Pingree Grove panel looking to lure more business
By Ryan Klassy For The Courier-News September 7, 2012 1:10PM
Updated: October 11, 2012 6:08AM
PINGREE GROVE — Village officials are hoping to lure more business here with an economic development plan.
Board members and others this week reviewed the history of the village’s economic development and discussed goals for getting more business to locate in Pingree Grove.
Village attorney Dean Frieders and head Administrator Ken Lopez gave trustees an overview of two dozen parcels and properties within the village that could be developed for commercial interests. Some of the land is owned by the village and other parcels are held by private owners or commercial developers.
Lopez said he sees expanding the village’s property and sales tax base as a major goal. He asked trustees for guidance in developing a plan to do that.
Like many municipalities, Pingree Grove officials have looked high and low in recent years for ways to cut expenses. Increased business activity would mean increased income as well.
Frieders explained some of the pros and cons of each property and how attractive they may be to business owners as he pointed each one out on a large map.
“Every municipality wants more taxes, but what we really need is a specific list of priorities to guide us and metrics for evaluating along the way,” Frieders said.
Frieders added that those metrics may not be entirely revenue based, given that progress may be slow in the current economic climate. Making the problem worse is that an overabundance of unoccupied commercial space in the market as a whole means lenders are less willing to provide loans for commercial development.
Lopez pointed out bright spots as well, including three major state highways within village limits, prime space along the Route 47 corridor, and a full access interchange being built from that road to Interstate 90.
Board members floated several suggestions, ranging from increased web marketing to promoting small start ups. Frieders suggested more thought on the topic and collaboration at a future meeting.
“This is not something you’re going to solve here tonight,” Frieders said. “But we have to take steps toward identifying what your tangible goals will be.”
Villager President Greg Marston asked trustees to come to an Oct. 6 special planning session to discuss properties they want to focus on.