While prioritizing growth-related issues during a recent meeting of the Tinley Park Economic and Commercial Commission, commissioner Jay Walsh brought up the question of balancing residents' quality-of-life concerns with the job- and revenue-generating benefits of development.
"How does it affect Tinley?" commissioner Jay Walsh asked about a hypothetical development during the Oct. 10 meeting. "What if it comes in and drives out 10,000 residents?"
Walsh might have been referring to the proposal to build a Wal-Mart west of the intersection of Harlem Avenue and 191st Street that has incensed some nearby residents.
Such real-world considerations have not gone unnoticed by the 12-15 EC commissioners working to identify specific village virtues that correspond to goals set by Tinley Park trustees.
After approximately three hours of brainstorming at August and September meetings and one hour of prioritizing at last week's meeting, commissioners generally agreed on a list of assets that include:
* A strong, broad tax base,
* Clear, consistently enforced building codes,
* Transparent government,
* A long-range plan and
* Livability (good housing stock and things to do).
Ultimately, the attributes would be compiled into a one- to two-page paper supporting the village's Economic Development Department's application for national accreditation from the International Economic Development Council.
Tinley Park would be only the second municipality to gain IEDC accreditation.
Since its founding in 1980, the commission has been charged with helping nurture well¿planned economic development that broadens the tax base and enhances the quality of life.
The two goals don't always complement each other.
Part of the struggle has been trying to craft a blanket statement—one that covers all three market segments. Residential, commercial and industrial development have different and, sometimes, conflicting interests.
For example, a commercial or industrial developer may look at local education in terms of the product—educated, trained employees. Meanwhile, homeowners look at local education in terms of the process—good schools for their children, Commissioner Rebecca Palumbo noted.
"Are they two different things—residential livability and business?" asked Commissioner Jim Mohler.
"Should we just focus on business?" he asked, adding, "If our objective is commercial how does that piece (living in Tinley Park) merge into the whole?"
Mohler noted local dining, entertainment and shopping are quality-of-life issues to "people who like to live in Tinley Park and like to consume in Tinley Park."
But, as Walsh noted, current and incoming residents may view an industrial or commercial development as a detriment.
Commissioner Dennis Reidy said such enterprises are actually beneficial because they take local tax pressure off of residents.
"What got us through the last downturn was sales tax," said Reidy.
Earlier in the meeting Reidy, an employee of the Cook County Assessor's Office, suggested most non-residential development in Tinley Park will consist of commercial and retail operations.
"Currently, we have limited vacant land that would lend itself to industrial development," he said.