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Study for former Silver Cross Hospital property moves forward

Megann Horstead, Reporter – news@thetimesweekly.com | 9/19/2018, 8:03 p.m.
The City of Joliet is looking to have a study completed to determine how feasible it would be to redevelop ...

The City of Joliet is looking to have a study completed to determine how feasible it would be to redevelop the former Silver Cross Hospital site and neighboring properties within a Tax Increment Finance District, (TIF).

A TIF District is an economic development initiative that aims to freeze the tax base of certain properties over time to help spur development.

The proposed redevelopment area includes the former Silver Cross Hospital property, the adjacent school to the east and some commercial properties along Maple Road.

“We’re at a point where we think we’re ready to proceed with the actual, formal feasibility study to be done,” Deputy City Manager Steve Jones said.

The city wants the area in question to become the future home to some mixed-used development.

Jones said that hopefully, they could tie in some existing medical uses into the site.

The Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Affairs Medical Center is currently located within part the building.

About a year ago, the city started to have some discussions with the owners of the former Silver Cross Hospital property regarding future redevelopment.

“As the actual hospital had existed, there were many years of trying to market [the site] for the old medical buildings,” Jones said. “They were pretty unsuccessful.”

By the summer of 2017, the city was in talks with the owners of the site regarding plans for demolition.

“Obviously, the property has had some challenges over the years,” Jones said. “Through an incentive district, potentially we’ve got the ability to bring some new development in.”

Last fall, the Joliet Economic Development Committee discussed the possibility of creating a TIF District. Officials provided a positive recommendation at the time to the Joliet City Council.

City officials decided it was the best way to get the process of redeveloping the property started.

The city during that time surveyed the thoughts of residents adjacent to the former Silver Cross Hospital property to determine their interest in annexation.

Jones said up to this point, the process has involved a lot of analysis and studying of the situation.

In an 8-0 vote, the Joliet City Council decided to approve the ordinance proposing a feasibility study and report for the area bound by the potential tax increment finance district.

Council action authorizes city staff to start moving forward with notifying taxing bodies, setting public hearings and holding joint review board meetings.

S. B. Friedman is the firm tasked with studying the redevelopment area that is bound near the former Silver Cross Hospital property.

“This is really when the time clock starts,” Jones said.