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Niles Business Areas Need Upgrades To Compete

We're disappointed the village board rejected the Business District; we implore the village to work with business to find other ways to fund redevelopment efforts. Many business areas look dated.

 

The following Letter to the Editor expresses the views of the authors; Patch merely provides a forum for opinions.

Over the past several months, the Village of Niles has composed its Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan creating a vision for Niles in the next 20 years. The plan itself seems to encompass the entire community and provide for redevelopment among many of our business corridors. But to enact a vision of this magnitude we need to start today.

The Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry had supported the Golf Mill Shopping Center Business District proposal as we felt it was a positive step towards redevelopment for our largest and most commercial corridor. We were disappointed to see it rejected by village trustees.

Earlier:

Niles is a shopping destination town and we should continue to capitalize on visitors and tourists spending their money here.  Many of our business corridors look dated and need obvious improvements and upgrades. All of our retail areas are a reflection of our town, and currently many of them need a new look. 

We should work towards creating a new image for Niles. With a Business District designation, the Village of Niles could have actively pushed for the mall to make necessary changes. Looking at other redevelopment in surrounding areas it seems that we are falling behind other towns.

If we want to maintain our “Best Place to Raise Kids” status and keep welcoming young families to Niles, then we need to start discussing how to implement plans for signage, landscaping, efficient traffic patterns, and attracting more appealing shopping, restaurants and entertainment. 

How are we going to enact the vision of the Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan, particularly for the business corridors? Are businesses going to pay for it? Shouldn’t the Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan be a collective effort with businesses and the village?

The current construction and improvements set for Milwaukee Avenue from Harts to Monroe are very positive steps in the right direction, but it is only scratching the surface. We need to create or maybe recreate (depending on our perspective) an image for Niles that focuses on our retail centers, destination points and our busiest thoroughfare, Milwaukee Avenue.

We can respect the decision of the trustees to reject the Golf Mill Shopping Center Business District; however, it still leaves unresolved issues with the mall. We implore the village to continue to discuss and find other ways to fund redevelopment projects such as this for our business community.

By:

