Antioch officials plan to invest more than $1 million in land they say has potential for economic development and other uses.
Known as the Boylan property, the area comprises 50 acres east of Route 83, south of Route 173 and north of Grimm Road. Trustees Monday unanimously agreed to buy the property and put down $25,000 earnest money.
The resolution authorizing the contract also calls for the staff to devise a plan of possible public incentives and suggest ways to finance what was described as a "wise investment into the future of this village and a means to provide major benefits at a reasonable cost."
The unincorporated Boylan property is one of the few key large parcels adjacent to the village that could serve as a platform for "greatly increased economic activity," according to the resolution. A closing date is scheduled for December.
Although there are general possibilities, such as relocating the village's antiquated public works department on what is now vacant property, no specific uses have been determined. Village Administrator Jim Keim said he is developing a program for the property.
"We're at an initial stage right now. Very conceptual," Keim said. "We're going to step into a developer's shoes and see what's the highest and best use."
Mayor Lawrence Hanson said communities can't survive only on residential development, and the Boylan property poses several possibilities.
"That's our job, too, is to create economies. We're not just looking at a short-term thing," Hanson said.
According to a summary of the purchase, the village has been watching the property for several years, and it has been the subject of previous annexation requests for commercial development.
Purchase options were not exercised, however, and the family regained control.
Buying the land would enable several potential initiatives, according to the village. Among them are reconfiguring Grimm Road for a safe bypass around the congested Route 83/173 intersection; providing 10 acres for a new public works facility; opportunities to expand or locate new auto dealers or other major retailers; create more industrial space to attract modern facilities and create jobs; and to manage and control development in an environmentally sensitive area in the Sequoit Creek watershed.
"We're trying to create an economic engine here," Trustee Jay Jozwiak said. "There are different parts of that land we can use for different things."
Keim said Grimm Road is one route in need of attention in the area, and deciding how it can or should be reconfigured is among the first orders of business.
The road meets Route 173 at a skewed angle, creating safety issues, and there is a rail crossing just east of Route 83.
A viaduct beneath the tracks would improve access for emergency vehicles, according to the village.
"That goal alone is probably worthy, but I think there's much more opportunity to benefit" in different areas, Keim said.
"We see an outcry in the community wanting more economic development, more jobs," he added.