Thursday, September 21, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: The Maywood Park District-owned building at 809 W. Madison St. in Maywood.
During a Sept. 19 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously approved a request from the Maywood Park District for $285,000 in TIF funds to help pay for the rehabilitation of the district’s 809 W. Madison St. building and the area surrounding it.
Park district officials said that the funding all but ensures that the district will have enough cash to remodel and open the 15,000 square-foot building, which has been empty for more than 15 years, by sometime next year. So far, officials project that the building renovations will be complete by July 2018.
The rehabilitation of the parking lot and grounds surrounding the 809 Madison building started earlier this year and is nearly complete. A ribbon-cutting marking the rehabbed grounds will take place on Oct. 21.
The newly paved parking lot on the grounds of the 809 Madison Building. | Michael Romain/VFP
“With all of the funding we already have got, we know that [with the additional $285,000], we’re more than 100 percent funded for projected dollars,” said Terrance Jones, a park district commissioner.
The $285,000, which will come from the Madison Street/Fifth Ave. TIF, will go to pay for the purchase of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in the 809 Madison building, and for parking lot improvements. The mechanical and electrical systems are projected to cost $80,000 each, while the plumbing system and parking lot improvements are estimated at $80,000 and $35,000 each, respectively.
Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. said that the village will pay the invoices related to construction directly, instead of forwarding the money to the park district.
According to Maywood’s attorney, Michael Jurusik, the $285,000 allocation is an approved redevelopment activity, according to the 1997 plan that governs the Madison Street/Fifth Ave. TIF.
“The Plan states that ‘the Village may encourage the rehabilitation of buildings that are basically sound or historically significant,” according to a Sept. 13 memo drafted by Jurusik.
According to park district officials, the renovation of the 809 Madison building will cost approximately $1.8 million. The majority of that money will come from a reimbursable $1.6 million state grant, which requires the village to provide 20 percent of matching funds, according to the park district’s new executive director, Lonette Hall. The TIF funds will cover a substantial portion of the park district’s matching share.
In a cover letter accompanying the district’s TIF application, Hall wrote that the 809 Madison building “is located in the center of town and would be an excellent resource for all Maywoodians.”
A newly installed flower bed on the grounds of the 809 Madison building. | Michael Romain/VFP
“Having this building renovated would also make the corners of 9th Avenue and Madison the ‘Park District Corridor’ for everyone in the community,” Hall wrote, adding that the building would be open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
“We are currently seeking letters of intent for the upcoming 2018 opening from Loyola Medical Center, WSAR-8 and Benedictine University, just to name a few,” Hall explained.
The new recreation center at the 809 Madison building will feature multipurpose rooms, conference rooms, a room designated for sewing and quilt-making, a music studio and fitness rooms, according to the TIF application.
The exterior redesign project that’s currently nearing completion cost approximately $500,000, with half of the money coming a state grant that required matching funds.
The district secured a loan from Hinsdale Bank in order to match the grant amount, said the park district’s former executive director, and current grant project coordinator, Toni Dorris, in an interview in June. As a condition of securing the loan, the district embarked on a period of austerity, which included enacting significant budget cuts.
A t-ball field under construction on the grounds of the 809 Madison building. | Michael Romain/VFP
The exterior redesign includes the resurfacing of the parking lot, the renovation of the outdoor garden, the installation of a flower bed island in the lot, brand new fencing, a new outdoor basketball court that could be converted into additional parking during the winter months, and a t-ball and soccer field designed for smaller children, among other improvements.
After the village board voted to approve the $285,000 in TIF funding, many park district officials in the audience audibly rejoiced.
“Thank you!” shouted Dorris. Bill Hampton, a park district commissioner, blew board members kisses.
“The purpose of the TIF is to help provide things that will improve the quality of life, so this is a great use of the TIF,” said Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon. “This is how we work together to open the 809 building.”
“I’d like to thank the park district board for their due diligence,” said Trustee Antonio Sanchez. “I’m exciting for something that is an asset to this community. We need outlets for our children.”
The exterior redesign of the 809 Madison building is scheduled for completion in late October. | Michael Romain/VFP
“I would like to commend the Maywood Park District for their diligence and their direct approach to opening that building for our children,” said Trustee Ron Rivers. “We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with this board.”
“We were diligent in dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s when it came to both projects,” said Jones during an interview on Sept. 21. “We pushed our staff a lot and they stepped up to the challenge. Even though there were some dark days, we were still positive. As doubts creeped in, we stayed the course because we knew what we were doing was right.” VFP
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