Wednesday, Nov. 16


City and Wal-Mart nearing agreement

Councilmen hear benefits to subdivision development         Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 16, 2005]  The Lincoln City Council entered full discussion on Monday evening on matters revolving around reaching agreements that would bring a Wal-Mart Supercenter to town. City attorney Bill Bates explained details of the plans and the minor modifications that have taken place in the last week and then turned the matter over to open discussion.

On hand to answer the aldermen's questions were R. Keith King, a Wal-Mart representative; Allen Oertel of Crawford, Murphy and Tilly, Springfield, the engineering firm that is handling property development plans; and Troy Pudik, a Peoria lawyer representing Wal-Mart for this site.

There are three components that are all tied together for the process to proceed:

  1. A development agreement
  2. Annexation into the city
  3. Final plat approval

In the agreement the city would return to Wal-Mart all sales tax that exceeds the current four-year average (the 2005 year will be added to the average at the city's request), up to $600,000.

The 0.5-cent non-home-rule sales tax is not included in this arrangement.

Also, sales tax gained through the Murphy Oil Station that is anticipated to go in on the corner on Lot 2 would not be included in the reimbursement.

In the agreement Wal-Mart offers to do all of the sewer, water and roadway infrastructure improvements that are needed to build on the property and then some.

The route that the sewer line runs puts two manholes under pavement of the proposed Wal-Mart property. The agreement addresses this issue. Wal-Mart agrees to pay for the repaving if the sewer must be accessed at either location in the future for repairs.

Wal-Mart is working with the Illinois Department of Transportation on meeting all state roadway regulations. Wal-Mart will be responsible for the following roadway changes:

  • Right turn lane for eastbound traffic off Route 10 at Malerich Drive
  • Left turn lane for westbound traffic off Route 10

They will also construct:

  • North-south extension of Malerich Drive
  • Stuart Drive to allow Illini Bank complex access to Route 10
  • East-west Herndon Drive

Wal-Mart will also be running new potable water supply lines that will benefit the subdivision and its future growth. They will install a 12-inch line that runs from Fifth Street northward and to the west side of their property.

Alderman Verl Prather said that he thought it would be important for the public to understand how Wal-Mart arrived at the amount they have requested for reimbursement and just how the developments that they will do will add to the commercial value of the lot.

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Oertel basically said that they took the difference of all the infrastructure costs for the development, new sewer and waterlines that benefit the whole subdivision, and subtracted the cost of the three drives that must be added to meet city ordinances.

"The vast majority of the improvement costs are for public roadway improvements," he said.

The improvements create lots that will cost a bare minimum for new businesses to come in, he said.

When Alderman Benny Huskins asked about construction work for local workers, King said that their bid winners have commonly used local contractors to get the work done.

Additionally, the city would gain some valuable commercial property. Wal-Mart would be purchasing property that will have 26 excess acres. Wal-Mart would give this land to the city. The city can develop, sell or even to give it away, as was done with Sysco. There are limitations on what can be done on that property, which protects the business interests of Wal-Mart. It would be still be commercially developable and a desirable property for noncompetitive types of businesses, such as offices. If sold, the money would be paid on the $600,000 reimbursement.

Beyond the reimbursement of $600,000 paid out of increased sales tax income, the city's only other obligation in the development agreement is to upgrade the area sewer lift station. The Zion lift station, which serves to pump sewage from that area to the sewer plant, is already in the process of being upgraded and must be done whether Wal-Mart goes in or not. Wal-Mart stipulates for it to be completed by Dec. 31, 2006.

Other deadlines defined in the agreement:

  • Wal-Mart must purchase 69-plus acres, which includes an excess 26 acres, by Dec. 31, 2006.
  • City and Wal-Mart must sign the development agreement by Dec. 31, 2006.
  • Wal-Mart must begin construction by Dec. 31, 2008.

The above are just maximum dates when those objectives must be completed. Wal-Mart asked for the city to be ready to complete the development agreement and approve the final plat next week, Nov. 21. By all evidences they are ready to run with it when the agreement and final plat are approved, Bates said last week.

Last night King said that if the agreement and plat are approved, their architects are ready to start work next week. Then they would get permits and go out for bids. After that their store planning would begin.

[Jan Youngquist]

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