Des Plaines park board OKs giving land to Mariano's developer

Des Plaines park board OKs it

 
 
Posted4/22/2015 5:30 AM
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  • A proposed Mariano's on the northeast corner of Mount Prospect and Golf roads at the site of a former bus company took a step forward Tuesday.

      A proposed Mariano's on the northeast corner of Mount Prospect and Golf roads at the site of a former bus company took a step forward Tuesday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, July 2014

  • A sketch shows the proposed Mariano's grocery store on the northeast corner of Golf and Mount Prospect roads in Des Plaines and the neighboring Blackhawk Park, which is due to receive some $670,000 worth of improvements under the plan.

    A sketch shows the proposed Mariano's grocery store on the northeast corner of Golf and Mount Prospect roads in Des Plaines and the neighboring Blackhawk Park, which is due to receive some $670,000 worth of improvements under the plan. Courtesy of Des Plaines Park District

A proposed Mariano's in Des Plaines is a step closer to becoming a reality Tuesday with the park board's approval of a plan giving the store's developer permission to use a portion of a neighboring park that would provide better access to the store.

The agreement, approved on a 4-0 vote of the board of commissioners, paves the way for developer Abbott Land & Investment Corp. to build a Mariano's on the northeast corner of Golf and Mount Prospect roads. Approvals would still be needed from the city, state Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and officials say it could be another two years before the store is ready to open.

The easement granted to Abbott allows for a driveway on the southern end of the park district's property, giving shoppers access to the grocery store's parking lot. The easement is necessary, officials say, since a new traffic light planned on Golf Road needs to be far enough from the existing streetlight at the intersection of Golf and Mount Prospect.

In exchange for granting an easement on the south side of Blackhawk Park at 190 E. Golf Road, the park district will receive $670,337 from Abbott to make improvements to the park.

Upgrades include a new 8-foot-wide asphalt walking path, picnic shelter, playground, 120-by-240-foot soccer field, and trees and landscaping. The park district will get easements on the east and north sides of the grocery store property for landscaping and the new walking path. Another walking path will connect the park to the grocery store.

"We all feel this is a great project for Des Plaines," said park board President Don Rosedale. "It's taking a blighted corner and making it into something we can be proud of. Our working relationship with Abbott has been tremendous. We're getting a new park for allowing them to drive on our property."

The Daily Herald reported last July that representatives of Mariano's were interested in opening a store at the 9-acre former Motor Coach Industries property.

Park district Executive Director Don Miletic said he was approached by Abbott officials last May to discuss a deal that could allow redevelopment of the shuttered bus company site, as well as improvements to the neighboring 5-acre park, which has only a ballfield now.

"The park will be utilized much more with a Mariano's than with an abandoned bus depot," Miletic said.

Michael Pesola, a resident who lives near Blackhawk Park, told park board commissioners he opposes the Mariano's because it would lead to constant noise and pollution from trucks unloading goods to the store, and said the park board shouldn't consider the plan before the city council handles zoning for the site.

He questioned whether the park district was following its motto, "Enriching lives every day."

"You should be enriching the lives of citizens, not enriching the guy who owns Mariano's," Pesola said.

If additional approvals are granted, officials say construction could begin by the spring of 2016.

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