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Village seeks developer


Fontana sends out RFP for Duck Pond



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February 01, 2011 | 03:12 PM
Fontana — Offering scenic views of Geneva Lake, access to a bike and walking trails and an easy commute to Rockford, Chicago and Milwaukee, a village-owned site could be the perfect place for a business to open up shop.

At least that is what village officials hope.

Officials are looking for a developer for the Duck Pond site, which is located on the northwest corner of Wild Duck and Dade roads. The land is vacant, but could house a business, medical facility or light manufacturer.

Recently the village sent a request for a proposal to developers. Submissions are due Mach 31.

Developing the site has been part of the plans since the Tax Increment Financing district was created in September 2001.

Village Administrator Kelly Hayden said it is too early in the process to know exactly what will come to the site, but in the past there has been discussions about a software company, or a retirement home.

Building and Zoning Administrator Ron Nyman said professional or office buildings could be built on the site. Also educational facilities such as an art, music or dance studio would fit under the zoning laws.

"It could be a combined usage with a real estate office on one end and an optician on the other," Nyman said.

He also said a recreational facility, either indoor or outdoor or the combination of the two, would likely be allowed. Clinics, for people or animals, would fit under the code.

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However, he said the site is too small and wouldn't have adequate parking for a big box store. He also said certain services wouldn't fit under the code. He used golf cart and automobile repairs and sales as an example.

Nyman said heavy manufactures would fit within the code.

"We probably wouldn't be looking for something with a lot of truck traffic," he said. "It's not an industrial park by any means."

What is the village offering?

In a tough economy, bringing in a developer willing to fund a project is anything but a sure thing. However, the village can provide incentives that most landowners can't.

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"The village may consider special financing and infrastructure development assistance with the selected individual or firm," according to the RFP.

When the village worked with developer Brian Pollard on the Mill Street Plaza, it offered him special incentives.

The village purchased the area that is now the Hildebrand Conservancy and Mill Street when it was vacant land. As Pollard developed the land and sold sites he paid the village.

Pollard is now looking to develop the village-owned site a 138 Fontana Blvd., which is known as the former Headquarters building.

With that property, Pollard plans on creating a mixed business and residential development. The plan includes an option to purchase in the future.

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More about TIF and the site

TIF is a tool used to make capital improvements within a designated area. Additional tax dollars, or increments, created by the TID are used to pay for the capital improvements.

Fontana's TIF district includes the village's lakefront, Duck Pond Recreation Center, The Abbey Resort and Highway 67.

Theoretically, a development at the site would create additional increment for the village's TIF district. The increment is used to pay for projects within the TIF.

The development site consists of about 11 acres of land, which is comprised of three areas.

"The site is comprised of three areas, with a 2-acre parcel that can accommodate a building envelope, a 1.5-acre parcel that can accommodate limited excavation, and a 1.75-acre parcel that can accommodate minimal ground disturbance," according to the RFP. "The site is also located adjacent to the Village of Fontana Public Works garage. The surrounding area includes several restaurants, Reid Park, a public beach, and the Abbey Resort Condominium Hotel and Spa."

More than 20 years ago, before the development of the Fontana Walworth Water Pollution Control Commission, the Duck Pond Recreation Area was a place were sewage settling ponds were located.

Since then, the area has been cleaned up and includes baseball diamonds, playground equipment and a field house.

Hayden said the site were village officials are hoping a business would locate was never used for sewage settling. Instead, the Department of Public Works used the space to store equipment.

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