New Long Grove residents group formed to address downtown concerns, other issues

 
 
Updated 10/16/2018 4:05 PM
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  • Ben Finch has founded the Long Grove Residents Group, which plans to have a formal relationship with village officials similar to how an organization for downtown businesses has operated.

      Ben Finch has founded the Long Grove Residents Group, which plans to have a formal relationship with village officials similar to how an organization for downtown businesses has operated. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Ben Finch has founded the Long Grove Residents Group, which plans to have a formal relationship with village officials similar to how an organization for downtown businesses has operated.

      Ben Finch has founded the Long Grove Residents Group, which plans to have a formal relationship with village officials similar to how an organization for downtown businesses has operated. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Concerns about the future of downtown Long Grove and other issues have led to formation of a new group representing residents' interests in front of the village government. Ben Finch founded the Long Grove Residents Group, which plans to have a formal relationship with village officials.

      Concerns about the future of downtown Long Grove and other issues have led to formation of a new group representing residents' interests in front of the village government. Ben Finch founded the Long Grove Residents Group, which plans to have a formal relationship with village officials. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

Concerns about the future of downtown Long Grove and other issues have led to formation of a new group representing residents' interests in front of village government.

Founded by Ben Finch, the Long Grove Residents Group plans to have a formal relationship with village officials similar to how an organization for downtown businesses has operated. He said he wants to grow the group beyond its current 100 or so members.

Some issues on which Finch said residents should have more input include the direction of downtown redevelopment and the possibility of it becoming an entertainment destination, late-evening closing times for festivals, and reconstruction of the Robert Parker Coffin Road covered bridge that was damaged by a truck in the summer.

"The ultimate goal of this group is to obviously give a voice to the residents, provide well-being for residents," said Finch, who has lived in the covered bridge's shadow for nearly five years. "But it's, long term, to figure out a way to bring residents back to downtown. And I mean that 100 percent."

Finch already has the ear of village officials. He credited them for being responsive when he raised concerns on behalf of residents about what turned out to be a half marathon Oct. 6 that didn't have a village permit. There were morning closures on Checker, Cuba and Old Hicks roads to accommodate the run.

Village President Bill Jacob said he was unaware of the half marathon before Finch alerted Long Grove officials. With new businesses opening and construction activity on Old McHenry Road, coupled with the damaged bridge. there is much more activity downtown to spark residents' interest, he added.

"If you live near there, it can be challenging," Jacob said, "so I get the fact that some of those concerns are being raised. I welcome the feedback. I do. I tell them, keep coming with ideas. It's good to share. I support (the group)."

Finch said he expects some pushback on group stances, such as wanting the festivals and other outdoor events downtown to end earlier than 11 p.m.

"And that's a process that we're going to have to work through with them," he said. "And it's going to be contentious, probably. But there's a lot of positive from that, too. We understand the businesses and what they need to be doing to make money."

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