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STOCK_Highland Town Hall

The Highland Town Council has highballed the payments it has pledged for the West Lake Corridor extension project to stretch the South Shore Railroad to Dyer.

HIGHLAND — The Redevelopment Commission/Town Council said it will try to be helpful to the new office park and hotel being planned for the corner of Main Street and Prairie Avenue.

Discussions have begun on the "preliminary stages of finances on Cardinal Campus with the financial consultant," Commissioner/Town Councilman Mark Herak, I-2nd, said last week.

Prior to the commission's meeting Monday, town officials met with Highland's new Redevelopment Director Kathy DeGuilio-Fox, Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin and the financial consultant to discuss tax increment financing.

In a TIF, the regular taxes generated by a development continue to benefit the entire town, while the additional taxes generated by the project help with certain improvements for the development and its general area.

The project is being developed by Dr. Claude Gendreau, a veterinary surgeon from Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

"I know he wants to break ground this year," Herak said. "But this is already September and we haven’t seen any plans or agreed on the incremental financing, so I don’t see it happening this year."

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Herak said the Highland Fire Department will burn down two of about five houses on Main Street for training purposes.

The row of houses was purchased by Gendreau, along with undeveloped acreage behind them.

The town also will help by putting in some infrastructure, such as sewers and water lines, for the project.

Gendreau has said he would like to break ground this year on the project, which eventually will include seven two-story office buildings and a three-story boutique hotel similar to a popular one he owns in Homewood, Illinois.

The 9-acre project was given final approval by the town earlier this year.

Gendreau has said the buildings, including the hotel, will go up in phases over the next several years.

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