How consultant says Des Plaines can reshape Metropolitan Square

$5.7 million in renovations includes stages, play areas

  • A sketch shows in-ground water jets and shade structures that are among the upgrades proposed for Metropolitan Square in Des Plaines.

    A sketch shows in-ground water jets and shade structures that are among the upgrades proposed for Metropolitan Square in Des Plaines. Courtesy of City of Des Plaines

  • A conceptual design shows shade structures at Metropolitan Square, Des Plaines' downtown mixed-use development. Improvements could cost as much as $5.7 million.

    A conceptual design shows shade structures at Metropolitan Square, Des Plaines' downtown mixed-use development. Improvements could cost as much as $5.7 million. Courtesy of City of Des Plaines

 
 
Updated 5/3/2016 4:50 AM

A consultant has suggested up to $5.7 million worth of renovations to Metropolitan Square in Des Plaines, the city's downtown mixed-use development, that could help draw more people to the low-visibility space.

Proposed additions to the square, presented at a city council meeting Monday night, include shade structures, decorative hanging lights, in-ground spray jets, children's play features and permanent or temporary stages for entertainment.

 

Conceptual drawings show two different plans: one that uses the existing traffic pattern, with cars navigating around the 5,870-square-foot, city-owned half circle in the middle of the development, and one with a four-way stop that officials say could maximize the square's usable area.

The first plan is estimated to cost between $2.8 million and $3.2 million, the latter $3.6 million to $3.9 million, though elements of each concept can be incorporated into a final plan, according to Daniel Grove, an associate principal with The Lakota Group, which the city hired to develop conceptual drawings.

Improvements costing $1.6 million to $1.8 million are proposed for Metropolitan Way, the street entrance that leads to the square from Miner Street. That could mean trees, overhead lighting, specialty street paving and wider sidewalks.

But it could also mean the elimination of as many as 11 angled parking spaces from the 19 that are currently there.

"You cannot eliminate all those parking spaces next to Sugar Bowl and by Leona's," said Alderman Patti Haugeberg, whose 1st Ward includes Metropolitan Square. "There are many businesses that use those parking spaces."

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Grove said the existing parking could be maintained, instead of trees being planted.

Some aldermen asked for an on-site walk-through with the consultant before making any decisions.

City officials will meet with the development's owner, World Class Capital Group, on Thursday to share the design plans. City Manager Mike Bartholomew said the owner would be asked in the future to help pay for improvements, which would also be funded through the city's downtown tax increment financing district and possible grants.

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