Message of the Day – Still More Crystal Lake City Council TIF Waste on Route 14

When I was over  at my state legislators’ offices Wednesday, I was complaining passionately about the way the Crystal lake City Council wasted money on changing the streetscape of part Route 14.

That’s a term I first ran into in Algonquin.  Some planner used it.

The Virgina Street Tax Increment Financing District was explained at a Crystal Lake Kiwanis meeting before it was passed, but I missed the meeting.

Wish I hadn’t.

I might have picked up some advance notice of the profligate spending the new TIF District would bring.

I have previously published examples of waste on Route 14.

I showed you the old and the new “decorative” street lights.

Pam Althoff pointed me to a thrid monument to the Crystal Lake City Council near the Crystal Lake Motel.

Before they were uniform.

Now there’s a mishmash.

The City Council folks won’t stand for that, I surmised.  They will take more commercial property off the tax rolls of the school, park, Conservation, township, junior college and county tax districts.  They’ll form another TIF and borrow money to make the area from Pizza Hut to the Vulcan Lake TIF look “pretty,” too.

Then, I saw the cemetery monument on Virginia Street near the Pizza Hut.

But that wasn’t all.

I found another one at the northern end of the TIF District, across from Kwik Kopy.

While complaining how I, a resident of Lakewood and Althoff, a resident of McHenry, and everyone else in McHenry County would be forced to pay for Crystal Lake extravagant spending, she told me there were more than two pillars.

“What!?” I exclaimed, inquired.

She said there was another one just down the street from her office.

When I drove home, I saw it, right before the Crystal Lake Motel.

I can’t help but wonder what they cost.

There other similar monuments in Crystal Lake.

They are in front of Crystal Lake Central High School.

The Class of 1924 gave twin pillars in front of Crystal Lake Community High School.

They, however, were not financed with tax dollars over a 23-year period.

The CLCHS Class of 1924 paid for them.

They were a graduation gift to the Crystal Lake Community High School.


Message of the Day – Still More Crystal Lake City Council TIF Waste on Route 14 — 7 Comments

  1. I am just sick about all of this. It wasn’t enough that they chased every business out of Crystal Lake with their city tax increase; but now we have to pay for this foolishness. For what? For the three store that are still there?

  2. Cal, is there any ‘wording’ on the ‘Erection’ nearest the hotel?

    Or is it cold, hard and expressionless?

    I wonder what the ‘TIF documentation’ looks like to have caused such massive “Erections” throughout Crystal Lake?

    Perhaps the voters of Crystal Lake can get them “Condemned” ….? (did I spell that correctly….?)

    Well, Im sure Mayor Sheply thought long and hard-on this issue!

    I think I saw a little engraved plaque that stated, “If this Erection is still standing after four hours, call your nearest wrecking ball!

    Then, the folks in Crystal Lake can watch those guys with really big balls that swing around come in and whack those erections down.

  3. How about the stamped brick crosswalks at Virginia and McHenry, with the brick sidewalks on the corners?

    Forget that the guys installing that at 5:00 in the morning put up traffic cones you can’t see in the dark and you have to slam on your breaks when all the traffic melds into one half lane at the light.

    This kind of “streetscaping” may be appropriate for downtown or if a mall owner wanted to class up his property.

    But this really nice looking (and stamped brick has NO durability in winter or when covered with salt or hit by a snow plow) intersection crosswalks lead to where?

    An empty lot, a used car lot, a car repair business and a gas station with peeling paint on its building and overhang.

    How much was spent on this and for what purpose?

    Fill up on gas and your car dies. You walk across the street to the car repair business where they tell you your car cannot be repaired.

    You walk to the empty lot, crossing once more on the fine crosswalk to nowhere to the empty lot.

    You look in your wallet and then walk across to the used car lot and buy a used car.

    You then pull into the gas statioin for gas and the car again dies. Repeat cycle.

    Poor stewardship by the City leadership.

  4. God quit griping. The exact points you people bring up are the reason the project needed to be done. The whole area looked like crap and something needed to be done.

    The reason businesses did not want to be in the area is because it looked horrible.

    Now the area looks better and as the properties redevelop or change their façade (like the shopping center near Joseph’s), it will become more attractive to businesses.

    Yes it may take time to get rid of the empty lot, the white boarding house, and the used car guy; but it will happen and this project will help facilitate that.

    And Cal, using “some planner” is an unnecessary swipe at professionals who work hard to make communities more livable and desirable.

    And no I do not work for the city or anyone involved in the project. I’m just a resident of Crystal Lake who appreciates the effort.

  5. Do you appreciate this Jimmy?

    I can no longer afford to purchase plants for my own landscape because I have to pay for this foolish project.

    The whole state is in the dumper and CL chooses to raise our city sales tax.

    NO one wants to shop here.

    Businesses are going under in this economy, and you want to sing praises about how pretty it will all look.

    Check Cal’s newest article about how expensive this all was.

    Can you eat pretty?

  6. Guys like Jimmy are the reason the City and County do what they do and get away with it.

  7. Yes. I appreciate it and love that they did it.

    Cindy – Please tell me how improvements to a TIF district are preventing you from landscaping your own property.

    I’d love to hear that explained.

    The taxing bodies are getting their share of money frozen and will not get incremental increases because of it, but somehow you can’t feed your family or buy plants because of it?

    I think not.

    The money that is being used for these improvements is a separate issue from the sales tax subject.

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