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Huntley plans to pump $40M into downtown

HUNTLEY – Village officials hope to invest nearly $40 million during the next two decades to revitalize streets and buildings in Huntley’s downtown.

Newly released village documents show a proposed downtown tax increment financing district would create $40 million over 23 years to be spent mostly on improving downtown parking, utilities, buildings, public spaces and landscaping.

Officials have planned the tax district since December.

They envision spending $17 million on utility improvements, $8 million on public facility upgrades, $5 million on exterior building improvements, and $4 million in land acquisition for new development.

“The downtown is necessary and important to maintaining the village’s small-town character and charm,” Village Manager Dave Johnson said. “It has served as the symbolic center of the community since it was established in 1851. It’s economic strength and competitive position must be improved to ensure it will remain a focus point for years to come.”

The Village Board is to debate three items today to move the village closer to creating its second-ever tax increment financing district. It would cover the downtown from Main Street to Algonquin Road and include the Route 47 corridor. Huntley’s first and only TIF district was created in 1993 and helped develop the Huntley Outlet Center, near Interstate 90.

A TIF district allocates incremental property tax increases from the village’s five taxing bodies to a special development fund.

Trustees today will discuss whether to set an October date for the village’s taxing bodies to meet and vote on the proposal, with the idea of creating the district in December.

Trustees also will discuss the possibility of a registry for residents outside of downtown to comment on the proposal. Trustees also will authorize the use of $77,597 in projected TIF money for welcome sign at Route 47 and Main Street. It will be constructed in coming weeks.

The projection of $40 million to be invested in the downtown is dependent on the number of projects and economic factors, and will not happen overnight. The TIF will take years to collect large amounts of property tax money, Johnson said. Much of the money would be used to fulfill goals detailed in the village’s 2010 downtown revitalization plan, he said.

“The downtown revitalization plan strives to achieve a balance between preservation and new development,” Johnson said. “Someone should not expect to see a complete overhaul of the downtown and Route 47 corridor. It recognizes that locally significant buildings around the square should be preserved and that appropriate redevelopment should be promoted for key development sites.”

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