Right on the south edge of the central triangle in the Des Plaines Five Corners/River-Rand TIF zone is a small group of odd buildings.
This is the only part of the inner triangle (and the only part of the TIF district I’ve shown you) that looks like a common-sense definition of blighted, especially when seen from behind:
Really, that does look a bit run down. But it looks like the sort of thing that could be fixed with a few hundred thousand dollars worth of construction, not a $120 million TIF district.
The lack of maintenance is not the only thing that bothers TIF advocates, however. They also seem to hate mixed-use land. That is, they want buffer zones between commercial and residential properties. I have to admit it’s a little odd finding this home surrounded by restaurants and landscaping contractors, transmission shops and plumbing stores:
It would probably be pretty odd having a home in the middle of a commercial district like this, but isn’t it up to the homeowners to make that kind of decision?
Right next to that home is Rosario Cassata Landscaping & Cement Contractor.
And next to that is Northwest Kennels & Doggie Day Care. (See the dog in the window?) This is probably the most run-down of the buildings.
Note that the utility service—gas meters and power lines—all come from the front of the buildings, as would be typical in rural areas. These are obviously not the fine buildings you typically find in a modern suburban commercial district.
In some ways, this is classic so-called “blight” that TIF proponents are always trying to get rid of: Older buildings that aren’t very flashy, containing small businesses that aren’t well-known names.
Politicians are always selling themselves, and they all love to say they run the kind of town that brings in a Target or a Circuit City or even a Potbelly’s. I guess very few of them see the value in running the kind of town where Rosario Cassata decided to setup his small landscaping business, or where Bob and Trish decided to run their well-cared-for little bar.
The ladder and other stuff is out there because I took this picture late last year while someone (Bob, I’m guessing) was putting up Christmas lights.