A tax increment financing (TIF) district proposed for Riverside includes a wide swath of the village, including not only the downtown business district but park land south of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks and a residential area that includes all of West Avenue and the south side of Pine Avenue.
The proposed district also includes both sides of East Burlington Street from Longcommon Road to Cowley Road, a small section of East Quincy Street and virtually all of Swan Pond Park, a section of public land just east of the municipal complex on Riverside Road and land that includes the Riverside Swim Club.
The boundaries of the proposed TIF, which is still in the early stages of development, were mapped out by the village’s TIF consultant, Kane, McKenna Capital Inc., with input by village trustees and administrators.
Meanwhile, the public will get its first formal look at the TIF proposal in late June at a public meeting hosted by village officials. The date of that meeting has not yet been set.
Village Manager Kathleen Rush said that before that meeting, she will complete a TIF planning document that will include information on the amount of money expected to be generated by the TIF, a list of possible projects to be funded with TIF dollars and information on implementation of those projects.
Rush said she’ll be using the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plan adopted earlier this year as a guideline for developing the TIF plan. The TOD study envisions substantial redevelopment and private investment in Riverside’s downtown business district, including mixed-use retail/residential developments, a parking garage, a riverfront boutique hotel/conference center and a community/recreation center.
“It’s a solid plan that’s had a lot of public input,” Rush said. “It’s as good a guide as any to look toward the future and see what downtown Riverside could look like.
“The TIF and special service areas are the only way the village can have the ability to influence what the community is going to look like,” she said.
Members of the public will be able to give input at the June public meeting, Rush said.
After that public meeting , the TIF proposal will be examined by a Joint Review Board consisting of representatives from every taxing body within the TIF area as well as a resident of the proposed TIF district.
A TIF district can help local governments revitalize areas by freezing property assessments within the district for up to 23 years for every taxing body except the village. As property values rise due to redevelopment, the village can capture that new tax revenue and use it to fund further improvements within the TIF district.
The Joint Review Board is mandated by law, since both residents and taxing bodies may be affected by the creation of the TIF. While the TIF can help revitalize an area by creating a fund through which improvements to that area can be made, the TIF also freezes property assessments for all other taxing bodies.
If the village begins to acquire property for redevelopment within the TIF, some residents could face relocation.
While village officials have said that scenario is unlikely, since the proposed TIF area includes more than 75 residential units, a housing impact study will be required before proceeding.
According to Philip McKenna, president of Kane. McKenna Capital Inc., his firm has nearly completed the housing impact study, and its finding will be available prior to the June public meeting.
In September, if the plan passes the scrutiny of the Joint Review Board, the village board will conduct a special public hearing for the proposed TIF district.
At the September public hearing, anyone may file written objections or state their objections to the TIF district during the hearing. The TIF district, if approved by the village board, could be in place by the first week of October.