  • Iwona J. Filipiak, President, Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry 
  • Katie Schneider, Executive Director, Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry                                                                                                         
Harry Gio May 23, 2012 at 01:08 PM
The Village Trustees need to be relieved of their duty, because they blatantly DON'T understand that renovation is GOOD FOR EVERYONE... If we want to maintain our “Best Place to Raise Kids” status and keep welcoming young families to Niles, then the Village of Niles needs to start discussing how to implement plans for signage, landscaping, efficient traffic patterns, and attracting more appealing shopping, restaurants and entertainment... This is clearly WHY people are steering their families to areas like The Glen Towne Center in Glenview... Golf Mill has INCREDIBLE potential for doubling its growth (including sales tax revenues), but the "ROMPER ROOM" group of Village Trustees need to APPROVE improvement requests, NOT reject them... Golf Mill has become rather GHETTO since it went down, and continues to go down... They should think of allowing the subdivision of the outlots to a developer that is willing to build "Affordable" RETAIL business spaces, thus lowering the property taxes for the declining mall, and to increase sales taxes within the Village. The Glen Towne Center in Glenview is a PERFECT example ~ and so is the newly renovated RANDHURST SHOPPING CENTER in Mount Prospect... Times are changing, and as history has shown us: MOVE FORWARD WITH THE TIMES, OR LOSE EVERYTHING... For example: McDonald's has been tearing down & rebuilding their restaurants TO MOVE FORWARD, offering a better look, FREE internet via Wifi, more food choices, etc.
Sylvia Mallon May 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I agree with the above comment. I've been living in Niles on and off for 15 years and I used to always go to Golf Mill for all my needs, but lately it's just been going down hill. I have no desire to go there. I'd rather drive elsewhere... They really need to do something because more and more young families (like mine) are moving in to Niles and we need a reason to stay!
Sylvia Mallon May 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Oh and hey while we're at it... we need to do something about the people who turn in to Jerry's Fruit Market from Oakton heading West. I use that turning lane to turn left to get to my house (when heading East) and I always fear for my life because some person is always trying to use that turning lane the wrong way to turn into Jerry's. I am surprised there are not more accidents there. Why are people so lazy that they can't just turn on to Milwaukee and go in from there. Ugh!
Pat Tackett May 23, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I find it sad that the Chamber of Commerce as well as some commentators miss the point. No one disagrees that Golf Mill is outdated and on a downward trend and has been for years and we would all like to see this trend reversed. But the Village Board did the right thing. It struck down a proposal that Golf Mill be allowed to impose a 0.25% sales tax on those who shop at Golf Mill to make improvements that a business owner or homeowner makes as part of keeping up their property - like roof replacements and landscaping. Now if the owners of Golf Mill had come in with a redevelopment plan along the lines of the one Mt. Prospect approved for Randhurst, it may have been a different story. The owners or management of Randhurst came up with the lion's share of the funding through selling of stocks etc and only came to the Village for a scant percentage of investment. Golf Mill wanted the taxpayers to put up almost and equal share to the owners and no true redevelopment. In addition, it would have made shopping there the highest sales tax in the country when added to the new 0.25% sales tax already approved and going in effect this summer for stormwater control - of which all businesses including Golf Mill will benefit.
Pat Tackett May 23, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Also regarding the Chamber of Commerce claim that Niles is a shopping destination that should capitalize on visitors and tourists - SERIOUSLY???? If this had gone through, it would have resulted in the highest sales tax in the COUNTRY in a time when people are counting pennies. And why would people come to visit - they will be flocking to the new Outlet Mall in Rosemont to "visit" And I am not really sure why the Chamber would think we have tourists? Heck when I get out-of-town company, I have them stay in hotels in Glenview since Niles does not have one major chain hotel in its borders. The Village and Chamber would serve us better if they found ways to bring businesses into Niles that will draw in shopper and tourists from other areas rather than shoppers from the population within the Village rather than obsessing about buying Golf Mill roofing material and landscaping
Pat Tackett May 23, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Harry: While I agree with most of your comments, you are unfairly (and rudely) blaming the Trustees. I sat through every meeting. The Trustees appeared to have researched information and visited Golf Mill behind the scenes and came to a decision, and in IMHO the correct decision, that Golf Mill was not redeveloping anything. They were asking the taxpayer to fund repairs that should have been done as owners of private property. But as I said, I totally agree with your statements about Niles being left in the dust by others: Randhurst Town Center, The Glen Towne Center, the upcoming upscale outlet mall in Rosemont, local fairs and fests hosted by other villages and towns near and far. Even Morton Grove and Skokie are moving forward at a fast pace in economic development. Have you passed by Morton Grove's Culvers. That place is SRO since it opened. . .while Niles has opened more cell phone stores, auto parts, title loans, dollar stores. . .we are slowly sinking to be a not-so-great place to raise a family!
HARRY ACHINO May 24, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I WAS AT THE LAST BOARD MEETING AND IT WAS COMICAL. GOLF MILL SHOULD HAVE GOT THE TAX INCREASE. IF YOU DON'T WAN'T TO PAY 25 CENTS ON ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, I WILL LOAN YOU A QUARTER. THIS IS A VOLUNTARY TAX, AS WAS VIDEO GAMING. WHEN THE VILLAGE IS HAVING PROBLEMS FUNDING PENSIONS, THEY ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO TURN DOWN REVENUE OR JEPORDIZE 2 MILLION ( GOLF MILL) IN TAX REVENUE.
Pat Tackett May 24, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I am not sure where you are getting your information. The tax was not voluntary. It would have been imposed on any purchase at Golf Mill with the exception of groceries (only because State law controls that). And while you or I may not worry about 25 cents, the folks on limited income, due to age or economic status, may feel differently and perhaps they cannot drive to other locations to shop. As the VP representing Kohl's stated, why would people come to Kohls for childrens clothes when they can spend less across the street at Toys/Kids R Us. He also stated today's shoppers are very savvy and come into stores using smartphones to price check for better pricing elsewhere. So eventually, the only folks who would shop there may be those who cannot get somewhere else. That would truly jeopardize the $2M in revenue! Walmart contributes twice as much to the Village coffers. Should we increase the sales tax there too so we can give Walmart a boon? Or maybe just increase it Village wide? And if the "voluntary" tax on video gaming was to shore up pensions that the Village is having problems funding, why did the Village have to levy an additional 1/4 percent tax going into effect this July on ALL sales in Niles? - that tax is to help shore up pensions and help pay for sewer repair. In these economic times we cannot keep piling on the backs of taxpayers!! The Village has to pick and choose what gets $ - and for now it should be sewers, pensions and TRUE economic development

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