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2007 News Archive

09/27/2007 | Redevelopment Plans Underway for Blighted Area

During a September 5 meeting, the Pleasant Prairie Community Development Authority (CDA) officially adopted a resolution declaring a property located at the corner of 91st Street and 22nd Avenue to be blighted. The CDA prepared a Blight Determination Study, which included findings from Phase I and II, Environmental Assessments performed by Drake Environmental, Inc. The findings showed tetrachloroethene to be contaminating both the soil and the groundwater at the property.

Tetrachloroethene is a chemical solvent commonly used in dry cleaning. In addition to the results of the environmental study, other factors leading to the determination of blight were: substandard and deteriorating structure, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and a combination of similar factors. The building was formerly a 5-unit strip mall but is currently vacant. The property has been negatively affected by fire damage, water damage, mold growth in the walls and ceiling tile, vandalism, dumping, exposure to the elements and general deterioration. The building, in its current state, has a negative impact on public health and the soundness of the community (see PDF below).

A Developer has proposed plans to remove the contaminated soil, install improvements on the property, and construct 28 condominium units. The Developer approached the Village to request that a developer funded Tax Increment District (TID) be developed to aid in cleanup of the site. Through the TID, the Developer would be solely responsible for financing the project and could repay the portion of his loan related to removing the contaminants with tax collected from the property until the debt was satisfied. The Village would bear no financial responsibility for the cleanup and redevelopment at the site. Without the creation of the Tax Increment District, the site would remain in its current state of contamination and disrepair.

The proposed cost for clean up at the site is $715,365. This proposed cost includes funds for four major restoration areas: environmental investigation, cleanup, monitoring and closure; demolition of the existing structures; installation of site specific structure, such as gas, water, sanitation, electrical and paving to control the migration of the contaminants; and administrative costs and payment of delinquent special assessments.

During an August 27 meeting, the Plan Commission adopted a resolution to designate boundaries for TID #4 and approved a draft of a project plan. During a subsequent public hearing held regarding TID #4 on September 10, the Commission put steps in place to advance the cleanup and redevelopment plans. Matters related to the project will now move on to the Village Board for their consideration. If the Village Board approves the items, more detailed planning for cleanup and redevelopment will take place.

It is currently proposed that four seven-unit condominiums will be built at the site on approximately 3.2 acres of land, with approximately 53% of the land, or 1.69 acres, remaining as open space. The open space will include two dry stormwater management basins on the northern corners and areas for tree preservation along the southern property boundaries. The Developer anticipates beginning cleanup at the site within the next several months and hopes to have the site ready for construction of the condominiums to begin by May of 2008. It is anticipated that each building will take approximately six months to complete with construction on the final building beginning during the fall of 2009.

Residents who attended the September 10 meeting of the Plan Commission raised concerns during the public hearing regarding the project. During the hearing, residentsí questions were answered by Village Staff and a representative from Drake Environmental. Staff also explained that if the project does not proceed it is not likely that another party would be willing to tackle the contamination issues at the site, and it would likely remain as it has for the past several years, in its contaminated state.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, residents joined Village staff and the representative from Drake Environmental in a separate area to receive additional information and to further discuss their concerns. Information discussed during the meeting was shared with each of the residents who remained. During a subsequent meeting of the Village Board, a member of the Board addressed residents directly affected by the site to ask if they were satisfied with the plans to cleanup the site. Residents present responded affirmatively in support of the cleanup.

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