Highland Park City Council to Approve Financial Relief for Commercial Tenants in City-Owned Property – Encourages Landlords to Join Effort
Decision follows other actions to provide relief to residents and businesses due to economic impacts of COVID-19
April 3, 2020 – The Highland Park City Council will be approving financial relief for commercial tenants renting City-owned property at its meeting on Monday, April 6, 2020. This action will provide rent abatement for The Art Center - Highland Park, Morning Blend Coffee Shop, and Catering by Michaels. The City has encouraged landlords to also seek opportunities to providing relief for their tenants.
The City Council’s action follows previous steps by the City to support residents and businesses through economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, including the suspension of late fees for water bills as well as licensing citations and associated payments. The City is working cooperatively with other local governments in the community, plus health care agencies and State and Federal authorities. The City’s web site includes information about resources, programs and services to support residents and businesses. Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order, which essentially implemented a shelter-in-place directive effective March 21, 2020, has been extended through April 30, 2020. The measure aims to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 to avoid overwhelming the state’s healthcare system.
“The Governor’s Stay at Home Order will save lives, but also has wide-reaching financial implications for businesses and residents,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “While we do not know exactly how this pandemic will impact the City budget, we believe it is incumbent upon us to do our part as community leaders to seek immediate and long-term opportunities for financial relief for businesses and residents as they also experience unplanned loss of revenue.” Several property owners, including the Loeb Family, the Roberts Family, and Mark Schneider have already taken similar steps to assist their small business tenants through rent abatements. The City has been communicating with commercial property owners about offering similar assistance to their business tenants.
The Art Center of Highland Park (TAC), a not-for-profit organization offering art classes, exhibits, and lectures, has had to issue refunds for spring classes, and its planned facility rentals have been canceled. The organization operates within a City-owned building at 1957 Sheridan Road. The City Council’s action will provide rent abatement from March through May 2020, totaling $9,000.
Morning Blend, a coffee shop operating within the Downtown Highland Park Train Station, saw a steep decline in commuter traffic even before all train station depot buildings in Highland Park were closed. The City’s action will provide rent abatement from March through May 2020, totaling $1,645.
Catering by Michaels provides catering and banquet services for events at the City-owned Highland Park Country Club. Under an agreement with the City, Catering by Michaels makes monthly utility payments to the City. As all previously planned events at Highland Park Country Club have been canceled through May 2020, the Council’s action will waive utility fees for March through May 2020, totaling $900.
The City Council will meet on Monday, April 6, at 4:30pm via video conference, pursuant to the Governor’s order temporarily suspending the Open Meetings Act’s requirement of an in-person quorum for meetings of public bodies. Members of the public will be provided an opportunity to call-in to listen to the meeting via conference call with public comment allowed during the designated portion of the agenda. Call-in information and the agenda packet are available on the City’s website at www.cityhpil.com. Individuals interested in asking questions or making comments are welcome to email the City at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals without access to email should call 847.926.1000 to leave a message with questions or comments. Comments for the City Council meeting will be read during the Business from the Public portion of the meeting.
Information about the City’s response to COVID-19 and resources is available at www.cityhpil.com/covid-19. Residents and businesses can contact 847.926.1000 with questions or email email@example.com.