Mundelein proposes facade improvement program for Lake Street businesses
Seeking to make the downtown area more appealing, Mundelein officials on Monday unveiled a plan to beautify retail buildings along a one-block stretch of Lake Street using public and private funds.
The project would create new facades for buildings primarily on the east side of Lake Street between Park Street and an alley north of Hawley Street. Decorative awnings and signs could be added, too.
Second stories could be added to some of the buildings as well.
Participation would be voluntary.
Improvements would be funded by the businesses or building owners, with reimbursements of up to 50 percent available through the village's Business Incentive Grant program.
That program provides money to help local businesses or commercial landlords improve the aesthetics of their buildings.
The Lake Street improvements aren't expected to be completed all at once, nor would participating buildings be expected to take on the same architectural elements.
The program was announced during Monday night's village board meeting.
After a presentation, the village board agreed to hire Allen + Pepa Architects of Geneva to meet with the property owners and develop some conceptual drawings for the project.
Architect Lane Allen called it an interesting assignment.
"We love challenges," Allen told the board. "I think there's a lot of opportunities here."
The architectural work will cost $36,500, with the money to come from a Lake County community development grant Mundelein already is set to receive.
Village officials called the effort unique.
"There is no model for this proposed program," village Community Development Director Amanda Orenchuk said in a memo. "We are trying something new to see how it impacts downtown Mundelein."
Officials have been trying to improve the downtown area for decades. In the late 1990s, they added wider sidewalks and decorative lamps and planters as a way to lure pedestrian shoppers and help businesses thrive. But the changes didn't have much of an impact.
More recently, the business grant program and a sign ordinance designed to create some uniformity throughout town were implemented.