North York Street Improvements Debated

ELMHURST, IL — Elmhurst plans to improve streets and sidewalks on North York Street next year. But a northside alderman disagreed with how the city planned to play for the projects.

Under next year’s budget, the city plans to spend $515,000 to improve Addison Avenue from Diversey to Wrightwood avenues and York Street in the same area. Another $164,000 is set to be spent on a sidewalk improvement project on North York.

The projects are a part of the North York Tax Increment Financing District, which is north of the expressway.

At a City Council budget meeting on Monday, Alderman Michael Bram, who represents the northeast Ward 3, questioned whether the city should spend the $515,000 from the North York TIF account. He suggested it come from the city’s capital improvements account, saying the TIF is too young to be spending money on streets. He said he had no issue with the sidewalk money coming from the district.

“If we do redo these streets and there are many potential developments along this stretch, we’re going to be tearing up brand-new streets,” Bram said.

However, City Manager Jim Grabowski said the city had no money in the capital improvements account to cover the $515,000. To make the spending possible, he said, the city would have to cut other expenditures.

Ward 5 Alderman Scott Levin said the street improvements were needed now to “make the area more attractive to people who might come there.”

The council voted 12-1 against Bram’s proposal to spend the money from an account other than the one for North York.

Under Illinois law, the growth in property tax revenue in a TIF district is earmarked for development in that district. The money is kept separately from other accounts.

At a council meeting last December, the council voted 10-2 to allow money for Addison to come from the North York district. Bram and Alderman Bob Dunn, who represents the northwest Ward 2, dissented.

At the time, Dunn said the North York TIF was created to “kickstart the corridor.” But he said “putting concrete on Addison” is not within the objectives of that fund. Besides, he said, Addison is considered secondary to York.

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