In an effort to revive an aging shopping center on West Main Street and pave the way for a developer who is interested in the site, Belleville aldermen on Monday night unanimously approved a feasibility study for a 1-cent sales tax that would be tacked onto purchases in the center.
The funds would be used as an incentive for the developer to rehabilitate the center that was once the home of the Mad Pricer grocery store and the $20 Shoe Outlet at 6401 W. Main St.
Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton, who owns a nearby clothing store on West Main Street, fully supports the plan.
This is a very, very strong proposal. It’s our golden opportunity to resurrect an old, aging center.
Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton
“We’ve had proposals so many times over the years that have fallen through. This is a very, very strong proposal,” Wigginton said. “It’s our golden opportunity to resurrect an old, aging center.”
“This is the right thing to do for west Belleville,” Mayor Mark Eckert said.
Aldermen voted to hire Economic Development Resources LLC for $30,000 to review the sales tax idea, which is officially called a special business district. Both the Finance and Economic Development committees have recommended the city hire this company, which has previously worked with the city.
The name of the developer who wants to renovate the site has not been released.
Eckert said the city has to formally ask for proposals from anyone who might want to develop the site so it is too early to identify the developer who has already contacted the city.
Also, the city will require the developer to pay the $30,000 fee for the consultant.
Shoppers currently pay a sales tax of 8.1 percent in the strip mall.
Belleville will require the developer to pay the $30,000 fee for a feasibility study.
Shenanigan’s bar and restaurant, Marco’s on Main restaurant, a Family Dollar and a Subway restaurant are located in the center.
The proposed business district does not include the Round Table Cafe, which recently opened in the former Hardee’s building located in the front of the shopping center. It also does not include the vacant bank on the west edge of the shopping center.
Some products would be exempt from the extra 1-cent sales tax. These items include grocery food items and pharmaceuticals.
Aldermen have previously approved special business districts for the following sites:
▪ Belleville Crossing shopping center, which includes Target and Home Depot at the intersection of Frank Scott Parkway and Illinois 15.
▪ The hotel, restaurant and sports complex being planned off Illinois 15 across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
▪ Green Mount Commons shopping center, which includes Walmart and Lowe’s at the intersection of Carlyle Avenue and Green Mount Road.
▪ Eckert’s restaurant, store, garden center and orchard at the intersection of Illinois 15 and Green Mount Road.
In other business
Aldermen also took the following action Monday:
▪ Approved a contract for $57,610 with Shafer Excavating for the demolition of the following properties: 1712 Schell St.; 33 Highwood Court; 500 S. Church St.; 2021 Madison Ave.; 124 N. 15th St.; and 523 N. Jackson St.
▪ Agreed to pay $98,900 to Locker & Storage Systems Inc. for metal lockers and $77,400 to CLS Inc. for landscaping and irrigation at the new police headquarters under construction at 720 W. Main St.
▪ Voted to permit alcohol in the Stone Lodge at Bellevue Park for certain occasions.