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Article posted: 6/21/2013 5:00 AM

Orchard trying to work with neighbors

This letter concerns The Orchard Evangelical Free Church's parking lot expansion and refers to the June 1 Daily Herald article.

I've lived in Arlington Heights and attended the church for about 35 years. I believe the church is trying to be a Good Neighbor! The Orchard allows sledders to park in our lot and use the church restrooms. Also overflow parking from school events at Olive and Thomas is welcome.

We have tried to find other solutions to our parking problem. As the church grew, street parking became a problem so restrictions were put in place and the church complied. To alleviate crowding, the church held multiple services on Sunday morning and Saturday evening, and hired a shuttle bus. About 200 people moved to a new Orchard campus in Barrington.

The inadequate parking is a problem for people trying to attend church. A mom with several children told me that she drove around trying to park but finally gave up and went home!

The church parking lot will not sit empty all week. Daytime Bible studies and evening activities meet at the church, so the parking is well-used many days and evenings besides on Sundays. The church's planned parking lot includes landscaping so will not appear to be a "larger-than-life parking lot".

The article stated that the organized neighbor group comes to the village board meetings to "speak against any plan that the Orchard submits" and another neighbor stated, that the only "acceptable" solution is "dropping the project." It would be more productive and neighborly for them to work with the church to help find answers to the parking problem!

It makes me sad when The Orchard is portrayed as the "villain" when we, as Good Neighbors, are trying to find a solution.

Cathy Richardson

Arlington Heights

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