O'Fallon Weekly March 28, 2018

VFW Post 805 raises $11,000 at annual 0.1K Race Page 21 Wednesday March 28, 2018 Vol. 3, No. 49 $1.00 Committees give Marching for Change: O’Fallon takes OK to demo plan part in March for Our Lives rally for Southview Plaza, budget By Martha Stoffel Weekly Reporter O'FALLON - The City Council's Community Development Commit- tee voted to send to council a resolution approving a redevelopment agreement for Southview Plaza. The owner of Southview Plaza has asked the city to enter into a TIF (tax increment financing) Redevel- opment Agreement for the purpose of demolishing Southview Plaza and performing the necessary environmental remediation to make the property viable to redevelop. At this time, no future development project has been proposed, al- though the city believes the demolition and environmental remediation will make the property much more attractive to potential developers. Previous talks with potential developers stalled because of the uncer- tainty regarding the environmental remediation. The developer has proposed maximum costs of $1,800,000 to demolish all structures throughout the site, provide all environmental cleanup and obtain a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter by the Illi- nois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and make the site suit- able for future redevelopment. The site includes the buildings currently housing Papa John’s and the Laundry Spa, as well as the building previously housing Ice Cream Haven. The building with Plaza Liquor and Ace Hardware will remain intact. Southview Plaza falls within the O’Fallon Central City TIF district, established in 2015. The Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act “allows a municipality to pledge all or a portion of incremental property tax revenues generated within a TIF Area to repayment of certain redevelopment project costs and/or bonds or notes issued to fund such costs, and provides that the portion of incremental property tax revenues not so pledged may be declared as surplus and distributed to all Taxing Districts.” The current equalized assessed value (EAV) of the property is $554,894. The property value has decreased over the years, the EAV in 2012 was $621,460. Per the agreement, the developer’s share of the incremental revenue generated by the real property to be paid to the developer is seventy-five percent up to $3.1 million of the EAV and fifty percent of revenues generated in excess of $3.1 million EAV during the benefit period, not to exceed the maximum reimbursable project costs of $1.8 million. The developer will not be eligible for any reimbursements until the receipt of a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter from the IEPA and the submission of completed documentation for redevelopment of the project area. The documentation for redevelopment must be satisfacto- ry to the city. The agreement also includes a timeline for performance See “Council Committees” on page 7 Students and community members took to the streets Saturday morning during a local March for Our Lives rally. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller) By Angela Simmons Weekly Reporter O’FALLON - Hundreds of people marched in the cold rainy weather Satur- day to protest gun violence. The March For Our Lives - O’Fallon group, formed by O’Fallon Township High School stu- dents, sponsored the march. The demon- stration was the only march on the Illinois side of the Metro East area, and protesters came from several surrounding towns to participate. Organizers went through the City of O’Fallon to get a permit for the march, request police presence, and solidify the route, which would take them through downtown residential streets. Protesters gathered in the parking lot across from O’Fallon City Hall, and began marching at 8:30 a.m. Patrick Murphy, one of the organizers, said they were hoping that rain wouldn’t keep participants from coming. When asked why they believed the rain was not a deterrent for the protest, Murphy said, “It’s such an important issue, and now is the time to push for change. Everyone across the nation is marching for change, and we want to march with everyone else. We’re all just pushing for action, for something to be done to end violence in schools.” Amy Jones came to the march with her whole family. “I think this is an important issue for our country and our town. I’m excited that there’s so many generations of people that are here participating in this, from elemen- tary school kids to senior citizens. I think that’s great. We have to make some changes to policy, to laws, and how we respond to school shootings,” Jones said. Jones’s daughter, Helen, is a fresh- man at the OTHS Milburn campus, and also partici- pated in the March 14 walkout protest. “It’s empowering to know that we as students can set this kind of thing up, and have all these people show up in support of us. It’s something that I found really important when I was communicating with the people who were setting this up, that everyone was here for different reasons, but that we are all here. That’s a very strong thing,” Helen said. As students and community members wound through the streets, they carried signs with messages like “Books not bullets,” “Kids are the future, not guns,” “Never Republican again,” “Thoughts and prayers don’t stop bullets,” and several more. Protesters chanted as they marched, including “Enough is enough,” “Protect kids, not guns,”and “Hey, hey, Ho, ho, the See “March for Our Lives” on page 7