Approval could come in the next few weeks for another tax-increment financing (TIF) district in west-central Evanston. This proposed TIF is located primarily in the City’s Fifth Ward and is called the Five-Fifths TIF; it lies just north of current West Evanston TIF.

The redevelopment project area is generally located along the east and west sides of Green Bay Road between Clark Street to the south and Payne Street and Leonard Place to the north.

Parcels in the proposed Five-Fifths tax-increment financing district are outlined in red. The top right portion contains the present Civic Center property; the green OS is the open space that is Ingraham Park. The northwest-slanting line is Green Bay Road; the green OS in the area west of there is Foster Field, between Family Focus and Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. (Map from City of Evanston materials)

City officials included the Civic Center property in the proposed TIF area, with an eye to selling the property and relocating most or all City services to the downtown area.

In addition to the adaptive re-use or redevelopment of the Civic Center, potential projects include constructing affordable housing; implementing job-training programs; and improving the business districts, Metra bridges, parks, community centers, utilities, and infrastructure.

The City has said public involvement will be “critical throughout the whole process.”

Kane, McKenna and Associates, the City’s TIF consultant, studied the redevelopment project area and concluded a TIF district there would be appropriate.

Within the Redevelopment Project Area there are 284 tax parcels and about 226 structures, excluding detached garages, of which 87% are more than 35 years old. The equalized assessed value of the redevelopment project area lagged behind the rest of the City in three of the last five tax years.

The Kane, McKenna study noted inadequate utilities and deterioration of structures and found “conditions that impact redevelopment [such as] lack of community planning [and] the presence of numerous dead-end streets and alleyways, irregular lot configurations and sizes, inefficient ingress/egress at certain locations, incompatible land uses, and land coverages in excess of contemporary zoning standards.”

These factors limit opportunities for private re-investment and could limit employment and suppress the opportunity for future development, the study found.

In other words, the Kane McKenna study concluded, the area is ripe for redevelopment and a TIF district is a suitable vehicle.

Because the tax increment – the difference between the property tax revenue on the property as it goes into the TIF and as it is improved – remains in a TIF during its typical 23-year life, a Joint Review Board composed of representatives of all the taxing district affected by the TIF must approve it.  

A meeting of the Joint Review Board is scheduled for 10 a.m. on June 3, and a public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on July 12.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...