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Channahon discusses further steps for proposed riverfront park

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:48 p.m. CDT

CHANNAHON – The Channahon Village Board discussed Tuesday design services for the proposed Channahon Riverfront Park project, an initiative that has been talked about by officials in recent years.

The board heard a presentation from Schoppe Design Associates, a landscape architectural design firm in Oswego. Village President Joe Cook asked the firm to give the board information on professional design services it can offer for the proposed riverfront park.

The board is eyeing about 60 acres between Front and Bridge streets for the recreational walk that would feature the village’s natural beauty and historical landmarks.

Trustee Debbie Militello asked if proposals from other firms had been entertained, and Cook said Schoppe is an expert on riverwalks, having designed the ones in Aurora and Yorkville. The firm also has been successful in obtaining grants for riverwalk projects in the past.

Trustees asked for more time to consider the proposal. Should they decide in favor in the future, Schoppe would prepare a park master plan that would identify recreational uses, possible land acquisition and trail and roadway corridors. The firm also would inventory physical information as topography, vegetation, soils, floodplain and wetland data, as well as visit the site to become acquainted with patterns of use, physical conditions, unique features and roadways.

In other business, the board approved a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement with Channahon School District 17, Minooka Community School District 111 and Troy Community Consolidated School District 30C. The TIF is designed to encourage development of the area around the Route 6 and Interstate 55 interchange.

A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen at their current level. Tax money generated from the difference between the frozen value and new value of those properties goes into a special TIF fund to be used to improve properties in the district.

The agreement outlines when TIF funds will be declared surplus and the percentage amounts that will be returned to the school districts and other taxing bodies. In the first five years, no TIF dollars will be declared surplus and returned to the schools.

In years six through 10, 5 percent of increases in property taxes for the TIF area will be returned to the taxing bodies; in years 11 to 15, 12.5 percent will be returned; in years 16 to 20, 22.5 percent will be returned; and in years 21 to 23, 30 percent of the TIF tax dollars will be declared surplus and returned to the taxing bodies.

Director of Community Development Mike McMahon said the negotiating process has been going on for about a year. A public hearing on the TIF itself is scheduled for July 7.

Trustees also accepted the resignation of McMahon, who has served in the position for eight years. After the meeting, McMahon said his last day will be July 4.

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