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updated: 12/10/2013 5:36 AM

Downtown Mount Prospect plan gets lukewarm endorsement

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  • Mount Prospect officials this month gave a qualified endorsement to a new plan outlining future development of the community's downtown. The village board's decision to "accept" rather than "adopt" the plan reflects reluctance and concerns about locking in a vision for the downtown.

       Mount Prospect officials this month gave a qualified endorsement to a new plan outlining future development of the community's downtown. The village board's decision to "accept" rather than "adopt" the plan reflects reluctance and concerns about locking in a vision for the downtown.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, 2007

 

In what appears to be a lukewarm endorsement to a new plan outlining the future of Mount Prospect's downtown, village trustees earlier this month voted to "accept" the report prepared by consultant, rather than adopt it.

The decision, while having little significant impact on how this and future village boards use what's been called the Downtown Implementation Plan, reflects some village leaders' reluctance to fully commit to it and lock the village into a particular vision for downtown.

Mayor Arlene Juracek suggested the softening of the language to accept rather than adopt, adding that the plan's ideas are "not cast in stone."

Anything stronger "to me almost restricts the marketplace response," she said.

Funded largely through a grant from the Regional Transportation Authority and prepared by Chicago-based consultant the Lakota Group, the plan was intended as a guide for the downtown's future. Some of its suggestions have been around for years, such as redevelopment of the "small triangle" site bounded by Northwest Highway, Route 83 and Busse Avenue. Others are new, like plans for South Prospect Avenue on the south side of the railroad tracks and ideas for the Mount Prospect Post Office should the postal service leave it.

The two volume, 256-page plan also examined ways to make the downtown more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

The initial goal was to incorporate the plan as an amendment to the village's comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2007. But along with accepting, rather than adopting, the plan last week, the village board opted not to make it a part of the comprehensive plan.

Trustee Paul Hoefert said he was concerned the plan could be used against the village at some point.

"If somebody comes and masses something similar to this, and we're not happy with it, either collectively or individually, would that person or group then say, 'Well, you approved the plan that showed almost the same kind of massing and, you know, if you approved that, why wouldn't you be in favor of what we're showing you tonight?'" he asked.

Community Development Director William Cooney said the document is not binding, "but clearly, it at least gives a signal to the development community that it's in the scale or concept of what you would consider."

Trustee Steven Polit praised the plan overall but had reservations about its suggestion that multifamily housing be built on the Lions Park site, saying it could cause traffic problems in the area.

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