Elgin residents want park to take over Sherman Hospital lots, survey shows
The NorthEast Neighborhood Association of Elgin hopes the results of a recent survey will help guide decisions about the future of an old Sherman Hospital parking area.
The online survey had about 150 respondents, mostly homeowners who live within six blocks of the two parking lots that straddle Center Street south of Slade Avenue, across from Sherman Hospital's old location at 901 Center St., said NENA board member K. Eric Larson.
Larson is a member of the city's parks and recreation advisory board and Tuesday night shared the survey results with members. He said he'll do the same when he meets with Advocate Sherman Hospital officials Friday.
The majority of survey respondents picked a park, followed by open space, as their preferred choices for the 5.3-acre area, Larson said. "Business development generated by far the greatest number of 'strongly against' responses," he said.
About half the respondents were amenable to residential development but with several caveats, such as staying away from apartment and condo buildings, he said.
"As we move forward, we want to be part of the planning, and now the results of the survey should be part of the planning," he said; however, "the board members know it's not just about our vote and the survey results -- there's economic issues."
The property, which belongs to Advocate Sherman Hospital, was listed for sale for a few months but was taken off the market around mid-March after a public meeting held by NENA, whose members were concerned about the potential negative consequences of future development.
Moving forward, NENA and the city will be involved in planning for the property, said Tonya Lucchetti-Hudson, the hospital's director of public affairs and marketing.
"Given the variety of ideas that were generated during the neighborhood meeting, and the fact we aren't under any pressure to sell the parking lots at this time, we felt it was best to take a step back and look at the future of the property as a whole rather than just a portion of it," she said.
The city's parks and recreation master plan, which dates back to 2011, identifies the Sherman parking lots as a potential park site that could include tennis and basketball courts, Parks and Recreation Director Randy Reopelle said.
Among the city's five districts, the northeast district has the lowest amount of park space, he said. "There is a deficit there," he said.