Dotson Talks Future of Oak Forest's Business Redevelopment

Oak Forest Community Development Director Adam Dotson is a newsmaker this week. He is spearheading an effort for the city to look for more ways to reinvest in the business community.

A move by the  to buy a former pizza restaurant is one of the ways to the city can help boost a community that is still reeling from the recession, said Community Development Director Adam Dotson. 

The  approved the purchase this week of the former Numero Uno site at 15426 S. Cicero Ave. for $165,000. The next step is to improve the property and make it ready to sell in the hopes that another business moves in.

"For the city, this is a great opportunity to show the business community as well as the surrounding area that we do believe Cicero Avenue has the opportunity to turn around," Dotson said.

Dotson urged the council to continue looking for ways to invest into the business community to increase the property tax base.

"We not only need to start making decisions on the public side of the road but (also) some decisions on the private side of the road," Dotson said.

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NANCY GRACE May 26, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Not sure whose going to shop/eat on cicero past 150th? Not a great location
Mike Ziak May 26, 2012 at 03:34 PM
This is actually a good idea. By purchasing these properties, the city can control the development of the parcels. Now if they can only wrestle away the old Minuteman Car Wash site from Delta Sonic, they would have a good size parcel to deal with.
Ben M. May 26, 2012 at 04:16 PM
If this is half as successful as the Oak Forest gateway project I will be a happy resident
phxdr May 26, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Dotson needs to be held accountable for his job. How long has this guy been collecting a paycheck from the city taxpayers and what has he done? Where are the results? Listen, I am not trying to be a jerk or mean but this is city business and that is the bottom line. The council should have put stipulations on Dotson before buying this property. It should have been stated to him that if he wishes the city to buy this and he is so confident that the city will break even/make a profit with it then stipulations will be put on this. Since he is a cheerleader for this property, the city will have to have the property sold by _____ date (4 months, 6 months). The city has to make a profit off of this or break even at least. If Oak Forest does not break even and the property is not sold by a agreed date it should result in asking for Mr. Dotson's resignation or termination with the city.
phxdr May 26, 2012 at 06:30 PM
A municpal government has no business selling and buying private property. That is not what they are there for. It is a gamble with your tax money.
Michael M. May 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
" Dotson said. We not only need to start making decisions on the public side of the road but (also) some decisions on the private side of the road," WOW!!! The govt. making private decisions!!! That is a tenant of the socialists and progressives. The govt. has no business making any decisions about private property. If they want the property to be developed then they need to make it easier to buy property; and also reduce all the permitting and regulations that stifle private development.
phxdr May 26, 2012 at 07:52 PM
That is 100% right. I have a friend in lake county IL up by waukegan. Days after the sales tax increase was announced he emailed me about it because it was covered in a paper up there. Up that far north! What image does this give OF to business moving in? I am not some tea party guy and in fact if you read most of posts about social issue you will see that I am on the left. The facts are the facts though. High taxes on small businesses gives them a tough time and they know this. It seems the things OF should be involved in at attracting business they don't do and then the things they have no business in they get involved in.
phxdr May 26, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Nick- I want to make a suggestion to you and I am going to do the same in writing the editor of the Southtown. Keep up on this. Even if it takes a Freedom of information act to find out, I think there are lots of Oak Forest taxpayers who are going to want to know down to the cent, how much money is spent on this project and how much we get back in the sale of it.
Sue1 May 27, 2012 at 07:46 PM
What has happened with the church the City purchased?
chuck toland May 29, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Ronald, there is no reason to use FOI to get this information. It is posted on the city website and is in the minutes of the meeting. The real estate contract is posted as well as part of the minutes. All additional spending on this matter will be brought before the council in public meetings and posted as well. I will be happy to send you an email on it if you want. What the city spent on that property is less than the property alone is worth. There was a considerable note already on the property, I beleive it was mentioned at the last council meeting, but is public record, of $750,000. The bank approached us on the purchase price of $165,000, and now we can control what goes there. If it is determined that the building is in too much need of repair, we can demolish it and market the property all the way from Blarney Stone to the corner of 155th. This determination should be made sooner than later. It is a good purchase for the residents of Oak Forest, and it shows that we are willing to invest in our local businesses. You know you can always call me or email me with these questions.
phxdr June 02, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Chuck- First of all my name is not "Ronald". The bottom line is that a municpal government that has cried poor mouth so many times, is so desperate it has to raise property taxes 3 times and raise sales taxes should not have 165,000 dollars to spare to buy something like this that is not urgent. Clearly if the city has 165K to spare for this kind of stuff tax increases should NEVER have been put in place.
Nick Swedberg (Editor) June 03, 2012 at 02:29 PM
A comment was removed because it made a claim that couldn't be immediately verified. If the user wishes to contact me at nicks@patch.com, I'd like to find out more information about his claim. Thank you.
