Wal-Mart seeks tax break for new Tinley Park store
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org September 12, 2013 9:44PM
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:15AM
Summit Hill School District 161 is being asked to give up all property tax revenue it would receive for 21/2 years from a new Wal-Mart store in Tinley Park, school board president Sean Doyle said Thursday.
The board took no action at its Wednesday meeting on the incentive request from Tinley Park, and the soonest it will be discussed and possibly voted on is the board’s Oct. 9 meeting, Doyle said.
The tax break is being sought for a Wal-Mart store that would be built southwest of Harlem Avenue and 191st Street, he said.
Doyle said he, board vice president Rich Marron and District 161 Supt. Barb Rains met for about an hour Wednesday with Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki and Ivan Baker, the village’s economic development director, to discuss the project and the tax incentives that Wal-Mart is seeking.
Doyle said he was uncertain about the overall size of the project and believed that along with a Wal-Mart, the development would include a Sam’s Club warehouse store.
Zabrocki said earlier this week that village officials would, in the next couple of weeks, announce plans for a major retail center on the 72-acre site, which is directly south of the Brookside Marketplace shopping center.
The mayor declined to identify the retailer but said the development would be in excess of 200,000 square feet.
Several residents of the nearby Brookside Glen subdivision have expressed objections to the proposed development, and homeowners fought a plan five years ago for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the property.
Doyle said District 161 board members have received several emails from parents who oppose the tax breaks. Several parents were at Wednesday’s meeting, where Doyle confirmed to them the size of the incentive being sought.
He said he would not predict how the board might vote on the issue, but that “on my own, I’m generally not in favor of giving big, multimillion-dollar corporations a tax break.”
Doyle said the District 161 board did approve tax abatements for Panduit to keep the company’s headquarters in Tinley Park, although at a new site south of Interstate 80 in Will County.
“I’m not anti-development at all,” he said. “It’s got to be sensible. It’s not just Wal-Mart. If anybody was asking for a 100 percent abatement (he would oppose it).”
Doyle said Tinley Park officials have been invited to attend the Oct. 9 school board meeting to answer residents’ questions about the project and have been asked to provide site plans or any other material that would give board members a better idea of what’s planned for the property.