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2002-05-02
Antioch, IL. Wal-Mart Developer Wants Welfare Tax Rebate

A Wal-Mart developer has proposed building the largest retail complex in the history of the village of Antioch. Illlinois, with 15 buildings and over 400,000 s.f. of retail space. The anchor for the complex would be a 205,000 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter, which the builder has described as "residential in scope and nature." The small community of 9,000 people lies only minutes south of the Wisconsin border. Antioch has no less than 30 big box stores within 20 miles, including a Wal-Mart 6 miles away in Round Lake, 9 miles away in Gurnee, and 11 miles away in McHenry. The proposed project site is in Lake County along busy Route 173, which already has failing circulation, according to village officials. The open space land will have to be annexed and rezoned commercial. The developer, Great Lakes Property, from Wheaton, Illinois, is promoting the projecxt as a generator of sales and property tax. But they are also asking the community to underwrite the cost of road improvements, and bringing water and sewer to the site. Village taxpayers have been asked to forego $1 million worth of sales taxes (plus 7% interest) at the rate of 25% of the taxes generated per year. This amounts to $142,500 a year in lost sales taxes for at the first eight years of the development. Great Lakes Properties has also asked taxpayers to pay for $200,000 worth of road improvements and signalizing the busy intersection by the project. A group called Residents for Responsible Growth has formed, and an informational hearing held with Sprawl-Busters on April 29th. attracted more than 300 concerned residents. The Village had total retail sales of $202 million last year, of which 20% was from groceries. Local residents worry that the Wal-Mart complex will undercut efforts to strengthen downtown commercial activities, and lead to further erosion of business property values there. The developer says their plan will "capture the drain" of shoppers going to other Wal-Marts and Targets in the area, and create "very little expense" to the village. The RRG group counters that Wal-Mart will bring a significant expense for police, roads, water and sewer costs. The latter is a major issue, since the village already has very limited sewer capacity. Traffic also is clearly a stumbling block for the retailer, because the project fronts a two lane highway with bumper to bumper rush hour traffic now. State plans to widen Route 173 are "not even on their radar screen" according to one local village official. Residents have vowed to go to court, if necessary, to prevent the annexation of land for Wal-Mart. The village has also heard from a developer who wants to build a Menards home improvement store near the Wal-Mart project, and a third developer has proposed building a Home Depot. All this mass of retail would change forever this small community that the Mayor desicribes as "a place of quality and beauty."



What you can do: For further information about the Antioch battle, and Residents for Responsible Growth, email filbert40@aol.com, or contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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