ENGLEWOOD — Members of the Englewood community packed the room Tuesday evening for the Resident Association of Greater Englewood’s first meeting of the new year.
The organization, more commonly known as R.A.G.E., held its meeting at the Englewood Police District headquarters.
Asiaha Butler, the group’s president, updated its members on three things.
The Englewood Neighborhood Tax Increment Financing District was an important one, Butler said. Volunteers from the organization mainly targeted the 16th Ward late last year to encourage people to vote and educate them on how the TIF district works.
While some at the meeting said they did not know what a TIF district was, others "didn’t have an idea of how much money was allocated even though their tax dollars are going into it,” Butler said.
On the ballot, registered voters from the 16th Ward will be able to answer yes or no to whether an advisory council should form to oversee the spending in the TIF district.
When an area is declared a TIF district — by law it's supposed to be in a "blighted" area — the county sets a "base value" by totaling the property values within the district.
Then, the amount of property tax money public agencies like schools and parks can take from that area is calculated using that base value for 23 years. Any additional property tax money generated from an increase in property values within the TIF district is instead sent to the TIF fund overseen by the city. The districts are meant to spur economic development.
The audience was also told that association will be focusing more of its attention on repurposing Arna W. Bontemps School, 1241 W. 58th Street. Bontemps was one of some 50 schools closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2013 in what was described as an efficiency move.
Before attendees dispersed, they were notified about upcoming candidate forums.
Butler said the group's meetings are important for the community.
“The whole point of our meetings is to just update them on our activities and any other issues that are happening in Englewood,” she said.
“People hate meetings, but at the end of the day, they usually leave here with great connections, good information and, overall, [are] more informed than they were before they walked in,” Butler said.
The next meeting will be March 17.
For a full list of upcoming events, visit the website at www.ragenglewood.org/events/
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: