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Plans for two new tax districts move forward

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Evanston city officials are moving ahead with plans to create new tax increment financing districts to spur development in two neighborhood shopping districts.

One new district would target the Evanston Plaza shopping center at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue.

The proposed area of the Dempster-Dodge TIF is shown in grey on this map prepared by the city.

The other would cover much of the neighborhood shopping district around the intersection of Main Street and Chicago Avenue.

The proposed area of the Chicago-Main TIF is shown in grey on this map prepared by the city.

The city's Economic Development Committee reviewed maps for the two proposed districts at a meeting Wednesday night.

Aside from a suggestion from Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, that the Dempster-Dodge TIF be expanded to stretch as far north as Lake Street, committee members raised no objections to the proposal.

The area Holmes wants to add to the new TIF is already part of the existing West Evanston TIF, and it would have to be split off from the existing TIF to be included in the proposed new one.

City staff presented a schedule for approval of the new tax increment financing districts that would seek approval from the other taxing bodies affected by May, with final City Council approval scheduled for July.

The Evanston Plaza shopping center has new owners who are hoping to find new tenants for its many vacant storefronts.

The city is also working with developers to bring a combination office-retail building to the now vacant lot on the southeast corner of Main and Chicago.

City officials believe the new TIF districts could help achieve redevelopment goals in both neighborhoods.

A TIF district lets the city capture any incremental growth in property tax revenue within the district's boundaries during the 23-year life of the district and use it to spur economic development in the area.

The approach requires other taxing bodies, like local schools, to forego increased revenue now, in hopes of receiving even more tax money down the road after the redevelopment projects are complete and the TIF district is dissolved.

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