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Referendum on lakefront projects set for June

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Kayla Bunge
February 24, 2010
— Residents this summer will be asked to approve a referendum to spend tax incremental finance money on three projects along the Fontana lakefront.

The proposed lakefront activity center, the reconfiguration of the lakefront parking lot and the reconstruction of Lake Street will be combined into one question, village officials said. The question will be on the ballot June 15, they said.


It is smart both from an economic and engineering standpoint to work on all three projects at the same time, said Bill Turner, chairman of the Fontana Community Development Authority.


It also seemed like a good idea to put the referendum question to voters in the summer, when the most residents are in the village and available to vote, rather than in the spring, when mostly only year-round residents are available to head to the polls, Turner said.


“We wanted to have more input,” he said.


The projects include:


-- The proposed lakefront activity center at 454 Lake St. The one-story, 5,500-square-foot facility would include a multipurpose meeting room with kitchenette and storage facilities, a non-motorized equipment rental operation and a coffee shop. It likely also would include outdoor gathering space, such as a patio.


Civic, business and private groups could use the meeting space for events. Residents and visitors could rent canoes, kayaks or paddleboards, and get a cup of coffee and a snack in the café.


The lakefront activity center is estimated to cost less than $1 million.


-- The reconfiguration of the lakefront parking lot. The lot would be changed to address stormwater problems and add more green space. The number of spaces would not change much.


-- The reconstruction of Lake Street. The roadway is in bad shape and needs to be rebuilt. The project also includes replacing aging utilities buried under the road and installing new energy-efficient streetlights.


Officials plan to finalize the question, which will include the total cost of all three projects, at the village board meeting in April, said Village Administrator Kelly Hayden. Engineers still are finalizing costs for the parking lot and street reconstruction projects, she said.


The projects are being put to referendum as a result of direct legislation in 2006 that requires village capital projects that cost more than $1.5 million to be put before the voters for approval.


Village officials could rework their plans if voters do not approve the referendum, Turner said. But they believe voters will see the benefit of the proposed projects, he said.


“If there is a problem, then we would probably try to determine what the problem is and then figure out where to go from there,” he said. “But we think that when people see the full project and understand it’s being paid for with TIF funds, they’ll be supportive.”



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