'High time' for Ottawa South Side liquor sales - The Times: Local

'High time' for Ottawa South Side liquor sales

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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:07 pm

An ordinance allowing the issuance of liquor licenses on Ottawa’s South Side unanimously was approved by the city council on Tuesday.

The ordinance allows liquor licenses for liquor package sales and selling alcoholic drinks in restaurants.

It has been decades since liquor sales last were allowed in the South Side, and the change had resident support, said Mayor Robert Eschbach.

“Everybody I’ve talked to, with the exception of one letter I received and one anonymous phone call I received, pretty much thought it’s high time,” Eschbach said.

“As I said in the past, I think the days of people on the South Side thinking nobody drinks over there are over,” he said.

City looks to expand TIF for potential new business

The council unanimously approved a professional services agreement with Jacob & Klein Ltd. and The Economic Development Group Ltd. for the proposed expansion of the commercial tax-increment-financing district to include a parcel of land east of Champlain Street and south of I-80.

Officials have been secretive about the expansion.

However, Eschbach had this to say at his State of the City address on Thursday:

“The city of Ottawa is currently responding to an industrial project site search. Right now, we’re told that we are the primary chosen site if we can deliver an incentive package and the needed infrastructure.

“Their chosen site in Ottawa needs enterprise zone and TIF benefits and also needs improvements to streets, water and sanitary. If it comes, Ottawa will be their corporate headquarters. There will be an initial capital investment of about $18 million and about 200 to 300 new jobs within a couple years. So, we are in the process of doing what it takes to get this project to land in Ottawa.

“We are working to add the property to the Ottawa Enterprise Zone and to the Commercial TIF. In addition, we are applying for State of Illinois grant funding to improve the infrastructure similar to what was done when PetSmart and Kohl’s came to Ottawa.

“To some, it’s disappointing to have to expand a TIF. But it would be far worse to lose this great opportunity to bring investment, construction and new jobs to Ottawa. Without these incentives, the company will not locate here and could easily go to another state.”

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