Residents and visitors experience Mount Prospect and all it offers in its newly renovated downtown. Updated building facades, brick-paved streetscapes, wrought iron lamp posts, graphically designed street banners, and colorful displays of flowers and landscaping create a unified message of “Be a Part of It” to those living and visiting the Village. The “Village Green” has become a central gathering place attracting pedestrians, shoppers and businesses to the town center.
Downtown is now more than just a place to board a Metra commuter train to Chicago in the morning or evening. Mount Prospect’s vision of a mixed-use downtown has become a reality with urban-influenced row houses, townhomes and condominiums; restaurants, entertainment, retail, spas and service providers.
NEW: Downtown Implementation Plan (currently receiving public input)
Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
Downtown Strategic Plan
Sub Area #1 Redevelopment
Why the special attention to Downtown?
Mount Prospect believes that a vibrant downtown is vital for the overall health of the community. As the center of the Village, downtown is special -- a place for community events and a great place to meet and greet friends and neighbors. As the community matures, downtown has evolved, yet the downtown’s development is founded on a solid history of public meetings and community planning.
After Randhurst was built in 1962, a decline was noted in the central business district. The Village began to address this decline by qualifying the downtown as a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) in 1985 (one of the first TIF districts in the State). The original TIF boundaries have since been amended and expanded. Currently, the TIF District is generally bounded by Central Road, Northwest Highway, and Owen Street.
How the TIF District has Helped
When the TIF district was created, the entire value of all properties within the TIF was $7.5 million. With the new projects underway, property within the TIF district is projected to be worth $42 million in 2008. Since 1985, taxing districts have continued to receive the same revenues first received when the district was created; the incremental new revenues created by the new value from development has helped to finance streetscape improvements like the brick-paver sidewalks, trees, streetlights, and benches; and, to renovate building facades and remodel buildings. Plus, TIF funds have been used for property acquisition and new infrastructure to spur new development downtown.
TIF funds have been used to meet the goals of the original plan, spurring redevelopment of several older and functionally obsolete buildings. Since 1985 over 500 condominiums and 30,000 square feet of retail space has been completed, plus a renovated Train Station, new Village Hall, new Parking Deck and expanded Library.
With each project, the Village Board has worked with existing businesses to relocate them to a new location in town. Most have stayed in Mount Prospect, though some, like Northwest Electric have moved out of the downtown district. Several new retailers have located in the downtown area to complement existing shopping and dining opportunities. In the past few years, national chains have joined locally owned shops in opening their doors.
Citizen Participation Encouraged
In 1998, with significant public input, the Village of Mount Prospect updated the 1985 plan, creating a document known as the Downtown TIF District Strategic Plan. To aid in planning, downtown has been broken into a series of geographic “sub-areas.” Design goals have been consistent and include:
- Placing buildings near the property line in order to enhance the pedestrian atmosphere.
- Wide sidewalks to ensure pedestrian comfort and safety along roadways.
- Varied architectural styles for the buildings, which are brought together by use of similar elements such as brick construction, sloping roofs and a pedestrian orientation (walkways, courts or gathering areas).
- Attractive, well landscaped frontages along all public streets.
- Adequate screening and buffering around parking and loading areas.
In 2003, a second Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of a group of local residents convened to review the development concepts and related recommendations in the 1998 plan. They met for 4 months and considered the downtown on a block-by-block basis considering development opportunities. The Ad Hoc Committee re-confirmed the Design Guidelines, first adopted in 1998, and modified the list of desired land uses.