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Budget panel gets exempt property list

tax-exempt-960

The mayor’s budget task force Thursday got a list of the nearly 1,000 tax exempt land parcels in Evanston and puzzled over what might be done about them.

The list contains few surprises. Major owners of exempt property include:

The mayor’s budget task force Thursday got a list of the nearly 1,000 tax exempt land parcels in Evanston and puzzled over what might be done about them.

The list contains few surprises. Major owners of exempt property include:

  • Northwestern University
  • School Districts 65 and 202 and several private schools.
  • NorthShore University Health Care and St. Francis Hospital.
  • An array of churches and other religious groups, with the largest church-owned parcel being Calvary Cemetery.
  • The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
  • The Chicago Transit Authority.
  • The Union Pacific Railroad.
  • A variety of low-income housing providers including the Cook County Housing Authority, Housing Options Inc., Housing Opportunities for the Disabled and the Over the Rainbow Association.
  • Retirement communities including the Mather Foundation, Presbyterian Home and Three Crowns.

Tax exempt properties map. Click here for larger version of map.

Committee members mentioned various possibilities for making now tax-exempt land more productive, ranging from more carefully monitoring the list for properties that may not be properly classified as tax exempt to building residential or commercial buildings atop certain city parking lots.

One member, former 7th Ward alderman Steve Engleman, said the committee might even look at recommending that the city sell off some tot-lots in neighborhoods that seem to have more than enough.

Conceding that such a move would likely be hotly opposed by residents near such parks, Engleman noted that the committee — in the interest of dealing with the city’s budget crisis — could provide political cover for aldermen in advancing such a plan. “We can be as crazy as we want to be,” he said.

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