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Grayslake parks, schools join in Cornerstone project
By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/3/2010 12:01 AM

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Representatives from three school districts and a park system signed a batch of documents Tuesday night in an effort to receive benefits from the largest development planned for Grayslake.

Skokie-based Alter Group will lead the $818 million Cornerstone development at Peterson and Alleghany roads. Slated for a 12-year construction timetable, Cornerstone is to have industrial, office and research-development facilities blended with retail and residential components over 641 acres.

Alter Group senior vice president Stephen Park, speaking after a document-signing ceremony at Grayslake village hall Tuesday, said construction on Cornerstone won't begin for at least two years. He said economic factors will dictate the project's start.

Park also said Alter still needs approvals from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Aviation Administration, which may be gained in six to nine months.

Cornerstone would have 801 homes, with 356 of them considered "attached single-family." The houses would be within the borders of Mundelein High School District 120 and Fremont Elementary District 79.

Estimates show Fremont would receive nearly $27 million in surplus tax revenue over the 12-year construction period, with about $21 million going to Mundelein High.

Grayslake High School District 127 would collect about $7 million.

Annual projections after the 12 years show $4.3 million flowing to Fremont, $3.1 million for Mundelein High and $1 million to Grayslake High.

Officials said Mundelein High and Fremont would be protected through impact fees from homebuilders and phased-in construction for Cornerstone's residential component, along with other restrictions.

Fremont Superintendent Rick Taylor, who signed development agreement papers for his district at the ceremony, said the projected tax flow for the schools was a result of a collaborative effort by Grayslake village officials, Alter Group executives and others.

"Everybody who is participating in this development will benefit by it, which is unique," Taylor said.

Round Lake Area Park District is in line for two parcels totaling 13 acres where Cornerstone's homes would rise. Executive Director Jeff Nehila, who signed off on the district's paperwork, said Alter would provide at least $1 million for construction of a passive and active park on each parcel.

Grayslake must contribute about $14 million in public money for sewer and road upgrades to expedite development for Alter and an adjoining property called Central Range. Grayslake's deal with Alter prohibits creation of a special taxing district for the developer.

Mayor Rhett Taylor said the Alter agreement serves as an example of how local governments can work together for a common cause.

"This is a very significant event for the village of Grayslake and for Lake County," Taylor said.

Cornerstone is projected to create 9,800 jobs, according to Lake County Partners, an economic development group.