Michael M. June 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Chuck, you miss the point. The govt. has no business using tax payer dollars for private use. That is the issue, not how much you paid for the property. The tax payers get no benefit for their dollars. You can give all those feel good reasons about it will make the area look nicer and increase the tax base. But, the cities regs and rules and taxes make it unlikely a business will want to operate in OF. You want to invest in business in OF? Then make it easier for them to do business in OF. But, you said it yourself, it is about control As you said " and now we can control what goes there". Who do you guys think you are to be deciding about private property? Just like the facade program, it doesn't benefit the citizens, and public money is supposed to be used for public project and benefit, not for private use. End the facade program and the land grab, you will save the city more money that way.
Michael M. June 03, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I must have missed the success in that. Unless you mean failure as success.
chuck toland June 04, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Michael, taxing bodies including school districts, park districts, townships, State, National Government, forest preserve districts and cities buy private property all the time. When you can get a prime piece of land at an incredible price, it is in the best interest of the tax payers to purchase it and control the property. In the past the city had opportunites to purchase property all the way to Harlem Avenue. Those businesses there would be contributing to Oak Forest tax base right now if we had purchased that land. There has also, been those who think the city or park district should have purchased the land where then huge church is loacated at 151st and Laramie so they would have had control over what went there. I am not blaming past administrations because I do not know the terms of the purchase at that time. Those people did not see the value in the purchase at that time. They made their decision based on what they thought was best for the city at that time. We made our decision on the same basis. I see the purchase of this property as a good thing for the residents, and that is why I voted the way I did along with all 6 of my counterparts. There is little risk in this investment, and with some knowledge of the prospects for this property, the city and tax payers will benefit on this purchase. I understand you have a hard time trusting the government, but good things are right around the corner. Please be patient with it.
Michael M. June 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Spoken like a true politician. You have a chance to lead on this Chuck and you are failing. Just because other municipalities do it does not make it right. STOP spending OUR MONEY. If there is little risk then there is little reward, it would have been better to change city policy to make it easier for businesses to open businesses in the city, instead the admin has decided to try and take the place of businesses. You could have opened the city to a wide array of business, but with the stifling policies from the admin, the businesses move on, now the city is trying to force it by buying property to fill the gap. Govt is not there to provide all these programs. It has nothing to do with trusting the govt, it has to do with the govt EARNING the trust of the people. The council is trying to pick winners and losers. We are in a financial hole and you guys keep spending OUR money.
chuck toland June 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Michael, I would be happy to talk to you or anyone else on this matter. Give me a call at your convenience at 708-671-5400 if you want to know the facts.
phxdr June 06, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Again, Alderman Toland and the council do not get it. First of all the myth that this property is worth 750,000 (or some other huge number thrown out there). Guess what? ITS NOT! If it was worth 750 then the seller (in this case a bank) would have offered it for 750. It is worth what a buyer will pay for it and in this case that is 165. Did the bank just wake up one day and say "lets take a huge loss on this property"? It is not worth the number the city says its worth...don't believe the delusion. Again if it was worth 750 the bank would have got 750 for it. Mike is right though. Buying this property will not solve anything. If oak forest were doing what it should be doing as far as taxes maybe they could get a business to move in there. This is NOT solving the problem. What is the city going to do, go and buy all the vacant properties with our tax money? AND THEN SAY YOU ARE SHORT IN THE GENERAL FUND AND HAVE TO RAISE TAXES AGAIN? I am sick of this and I think most residents are sick of this...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We need new leadership on the council and get the managment team out of here and get some people in who know what they are doing.
chuck toland June 06, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ronald, as I told Michael, I am happy to talk to you abou this or any other topic. I am not going to argue with you about it on this site because if I state facts or the truth about this subject, I will be told I am arrogant or that I think I know more than you about the subject like all politicians. The one fact I want to point out is no one said the property is worth $750K. I pointed out that the bank had a note on it for $750K. At some point, the property was worth more than that otherwise the bank would not have lent that much money on it. Maybe the bank approached us because they have an idea on how they can recoup some of the money they have out there on this property? I will be happy to explain when/if you call me. You have my number, but again it is 708-671-5400 during the day.
Tired of the B.S. June 09, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I think that Chuck Toland is showing the main problem that Oak Forest has...not listening to the people. He demonstrates this quite clearly by calling phxdr Ronald, even after, in this thread, he has been told that Ronald is not phxdr's name.
God April 13, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Chunky Cheesee,.why are you keep saying call ,are you not wanting people to see anymore posts or blow smoke up their asses ? hmmmm How much are you going to make in profit for yourself since you work for Pacmor morgage co. A good politician and I do mean A GOOD POLITICIAN would talk things out in public not hide over the phone lines


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