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Glen Ellyn residents on apartments excluded from TIF: 'It's worse than a war zone'

GLEN ELLYN – Although many residents of two low-income apartment complexes in Glen Ellyn asked to be removed from a proposed TIF district, some neighbors are concerned about what the removal could mean for an area they say is falling apart.

"I live right there. It is not a safe environment for the World Relief children. It's not a safe environment for my children or any of our neighbors," Glen Ellyn resident Renie Atchison said. "It has directly impacted my family. It's a slum. It needs to be addressed."

Atchison voiced her concerns at a public hearing held Sept. 9 by the village as part of the due process to establish a TIF district along Roosevelt Road.

However, even though the Parkside and Park Plaza apartments are no longer included within the proposed district's borders, the village still hopes to encourage development in that area as a way to address its ongoing problems.

"There's got to be a major, significant investment somehow for those things to continue to be viable," Village Manager Mark Franz said. "With that as an understanding, we've got to continue to try to encourage development, with or without a TIF."

Neighbor Fiore Carrino, who lives in the nearby Woodglen condominium compex, said he is worried about crime in the area.

Fences, signs and lights have been damaged near his complex, Carrino said. The condominium complex's board is considering spending $15,000 to install a security surveillance system.

"I live next door to it," Carrino said. "It's worse than a war zone."

Because the Parkside and Park Plaza apartments are part of a high-density area, the Glen Ellyn Police Department receives a higher volume of calls from that neighborhood, Police Chief Phil Norton said.

The department takes proactive measures to deter crime in the area, Norton said, such as walk-throughs at least once a day near the complexes.

Earlier this summer, the proposal for the TIF district was met with opposition from residents living in the apartments, as well as other community members, due to fear residents could be displaced by new development brought about by a TIF.

Partly at the request of residents, village officials opted to reconfigure the TIF district boundaries to exclude the apartments from the Roosevelt Road/Park Boulevard Redevelopment Plan.

The village's decision also stemmed from the burden that would fall on a potential developer to cover relocation costs for residents if they were displaced, an added requirement that could create difficulty attracting developers to the area, Franz said.

However, the village still could consider extending the borders of the TIF district to include the complexes in the future, he said.

As currently proposed, the district would include the north side of Roosevelt Road from Main Street to Park Boulevard, with the exclusion of the apartments, and the area bordered by Park Boulevard, Route 53, Roosevelt Road and Taft Avenue.

The firm Kane, McKenna and Associates, Inc., which prepared the village's TIF district redevelopment plan, identified several factors that qualify the area to be established as a TIF, including obsolescence and deterioration of current structures.

Village trustees are required to wait at least 14 days after the public hearing to vote on the TIF district.

"This is a competitive environment for development and there's serious development happening up and down Roosevelt Road and not in our community," Village President Alex Demos said.

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