Dear Mrs. Hesse,
I see that Mr. Bragg sent you a response, so I won’t repeat what he said, but rather, I’ll only comment on my own personal opinions on some points you raised.
I respectfully disagree with your opinion that “A primary MUNICIPAL FUNCTION is to provide for PARKS and RECREATION – just like streets, utilities, water, sewer lines, fire, police, and emergency medical services.” In my opinion, that is the role of the Park District, not the Village. However, in this instance, I believe that the golf course on Lake-Cook Road was built before the Park District was formed. That being said, we have since built a second golf course; and, the region has many golf courses – arguably too many, which is why it is difficult for them to be profitable. I also feel that putting a golf course, parks and office buildings (that don’t generate sales tax) along the busiest road in our town was poor planning. Had this town’s leaders back then gotten it right the first time, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
As for the car dealerships and other properties… The problem is that those properties are privately owned. Mr. Rohrman has had numerous offers on his properties and has refused to sell them. I would love to see those properties turned into something; however, the Village does not own them, therefore, we cannot make that happen. As for Plaza Verde and other strip centers, I hope their owners decide to update their properties and make them more appealing to retailers. However, the Village doesn’t control that either. That being said, even if all of the strip centers filled, it doesn’t solve our revenue problem. A modern downtown will not only bring in property tax that was never collected (as Mr. Bragg said, that land is currently tax exempt); but, it will also bring in a significant amount of sales tax revenue.
Contrary to your concern about increased crime associated with people and malls, as I have told you previously, I am of the opinion that a modern downtown will be a significant quality of life improvement for our Village and its residents. With the exception of our beautiful parks and the special events that the Park District hosts in the warm weather months, our community lacks a natural gathering place where people can shop, dine, walk around and enjoy each other’s company. A new downtown will provide outdoor dining, concerts in the park, and other amenities that we currently lack in all of our retail districts.
It takes revenue to make a town run. Unless the taxpayers in Buffalo Grove want higher property taxes (of which I have not heard of one person in favor of that), we must find ways to increase revenue; that is a fact. Aside from the revenue issue, I am of the opinion that a downtown Buffalo Grove will not only make our community better and more desirable for people to move here; it will bring in revenue from people who don’t live here (people who come here to shop), and it will increase property values, especially in the neighborhood in which you and I both live.
As always, thank you for sharing your comments and concerns. I hope that as facts pertaining to flood mitigation and the overall build-ability of the land come in, and this project hopefully progresses, you will see the benefits of it.