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Local

Morris approves $24,000 lot purchase

More parking to be added downtown

MORRIS – Parking in downtown Morris figures to get a bit easier during busy times of the year.

The Morris City Council approved Monday night, with a 6-0 vote, the purchase of a nearly 4,000-square-foot empty lot at the northwest corner of Main Street and Route 47 from the State of Illinois for $24,000. Aldermen Duane Wolfe and Bill Martin were absent.

The lot, which is next to an existing city-owned parking lot, will likely be attached to the existing one to add some additional parking.

“We’re basically cleaning up the property,” alderman Randy Larson said. “It looks like a very good fit for the area and it will make the area aesthetically better.”

Larson said people have put up for-sale signs on the lot. Mayor Richard Kopczick said in the Street and Alley Committee meeting prior to council that the lot gets to be a mess under jurisdiction of the state, as the state only landscapes the lot twice a year.

“We’ll get it cleaned up and make it a useful parking area,” he said.

Redesign of the lot will be done by City Engineer Guy Christensen, who said no new entrances are proposed and the exit will be to the north. The city will look to start reconfiguring the lot next year.

Kopczick said it was intended to be a tax increment financing district purchase but the city realized it is not in the TIF district. With that being the case, the purchase will come out of the city’s general fund, Christensen said.

A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen and the difference in tax revenue generated between the frozen tax value and present-day value goes into a fund to be used for improvements to properties within the district.

In June, the city approved purchase of a larger lot out of the TIF fund for $130,000.

The lot purchase approved Monday was once home to an ambulance service, Kopczick said, and three appraisals were done on the property. One was at $23,000, one was $24,000 and one was $25,000.

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