Tofte is a community on the 'West End' of Cook County. Photo by Joe Friedrichs
Joe Friedrichs

Proposed projects could give Tofte a new look by 2023

Two proposed developments in Tofte could reshape the landscape of Cook County’s west end in the coming years, though what role local government should play in the projects remains unclear.

That was the message from the Cook County Board of Commissioners following a committee of the whole discussion April 20.

The two projects are independent of each other. Both would be located in Tofte near Highway 61. The first project, known as the Downtown Tofte Buildings, would include both retail and housing units in two stand-alone structures. To learn more about the project and view blueprints and specifics, click here. Information about this project was shared during the committee of the whole meeting by former Bluefin Bay owner Dennis Rysdahl and a current member of the ownership team, Joe Swanson.

The other project proposed during the April 20 meeting is known as Sawbill Village. To view the specifics on this project, click here. Information on this development was shared by Rob Dieter.

Both developments and the representatives leading them are asking Cook County to offer tax abatements for the projects. A tax abatement allows the county to reduce a parcel or property of its property tax for economic development purposes or because a property fits a specific need of the county. In this case, representatives for each project highlight the fact the developments will address the housing issue in Cook County, indeed a critical issue locally. Also included in the package would be retail and restaurants, which raises the notion of an equal playing field for future development of other businesses in Cook County with regard to taxes paid, according to County Administrator James Joerke.

As both of the projects in Tofte are in their early stages there is likely to be more discussion around the proposed developments, particularly at the county level, Joerke said. He spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about both of the projects and where and when tax abatements should be utilized. The audio below is their full conversation.