By: Diane Benjamin
WGLT reported yesterday Trail East construction has been delayed until spring: https://www.wglt.org/mayor-financing-issues-delay-construction-trail-east-until-spring-2020
Note: The last time a new building in Uptown had “financing” issues, the Town agreed to rent an entire floor at above market rates and the main floor is STILL empty.
Demolition of the old buildings on Beaufort may start this winter, according to the article. Of course, that means the mural.
Bush Construction is in charge of the project. Quote from the article:
Obviously most of Uptown wouldn’t exist without tax dollars. The Uptown TIF report filed with the Comptrollers office for last year is still not available.
This building is even more problematic since the main tenants won’t be new businesses moving to town, they are just relocating from Bloomington: Afni and Farnsworth Group.
Koos thinks TIf’s are the key to economic development. A group in Chicago has done extensive research on TIF’s there. This is a quote from an email:
Tom Presser calls them racist in Chicago because TIF funds are being used to relocate minorities from areas mayors have wanted to redevelop. The items highlighted above do apply to Normal. They do shift tax dollars to already wealthy developers who could build without it but won’t.
In other words, TIF’s usurp capitalism. If a project is worth the cost it would be built without incentives. Instead, government thinks they need to pay for economic development. If Uptown was “the place to be”, taxpayer investment wouldn’t be necessary.
The citizens of Normal did get a building at 1 Uptown Circle. They also got a ridiculous lease and an empty first floor.
A comment on-line to the WGLT story asked if the old buildings will be demolished while Trail East never materializes,
Good question, but it won’t get answered until it’s too late.
I think a list of local businesses closing needs to be started. Here are two this week:
AlphaGraphics – 713 E Empire (been in business for 15 years)
The Donut Experiment
Know of others?