Thornton purchases five lots eyed for downtown development

2013-01-27T00:00:00Z Thornton purchases five lots eyed for downtown developmentPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

THORNTON | Five lots commonly referred to as 100 N. Williams St. are expected to become property of the village following the Village Board's approval on Tuesday of an agreement to acquire the land.

Village Administrator Jason Wicha sent a memorandum to the board that said Dennis Plecas, the trustee in charge of the property, approached the village recently in regards to selling the lots.

The reported deal states the village would purchase the five lots for the cost of $1 and cover the seller's closing costs in an amount not to exceed $5,000.

The deal also requires the village to waive all previous liens against the property.

In 2009, the village had financed the demolition of an old tavern and two dilapidated houses on the property for approximately $50,720 and the property was liened for that amount, Wicha said.

The five lots at the corner of Williams and Margaret streets are seen by the village as a prime area for potential economic development.

"I think it would be a great opportunity for us to have it so that we could help control the destiny of the development that possibly will go in there," Village President Jack Swan said.

The acquisition of the five lots would allow the village to market those along with a sixth lot on which currently sits an obsolete fire station now used as a public works storage garage.

"Trying to market (fire) station No. 2 by itself is virtually impossible," Wicha said.

Trustee Kim Atkinson was the lone trustee to not vote in favor of the deal.

"If the village was to buy the property then that would take it off of the tax rolls and essentially raise taxes for every other property owner in the village," Atkinson said. "The village does own quite a number of properties in the village and it's my opinion that we own quite enough."

Wicha said the most the village would stand to receive in taxes from the property is $1,200 a year.

Upon closing on the property, the village could be liable to pay the 2012 property taxes, which are expected to be about $5,000.

The property taxes and all other acquisition costs are eligible to be financed through the village's downtown tax increment financing fund.

The board also on Tuesday unanimously approved quotes associated with the demolition of a village-owned house and garage at 315 N. Hunter St.

"We got it via a judicial deed," Village Attorney Scott Dillner said. "Under the demolition code, if a property is abandoned, dangerous and two years tax-delinquent, the village can apply for a judicial deed."

The board approved a quote of $5,800 from Holland Asphalt for demolition and debris removal services and a quote of $2,790 from Calumet City Plumbing for water disconnection services.

The demolition project is expected to be completed by mid-February.

The property is the fifth and final demolition planned under the village's Neighborhood Improvement Program.

The village plans to sell the property so another home can be built on it.

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