Naperville OKs developer as partner for 5th Avenue work
Ryan Companies will begin a community engagement process to define the scope of potential redevelopment along the 5th Avenue corridor near the Metra station in Naperville.
The city council approved a partnership with the Minneapolis-based firm Tuesday night, which will allow Ryan Companies to begin meetings with neighbors of the 13-acre area, commuters who use the station and others who would be affected.
The council's approval came with several caveats, and it will require the firm to check in during a workshop every two months to report on the input it has gathered and the formation of plans for the sites.
The 5th Avenue redevelopment area includes four parking lots, a former public works building, a water tower, an office building and the DuPage Children's Museum site, all of which are owned or leased by the city.
The community engagement process that now can begin will create ideas for what can be built on the sites. The process is expected to begin with public meetings Oct. 16 and 17 and culminate in delivery of a redevelopment concept and key business terms for city council consideration.
Mayor Steve Chirico encouraged council members to allow Ryan Companies to begin the work because redevelopment can improve stormwater management, parking, traffic and business amenities in the area near the city's Metra station. He said it's "past time" the city take steps to revitalize the area. Council members allowed the planning to begin by an 8-1 vote, with council member Becky Anderson in opposition.
"I think we can do better," Chirico said. "We need to improve this property."
The council's vote came after four residents spoke in favor of beginning the community engagement process led by Ryan Companies, but 17 voiced opposition and criticized the process used to identify Ryan as the city's partner.
Resident Laura Stellwagen Zeman said she is "distrustful of the process" and concerned neighbor concerns won't be heard by a development company with a vested interest in building something profitable on the land.
But Jim McDonald, vice president of real estate development for Ryan Companies, which has an office in Naperville, said the process will include a variety of ways for residents to share their thoughts, such as online and written surveys and stakeholder interviews.
The first meetings led by Ryan Companies are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16 and 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17 in meeting rooms A and B at the Naperville municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.