Village discusses downtown parking lot

By on March 29, 2012

by David Maas
ELBURN—With the impending closure of the Community Congregational Church parking lot on the corner of Shannon Street and Route 47 in Elburn, local businesses are looking to the village to help them out. While the church’s asking price for the lot is $250,000, the village doesn’t have the money to take on the burden themselves.

During the week, Village Administrator Erin Willrett invited business owners from downtown Elburn to meet with her regarding the issue, and then reported to the trustees at Monday’s meeting.

“The business owners are really invested and care about what’s going on,” Willrett said. “The majority want something to be done; some of them want the village to purchase it.”

The village, however, can’t outright buy it, so they discussed other ways.

“The only bond we could go for with this would be a General Obligation bond,” Village President David Anderson said.

Going with a General Obligation bond would also prove to have its problems, such as the need to go to a referendum.

“My concerns with a G.O. bond is the timing,” trustee Jeffrey Walter said. “It’s a long and drawn-out process to put something out to vote, which could still be voted down. We could essentially be waiting eight months for a ‘no.’”

Another option is a Special Service Area (SSA), wherein the business would get taxed.

“Every business has a different profit margin. Some can’t afford to take that risk,” Willrett said

Additionally, if the lot is paid off, the village would own it and have the right to sell it for a profit.

“If the SSA were just on us, I’m not sure we would go for that,” said Kevin Schmidt, owner of Schmidt’s Towne Tap. “If it was a joint project with the village, I think the businesses would go for that.”

There was some talk that a joint SSA, or something similar, could be a step in the right direction.

“If we start an SSA agreement, we could say something like we couldn’t sell the lot without offering a replacement,” Walter said. “I think being creative on the agreement would be a good thing to look into.”

While the village will still be looking at various options, the board was in agreement that the process needs to be started.

“We need to start somewhere,” trustee Jerry Schmidt said. “We should get the lot appraised, and work from there.”

While some trustees didn’t think the appraisal bill should fall to them—a $500-$700 bill—individuals stated they would pay for it, including Kevin, and trustee Ethan Hastert.

“It’s a starting point,” Kevin said. “We will try to work with the church after that. If it doesn’t work out, at least we tried.”

“We want to have a bond with our downtown area,” Walter said. “We can’t sit here and do nothing, but we have to do this smartly.”

In the meantime, it is important to remember there are other parking areas near downtown, village officials said.

“There are other lots; they just aren’t as convenient,” Anderson said.

The village also stated they are looking toward the future for new parking lots that could one day be established, which could happen if someone were to buy the lot from the village in the future.

“It’s just important in a situation like this to remember that no one is the good guy, and no one is the bad guy,” Anderson said. “It’s just no one has any money.”

5 Comments

  1. whiskeymac

    March 29, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Why should local tax dollars be used to bail out local business? Is that what the republicans and tea party people have been screaming about, “less taxes, less hand outs”? This is the business owners problem. Let them pay for it.

  2. OneWhoCares

    March 29, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    by David Maas
    ELBURN—With the impending closure of the Community Congregational Church parking lot on the corner of Shannon Street and Route 47 in Elburn, local businesses are looking to the village to help them out. While the church’s asking price for the lot is $250,000, the village doesn’t have the money to take on the burden themselves.

    Themselves ?? Who ?? Please write names!! Don’t you mean a select few who would benefit on the backs of Elburn tax payer’s? There are more than a few lots around to park in that are just as close as the church owned lot.Some privet,and public Only one privet lot is maintained in back of the VFW the other’s are basically gravel pits.From what I understand when a business opens there should be ample parking for its patrons.WHY wasn’t this enforced to begin with? Seems the old Anderson grocery store converted into bar/restaurant needed to be evaluated a bit more.El burn tax paid are told our services will be limited for lack of funding and now the board wants to possible buy another slum lot. Ha!! what about the one next to the old fire barn? Should park 20 to 30 cars for the bars.Then too a vacant lot on first street right in back of Napa 30 to 40 car lot. Let a commercial developer take on the church lot and PLEASE Elburn don’t spend money you DON’T have.

  3. OneWhoCares

    March 29, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    “Every business has a different profit margin. Some can’t afford to take that risk,” Willrett said

    Additionally, if the lot is paid off, the village would own it and have the right to sell it for a profit.

    ——————

    Profit ?? Are you kidding ?? From what most people see that church lot will need $100,000.00 to $150,000.00 just to bring it up to public safety standards.Add that to the cost of the lot along with various maintence necessary for upkeep’s and you got a sucking sound of tax payers money.Willrett should take a class on living taxed out.That which most of Elburn tax payers are. All the goose that laied the golden egg promises of a better Elburn now has left us in the bag not being able to cover our basic services.Most Elburn tax payers live on the bare basic and some have been taxed out of their home’s while City personal figure out ways to spend and tax Elburn more. Willrett do you realize that more than 99% of Elburn doesn’t want our taxes to go for pet project no more. Concentrate on how to cover the basic needs first.Then too take care of Elburns basic needs before any consideration of putting more of a burden on the tax payers.

  4. rak40

    March 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    This is a tough one, but both the Village and business owners stand to benefit by way of continuing to have use of the lot. In addition to the lengthy process, a referendum comes with some expense as well. To perhaps add to questions already posed; what is the annual maintenance cost on the lot under a variety of assumptions? Is that something that can be shared? Can the Village lease/rent the lot from the church? Is a TIF district worth considering? Does any consideration of a TIF also carry with it the need to go to referendum? It sounds to me that there is a WILL to find a solution by both the Village and the business owners and, with the energy seen in Ms. Willrett (and others) I’m hoping we find the WAY.

  5. over and out

    April 1, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    If our town is talking about cut backs including but not limited to no snow removal untill we get4 inches of snow.
    Come on…. 250,000 for a parking lot? Save our tax dollars..praise the lord!