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Local News

Evergreen Terrace owners file notice to appeal rulings

Case could drag on as city makes plans to take over housing complex

A bus carrying members of a jury arrives at Evergreen Terrace on March 11. Evergreen Terrace owners have filed notice they intend to appeal rulings that allow Joliet to acquire the low-income housing project for $15 million.
A bus carrying members of a jury arrives at Evergreen Terrace on March 11. Evergreen Terrace owners have filed notice they intend to appeal rulings that allow Joliet to acquire the low-income housing project for $15 million.

JOLIET – The fate of Evergreen Terrace may not be known for another year or two, even if Joliet decides to move forward with its acquisition.

Evergreen Terrace owners have filed notice they intend to appeal rulings that allow Joliet to acquire the low-income housing project for $15 million.

The city has not decided yet whether to buy the housing complex on Broadway Street.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and some council members have questioned how Joliet would finance and manage the 356 apartments.

A plan for financing and managing Evergreen Terrace is scheduled to be presented to the Joliet City Council at its July 6 meeting.

O’Dekirk said several plans will be rolled out providing “a real road map” on a city takeover of the apartment complex. But, he said, any action likely would be delayed by an appeal in the case.

“If it [the appeal] is filed, then I think everything is going to have to sit until the appeal is decided one way or the other,” O’Dekirk said.

The notice of appeal was filed June 1.

It is the most recent legal development in a case that started in 2005, when Joliet went to court to seek eminent domain authority to take control of Evergreen Terrace.

The city contended then that Evergreen Terrace was mismanaged and crime-ridden, and the City Council was united in support of the takeover. But only two members of that City Council remain, and some council members, along with O’Dekirk, have questioned whether the city should move forward with the acquisition.

Right now, the city is working on a Sept. 1 deadline to decide whether to pay the $15 million set by a jury as the price for Evergreen Terrace. It’s not clear if the city still would have to meet the deadline if the case is appealed.

The appeal could take anywhere from several months to two years, said James Figliulo, the private attorney who has handled the Evergreen Terrace case for the city.

“It really is not easy to estimate that,” Figliulo said. “It could be anywhere from a year or less than that to more than that. It won’t be more than two years.”

Even if Evergreen Terrace owners decide not to appeal the case and the city moves forward with acquisition, it still would be several years before any redevelopment of the housing complex could take place, O’Dekirk said.

The presentation next month will include information about financing redevelopment with tax credits.

“Just to line up the tax credits, it would take several years to get that,” O’Dekirk said.

Meanwhile, Burnham Management, the company that now manages Evergreen Terrace, said in a statement it would continue to do so.

“As we continue with these proceedings, our focus remains on Evergreen Terrace and the nearly 800 people who call it home,” the statement said. “With hundreds of families on our waiting list, we know there is a strong need for safe, affordable housing in Joliet.”

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