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Fox River Grove officials to vote on use of eminent domain to help develop downtown

The downtown area of Fox River Grove is seen looking northwest from Route 14.
The downtown area of Fox River Grove is seen looking northwest from Route 14.

The village of Fox River Grove is expected to vote this week on using eminent domain to acquire 10 properties in a block of land considered a blighted slice of the community, Village President Bob Nunamaker said.

The properties border Route 14, Illinois Street, Lincoln Avenue and Opatrny Drive across the street from the Metra station. Village officials hope to buy the properties and pitch the land to developers, Nunamaker said.

Officials will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Village Hall, 305 Illinois St., to discuss and vote on a resolution to acquire those properties through eminent domain, which allows a public body to take private property for a public use.

Nunamaker said he expects the board to approve the use of eminent domain. The block of properties is an “asset” to the community, he said.

“These are very valuable pieces of property,” he said. “This is bringing in very little for the taxpayers. The village will only serve as a land consolidator. Once we have the land, we will offer it to other developers.”

There is interest in the development community, Nunamaker said, but it would be “premature” to comment on those conversations.

“Developers are a tricky lot,” Nunamaker said.

Fox River Grove Village Administrator Derek Soderholm told the Northwest Herald in July that the village was in the negotiation process with property owners, but he would not comment then on how much the village is offering to buy the properties.

The story has changed since then, Nunamaker said. Property owners have stopped negotiating with the village on account that they want much more money for the properties than what can be considered market value.

“Nobody is returning any calls,” Nunamaker said.

In 2015, the village approved a special use permit for a four-phase,
$2.5 million redevelopment project
that would have brought 500 new apartments to the downtown area in its first phase. The subsequent phases would have included at least 70,000 square feet of commercial space, retail spaces and a hotel or marina. Plans fell through when the developer was unable to secure funds.

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