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Article updated: 11/4/2013 5:12 AM

Homes in Mt. Prospect post office site's future?

The Mount Prospect post office is on land well-suited for residential development should the facility close, according to a report by village consultants.

The Mount Prospect post office is on land well-suited for residential development should the facility close, according to a report by village consultants.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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A draft report on the future of downtown Mount Prospect offers a mix of the old and new.

Many of the redevelopment opportunities identified in the report have been on the village's radar for years -- like the northwest corner of Central Road and Main Street.

But the report also includes ideas that haven't been considered before.

One is at 300 W. Central Road, now occupied by the Mount Prospect post office.

No one is saying the post office should be relocated. But the report, taking into account what's happening to the postal service nationally, asks the question: What if?

"Post offices have started consolidating," said Kevin Clark, a vice president with the Lakota Group, the Chicago consultant that helped prepare the report. "There might not be nearly as many of them in the near future.

"Given that, we thought why not look at what could be done there."

The report suggests the post office could be redeveloped with as many as four purely residential buildings, and a fifth building that includes both residences and businesses.

The residents who could live there would make up a large, valuable support network for downtown shops, Lakota says.

Another new site in Lakota's report is 10 acres south of the commuter railroad tracks, near Lions Park. Bounded roughly by Prospect Avenue, Lincoln Street, School Street and Maple Street, the site has light industrial businesses, along with a 285-space parking lot for commuters.

The report says the industrial uses don't mesh well with the rest of the downtown area, and suggests redeveloping the area with multifamily residential buildings that would provide more support for shops on Prospect Avenue and throughout downtown.

"You have great proximity to the train station there, and one thing we always look for is transit-oriented development," Clark said. "Nicely designed residential would be ideal there."

Village officials have said they are intrigued by the post office and Lions Park suggestions.

"They're interesting ideas," Mayor Arlene Juracek said. "It's exciting to think what we might be able to accomplish downtown."

Lakota's report, compiled over 16 months, is still a draft document. In addition to exploring specific downtown sites, the report looks at ways to beautify the area and improve traffic flow for pedestrians, bicycles and cars. See the full report at thelakotagroup.com/mountprospect.

A public hearing on the report will be held Thursday, Nov. 14, at village hall. Village officials ask residents to view the report beforehand, if possible.

The village board likely will vote on the report in early 2014. If approved, it will be added to the village's Comprehensive Plan and guide future redevelopment efforts downtown.

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