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updated: 7/11/2013 5:45 AM

East Dundee deciding on focal point for plaza

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  • A draft of the proposed Depot Plaza master plan in East Dundee.

    A draft of the proposed Depot Plaza master plan in East Dundee.
    Courtesy of Vandewalle and Associates


East Dundee trustees this week got a look at a draft plan to redevelop the Depot Plaza Square, and are still debating the type of water feature they need to best draw people to the downtown.

The Square is the first step in East Dundee's larger efforts to revitalize its downtown, Village President Lael Miller said Wednesday.

Other projects include redeveloping the old lumber yard north of Barrington Avenue as well as the lumber yard on the south side of the planned plaza, building a park by the Fox River and rebuilding the parking lot at the Anvil Club.

"This is part of an overall plan to renovate the downtown and breathe some life into it," Miller said of the plaza project. "This is just one piece of the puzzle."

The draft plan for the plaza, designed by Milwaukee-based Vandewalle and Associates, shows bike racks areas, brick pavers, various informational kiosks, planters, a brick entrance and terrace and new lighting.

The Fox River Bike Trail cuts right through it.

Right now, a fountain is listed as the plaza's centerpiece -- a splash park was initially slotted for that space but trustees put that idea aside due to the $500,000 expense.

As a result, Jeff Maloney, principal for Vandewalle and Associates, presented a new plan with a fountain in place of the splash park.

Trustee Rob Gorman questions whether a fountain will really serve as a popular point of interest.

He pointed to the fountain at Grafelman Park in nearby West Dundee, one he said is used more for prom pictures than as an attraction.

"We've going to have to do something to create a draw downtown," Gorman said. "A fountain isn't going to do it."

Trustee Jeff Lynam defended the fountain, saying fountains have come a long way in the last 15 years. But he also said another water feature of another sort could be a nice addition for the plaza.

"Even a waterfall, a wall, I mean, there's a lot of different types of water features you can do," Lynam said.

Maloney will return to the board in about a month to present other water-related options.

They include fountains with more interactive features such as water jets or bubblers, he said.

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