By: Diane Benjamin
From time to time a reader has left a comment about the deal Nick Africano had with the Town of Normal pertaining to the old Soldiers and Sailors property. I decided to investigate.
Here’s what I know:
At the September 18, 2017 meeting this check for $483,900 was issued after the old Administration building was demolished. Another $19,249 was taken out of the TIF. Since this property and Terri Ryburn’s Pine Street gas station are the only properties in the TIF I’m guessing demolition refers to this. More on the TIF below.
PDF page 10:
This is the documentation from the original deal: September 15, 2016
Africano owned 2 buildings on the property, both in poor condition. Africano has either redeveloped or sold 9 other buildings on the property. He didn’t have the money to demolish or rehab either building.
Town of Normal to the rescue:
Basically, Normal agreed to reimbursed him for demolition of the Administration building so he could restore the Infirmary Building.
The agreement was for $500,000. It cost Africano slightly more than that to tear it down.
Work had to begin within 6 months, it didn’t so the deadline was extended: May 1, 2017
The Administration Building was finally demolished, hence the above check. So, for around a half a million bucks the Normal taxpayers got a building torn down and a little bit of land now designated as a park. Africano still owns the rest of the land. See the final plat: October 16, 2017
This is what the park looks like:
The Infirmary Building is still decaying, this is what it looks like up close:
Because of the way Normal wrote the contract with Africano, the Town has no recourse but to sue him. Negotiating hasn’t worked.
Another problem is the sidewalk. It is the perfect location to collect leaves:
This is last year’s TIF report. It shows a deficit of ($3,714,530). One Normal Place
See PDF page 10. It still shows Ryburn’s investment in the property instead of revised numbers after the Town of Normal bought her out. The return on investment from this TIF has been dismal. According to the County records, Normal paid $257,516 for the property and $4,047.58 in property taxes last year. Only $199.20 went to the TIF.
Even though the check above was written in 2017, it isn’t reported as money spent on PDF page 10.
Much more information is included in the links above. Read them for some really good spin.
Add this to the list of incompetence by the “professional staff”.