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Harvey Council Votes No on Harvey Lofts LLC Project

The City of Harvey held its regular city council meeting on Nov. 22.

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Noah Johnson
Noah Johnson
Writer for the Southland Journal covering Dolton, Harvey, Calumet City and elections.

Correction Notice:
This article originally contained incorrect information regarding the Harvey Lofts LLC board vote. It was originally printed that Harvey Lofts LLC was unanimously passed. This is not the case. The corrections are reflected in the article below. The article title has also been adjusted to reflect the correction.

Harvey Council Votes No on Harvey Lofts LLC Project (Harvey, IL) The City of Harvey held its regular city council meeting on Nov. 22.

The council began the meeting by considering bills for payment list for Nov. 8 and Nov. 22. Ald. Dominique Randle-El of the 5th ward asked for a recommendation from finance committee member Ald. Tyrone Rogers (6th) before voting. Rogers said the Nov. 8 bills lists hadn’t had a chance to go before the committee since one hadn’t been held and the Nov. 22 bills had just been received earlier that day. The committee plans to have a meeting within the next couple of days, Rogers said. The lists were tabled and will be considered at that meeting.

Ordinances and Resolutions

The council went on to consider a number of ordinances and resolutions. The first was an ordinance rescinding an ordinance, which approved an economic incentive and public private partnership agreement between the city and Harvey Shopping Center LLC. Rogers moved to remove the item, which was referred to the finance committee in July, “until we have further review.”

“There was some additional information that was sent in from Shopping Center LLC that was referred to the committee and was supposed to have been received by the city’s law firm and we haven’t received any information on that yet, just to find out whether it’s going to be declined or approved.”

Brand New Agreement

Clark said any additional information submitted by the company would create a brand new agreement rather than amend the proposed agreement. Rogers said he felt the council was “putting the cart before the horse” with the proposed agreement because there were new developments brought up at the last finance meeting.

“I think that it’s only fair to both parties if we can see some documentation from the new agreement,” Rogers said, noting “why should we be so hasty to get rid of the old agreement before we actually receive the new one?”

Ald. Tracy Key (4th) asked why it’s not possible to amend the ordinance once we get all the information. Clark said that’s possible but amending it would create a substantially new document.

Ald. Shirley Drewenski (1st) said this has been on the agenda since the end of June, noting she doesn’t think the ordinance is “in haste.” She’s favorable of putting a new agreement on the table once the company submits necessary paperwork.

“But as far as this particular ordinance as it was written, obviously from the discussion that several of the aldermen had with this vendor, there are changes that are going to occur,” she said. “So amending it would be one possibility but to clear this from the agenda I would propose to let us rescind this ordinance with the guarantee or entertaining a new proposal.”

The council went on to approve the item, rescinding the ordinance.

Economic Development

Next, the council considered an ordinance approving an economic redevelopment agreement by and between the city and Harvey Lofts, LLC. The city’s attorney outlined what the city could lose if the item wasn’t improved including $151,000 and property. The developer is proposing an $16.4 million investment into the project. The project would create 50 construction jobs, building permit revenue to the city and workforce housing for Amazon and other works, according to a presentation. While Drewenski and Randle-El voted in favor, the Ald. Quinton Crudup (3rd) abstained from voting and the other alderman voted no

A renewal agreement between the city and Property Registration Champions LLC was next up for consideration. Before the council voted, Ald. Marshun Tolbert (2nd) asked for someone from the company to discuss “what this program has done for the city outside of charging people these fees.”

A representative from the company said no resident has paid a fee in the city, but Tolbert said that is false. The representative asked for the names of those who’ve been charged so the issue could be addressed. The company has registered 779 foreclosed properties, 690 long term rental registrations, and 72 vacant properties, according to the company, noting the community has received over $100,000 this year due to the program.

The program has been in the city since 2019. Since then, the city has seen $262,000 in revenue from the program. Rogers said he hasn’t heard about any revenue that’s been produced from the company since it’s been in the city, which is “tragic,” noting the company hasn’t been transparent. The only alderman that voted against the agreement was Key, who said he hadn’t seen any representative from the company attend city council meetings to give updates on their progress since they came to the city.

The council also considered the following items:

  • Ordinance approving text amendments to the zoning ordinance of the city concerning automobile oriented uses and video gaming terminal establishments

  • A resolution approving a letter of understanding with the Illinois Department of Transportation in the Connection with the Wood Street Project

  • A resolution authorizing property sales – residential reactivation program

Harvey Council Votes No on Harvey Lofts LLC Project
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