By Michael Romain
WEDNESDAY, MAYWOOD — The meeting was, in fact, two separate meetings. A special meeting of the Board was held to discuss a letter of intent with InSite Real Estate Investment Properties, LLC “for purchase and development of Village properties at 1st Avenue and Lake Street.” Read here if you need background information.
Public comments regarding the purchase were pointed, with all residents who spoke in full support of the InSite proposal. Mike Rihani, the proprietor of Lakeview Motors, Inc. (310 Lake Street) said the vacant corner of 1st and Lake is a gateway to Maywood. “What a shame to see that property sit like this for the last few years. “I have seen other developers in the past [that] never worked out […] The Village is struggling, because we have no business! And we need you to put aside […] special interests […]”
Rihani’s comments came in the wake of a gathering suspicion that several trustees were going to vote against the InSite proposal in favor of another proposal submitted by a competing developer, Granite Realty.
After public comments, Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross noted that she had issues concerning the letter of intent. Attorney Michael Jurusik said that if any trustees has issues with the letter of intent, proper procedure would require them to either discuss those “in executive session or before the public.” The trustees voted to discuss the matter in executive session before going into a room in the back, leaving the crowd of citizens and guests to mingle among themselves in the chambers for about an hour.
After reappearing, the Board motioned to vote on the matter. This is how the motion appears in that night’s agenda:
Motion: to approve a Letter of Intent between the Village of Maywood and InSite Real Estate Investment Properties, LLC in regard to the negotiation of a redevelopment agreement for the sale and redevelopment of real property commonly known as the northwest corner of 1st Avenue and Lake Street (PINS 15-11-131-011-0000 through 15-11-131-018-0000, inclusive; common address 210-212 North 1st Avenue and 101-115 Lake Street, Maywood, Illinois.
Before the vote, Trustee Toni Dorris said that she would “want the record to reflect that there were two developers on the table” and that the Hinsdale Bank had stated that it was willing to work with either developer.
According to Dorris, Granite Realty offered the Village somewhere north of $700,000 to buy both corners of 1st Avenue and Lake. According to sources, Granite’s proposal was presented to the Board earlier in the year and entailed developing the entire corner of 1st and Lake, not just the northwest corner. The Granite proposal would include the Maywood Home for Soldiers’ Widows, one of the most historically significant buildings in the Village, in its redevelopment scheme. Some residents fear that the trustees who are against the InSite proposal want to tear down the Widows home.
The trustees who are for the Granite proposal cited Granite’s larger offer (unconfirmed figures offered by various Village officials have varied, but it may be safe to say that Granite is offering somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000 for the whole corner, several hundred thousand more than InSite’s $450,000 for only the northwest portion).
They also cited the fact that Granite would develop the entire corner, whereas InSite has only proposed to develop the northwest portion. “I think developing three pieces of land at one time is in the best interest of the Village […] We’d get better bang for our buck” said Trustee Ron Rivers.
When the clerk called the roll, the trustees voted on the InSite proposal as follows: Trustee Chery Ealey-Cross (Aye); Trustee Audrey Jaycox (No); Trustee Toni Dorris (No); Mayor Edwenna Perkins (Aye); Trustee Michael Rogers (Aye); Trustee Melvin Lightford (Aye); Trustee Ron Rivers (No). The motion passed by a 4-3 vote.
Attorney Michael Jurusik then informed the audience that the next step in the process of building the bank and retail outlet would be negotiate a redevelopment agreement, which will contain the vacation of a public alley that cuts across the property. “In order for that redevelopment to be effective, that alley should be vacated and it requires a supermajority vote of 5 of 6 trustees […] That’s the only way the matter will go forward.” If two of the trustees who voted against the letter of intent don’t vote for the alley to be vacated, the likelihood that the center gets built is slim.
There will be more comprehensive coverage of this issue as it develops.
After a moment of silence to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, the actual LLOC meeting commenced. Stan Huntington, the director of the Maywood Library District, was called to present on the library’s condition. “At this point, we are on the home stretch,” he said. According to Huntington, the library has just approached $8M of loan payments to Seaway Bank and owe roughly $600,000 more on its payment.
“I’m asking Mr. Barlow to propose to swap the $150,000 that Rep. Welch has awarded the library for a loan of monies the library will realize with the expiration of the St. Charles Road TIF in 2016. This will be a loan against that future money, at which point the Village will take off the top the $150,000 the library is set to realize. We have every confidence that we’ll be successful in carrying the library forward, but at a 37 percent loss of tax base, it will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge for you folks as well,” said Huntington.
Barlow stated that there would be no action item on this matter at the moment. Discussions would continue into the next LLOC meeting.
There will be more comprehensive coverage of this issue in the future. For more background info, read this article.
“The Board will be discussing the possible deployment of advertising bus shelters along PACE bus routes in the community,” according to the night’s agenda. Village Manager Bill Barlow stated that Maywood would receive 32.5 percent of gross revenues from the advertising.
Trustee Dorris wanted to know whether the bus stops will be designed in such a way as to reflect the town’s historical uniqueness. Barlow said that this could be done, but that it would cost the Village more money to do. The shelters will be constructed by Pace at no cost to the Village.
Trustee Dorris also wanted to know whether local businesses would be able to purchase advertisements on the shelters. Mr. Barlow said that the Village would have no control over which companies purchase ads, but that local companies would likely be able to approach Pace with offers.
Trustee Rivers wanted to know about the frequency of maintenance for the shelters. Barlow noted that Pace does have a schedule of maintenance hours (once a week). Mr. Barlow said that based on his experience with the shelters in Rolling Meadows, Pace seems to do a good job emptying trash containers regularly. However, he understood that the experience in Maywood may be different.
Trustee Michael Rogers wanted to know whether there would be restrictions on the type of advertising allowed on the shelters. “We have to work on our image, so I think it’s important that signage not be certain things, like alcohol, cigarettes” and political advertisement. “I’m a little afraid that some of the signs in our community will be what isn’t in other communities,” he said. Mr. Barlow said that Pace does honor community restrictions on advertising and that they are a common practice.
Trustee Rivers asked whether Pace or the Maywood Police will be responsible for securing the shelters. Mr. Barlow responded that the MPD will be responsible. “Have you spoken to our police chief?” said Rivers.
“We wanted to get the Board’s perspective before we had conversations about that […] We still have to get Pace to tell us whether or not the shelters work at the locations we’re talking about,” said Barlow.
A motion was made to continue dialogue with Pace, have them continue asssessing sites and discuss the matter further at a future LLOC meeting.
Roll: All Ayes.
Single Audit Letter of Engagement
According to the agenda, “The Board is being asked to approve a letter of engagement with the auditing firm of Baker & Tilly to conduct an audit of federal funds received in FY 2011.”
Barlow said that the estimated cost of the audit is $18,252.
Trustee Ealey-Cross wanted to know whether the Village was looking at other auditing firms to conduct the audits. Mr. Barlow said that it makes sense from a cost standpoint, since Baker & Tilly have built up a familiarity with the Village’s financial condition.
“I’ve reviewed minutes from the last twelve months and we’ve continuously requested past audits for some time […] Baker & Tilly haven’t completed these audits [in a timely manner]. When you say in the fall of ’12 and we don’t get an audit until two months ago, we should either renegotiate prices or get someone else to do this,” said Trustee Ealey-Cross.
Roll: Cross (No); All else (Aye). VFP
If you have any questions, concerns or opinions on any of the items in this week’s LLOC recap, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.