How Rolling Meadows aldermanic candidates view future of Arlington Park tract
With Arlington Park bordering Rolling Meadows, the Daily Herald asked the suburb's aldermanic candidates what the city should do to try to influence the expected redevelopment of the site.
Candidates in contested races are incumbent Karen McHale and David Whitney in the 1st Ward; and Bradley Judd and incumbent Jenifer Vinezeano in the 4th Ward.
Here's what they had to say.
Q. Given the upcoming sale of the Arlington racetrack just outside of town, what kind of development would you prefer to see as a replacement?
McHale, 1st Ward: I have fond memories of Arlington Park and attending races with my family on many special occasions or just because it was a beautiful summer afternoon. It will be bittersweet to see it go, but what an exciting opportunity for Arlington Heights to put something really special in its place! Though it may be premature to identify a specific "kind" of development, it will be important to make sure any development plans would have an emphasis on long-term positive economic impact not just for the specific location but also in consideration of the surrounding areas. It would be my preference that any development should also complement the existing surrounding businesses. It is a huge property in an ideal location with convenient highway access, the Metra line, and other public transportation, so there is a lot of potential there for everyone in the community to benefit as homeowners and as business owners.
Whitney, 1st Ward: Arlington Heights has been planning for the closure since 2019. Mayor Tom Hayes has indicated that Arlington Heights favors a mixed use of the property with retail, residential, commercial, and entertainment including potentially a music or sports venue. Even with a stadium type venue for sports or entertainment, mixed use will probably be necessary. My preference would be to include retail and commercial that is unique to the area and would supplement existing Rolling Meadows and Arlington Heights businesses. I would support a sports or music venue as entertainment options in the area are sparse and either would support other businesses in the development and surrounding areas. Multiunit housing especially walking distance from the train station would be a benefit to the area and could be fashioned after downtown Arlington Heights with retail mixed in. This property will be competing with the continued development of the Motorola property in Schaumburg. That property has been slow to develop and lessons learned there should be applied.
Judd, 4th Ward: Obviously with this being confined to Arlington Heights we here in Rolling Meadows have little to no say in what AH approves or seeks for the property. That being said I would prefer to see a mixed use development that includes single family housing as well as condominiums and townhouses. I think the property is well positioned to take advantage of the Arlington Park train station and create another downtown environment with multi story residences built up and above commercial including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and shopping similar than that of the Domain in Austin Texas. This would include open areas for walking and gathering as well as minimal vehicular traffic. There would need to be some parking garages but much of the parking for residents should be underground to utilize the space and also for the safety and security of the residents. There could also be so open green space for parks and sporting events. Depending on the make up of the property one could envision some low rise office structures on the western side of the property.
Vinezeano, 4th Ward: I think it premature to comment on the type of development at this time. I do however, hope that whatever does replace the racetrack brings economic prosperity to all of the surrounding communities.
Q. How should the city of Rolling Meadows proceed in trying to influence any development of Arlington Park?
McHale, 1st Ward: Whatever Arlington Heights ultimately decides will happen to this property will directly affect Rolling Meadows with traffic resources and other infrastructure needs. It is my hope that there will be open dialogue and collaboration between all the surrounding communities, as this could be a great opportunity to enhance regional development.
Whitney, 1st Ward: Since developing a property this size will impact more than just Arlington Heights, I would propose proactively forming a regional group that includes Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, and Palatine at a minimum to look at the property from a broader perspective. Without this it may be difficult for Rolling Meadows to influence what happens with this property. As public hearings on zoning changes come up, Rolling Meadows City Council and Staff should be represented at these hearings. Prior to these hearings, anything proposed that may negatively impact the City of Rolling Meadows, its businesses and/or its residents should be discussed with Arlington Heights. At the hearings, concerns should be brought up to get them on the public record. We must be proactive on this and willing to spend time and effort to make sure that the property use is a positive for Rolling Meadows.
Judd, 4th Ward: I think the City of RM should have a seat at the table for a couple reasons. The City of RM has jurisdictional control of Rohlwing Rd north of Euclid Rd which borders the west side of the property. Any access would surely impact the road and intersections associated with such. As well, the City has MABAS agreements with AH and Palatine and due to the proximity of the RM fire station on Hicks one could see a significant rise in the calls we will get, which may require additional resources. This is something that needs to be considered as the City of RM will not be getting any tax revenue to help with these costs. Most likely the development will be in school districts 214 and 15 which will help with the cost associated with additional students but again the impact on roads needs to be resolved. Having some kind of tax revenue sharing albeit as a small percentage should be the goal as AH is better able to handle the additional costs than RM. Making sure this is a win and not a loss for the City of RM financially should be considered by AH in order to have a good relationship.
Vinezeano, 4th Ward: I don't think city of Rolling Meadows as an influence in this development as the property is located in Arlington Heights. As a city council member I would offer my support for the city of Rolling Meadows to be apart of the discussion and or planning of the site.