Des Plaines residents will see the return of the city's summer festival this year and possibly the building of a new sporting attraction: a 24-hour professional cycling arena.
Mayor Marty Moylan today announced the city is working with a developer interested in building a velodrome, which would provide a 250-meter indoor track for professional bicycle training and competition.
The city also is partnering with Special Events Management to bring back a four-day summer festival in place of the defunct Taste of Des Plaines.
Moylan addressed the city's business community during the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry's annual mayor's breakfast.
If plans for the arena move forward, the project could cost anywhere between $15 and $20 million that would be funded entirely by private investors, Moylan said.
"Architects and planners have spent countless hours on blueprints and plans and have parcels in mind that they would like to develop," Moylan said.
City officials are considering three possible locations where such an arena could be built: the ACE Rent-A-Car site off Mannheim and Higgins roads; the former Littelfuse site along Northwest Highway; and land off Golf Road west of River Road south of Holy Family Medical Center, which used to be home to a junkyard.
If the developer goes with the former junkyard site, the city would seek environmental grants for its cleanup, Moylan said.
"I have been approached by several professional bicycling enthusiasts," said Moylan, an avid cyclist who helped establish the Tour of Des Plaines and the Tour De Villas.
Moylan said the arena would have national and international appeal for the cycling community, and would be the only one of its kind in the Midwest.
"We don't want to be known just as a casino town," Moylan said speaking of the city's under-construction casino set to open in July near River Road and Devon Avenue.
"We wanted to be able to have championship races. We wanted to liven up the northern part of Des Plaines. This would launch Des Plaines, once again, into the forefront, this time as a major center for sporting activities, as the use of this facility could be multifaceted."
Since city officials cut funding for the annual Taste of Des Plaines, which wrapped up its 10th year in 2010, the planned four-day summer festival will be held at "no cost to the city," Moylan said.
Dubbed the Des Plaines Summer Fling, the festival will include a carnival and run Thursday through Sunday in July. Dates have not yet been announced.
Moylan said the private group organizing it also runs festivals for Naperville, River Grove, and numerous other towns with 30 full-time and 150 part-time employees.