TIF, is it?

  3. The purpose of those markers is something more mysterious that has to do with NWO. Mwaaaa-haaaa-haaaa.

  4. None of the nine million dollars was used to create additional parking?

    Apparently the $9,000,000 resulted in less parking?

  5. Actually, the city’s web site states, “Other goals for the TIF include providing additional parking as well as creating a unique identity for the area, similiar to downtown Crystal Lake.”

    Where any additional parking spots created yet in the Virginia Street Corridor TIF?

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