The old Eastgate Shopping Plaza in Niles Township, which is being razed, should be completely removed by spring.

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Eastgate to be gone by spring

Published 5:02pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Niles Township Supervisor Jim Kidwell and probably many township residents are hoping the old Eastgate Shopping Plaza will become a thing of the past this year.

ML Developers, owner of the property, was aiming to have it  removed by the end of 2011. But Kidwell said it could be spring before the dilapidated, long-abandoned former shopping center is gone.

“It was slowed down when they found some more asbestos, but it should be done soon,” Kidwell said  Wednesday.

ML Developers’ plan is to turn the land into green space until a suitable developer comes into play, Kidwell said.

Other than the Eastgate demolition and some sidewalk work, 2011 saw very few projects in the township.

But it was a relatively strong year financially for the township, Kidwell said, with very few cuts needed to balance the budget.

“We’re in really good shape for next fiscal year, too,” he said.

Like most municipalities, finances are still tight so no major projects are planned for 2012, he added.

“It’s pretty quiet out here,” Kidwell said.

Quiet besides the tension between him and Township Treasurer Jim Ringler. The two have clashed heads on a variety of issues over the past year, including a dangerous animal ordinance that eventually passed. Recall attempts, anonymous letters, alleged secret meetings and accusations of wrongdoing fueled the fire between them in 2011.

Despite the tension  and the heat they’ve taken from some residents, both Kidwell and Ringler have indicated they will run for their seats again in 2012.

“I’m definitely going to run again,” Kidwell said. “We’ve come a long way in the past few years, and we have more work to do.”

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