Mount Prospect mayoral candidates disagree over Maple Street Lofts project
Mount Prospect mayoral candidates fielded questions on a wide range of topics, including affordable housing, sidewalks and the impact of new construction downtown, at a forum Sunday hosted by the League of Women Voters.
Three current village trustees -- Colleen Saccotelli. Paul Hoefert and William Grossi -- are vying for the mayor's office in the April 6 election. Mayor Arlene Juracek is not seeking reelection after two terms in office.
One point of contention was the development of Maple Street Lofts, a $110 million mix of retail space, apartments and row homes on the south side of downtown near the Metra station.
While fielding a question about the "mess" and lack of parking around the construction site, Hoefert was critical of the project. He was the only village board member to vote against the development when it was approved in 2019.
"That development is very intense, and it's frankly in the wrong place," he said, adding that the majority of village board members "discounted what the people who already live in that area know and understand would happen."
"Everybody was counting on those residents riding the train," Hoefert said. "Now nobody's riding the train, so those people are going to be driving to work. And where do you think they are going to go? They're going to try to get to Mount Prospect Road. They're going to try to get to Northwest Highway. But they won't be able to get across the tracks and they won't be able to navigate down those small streets. So what will happen? It will turn and go south into our neighborhoods."
Grossi said he would contact the village manager to see if the project is following code during construction.
"Parking should be adequate at the present time, because nobody is using any of the lots to go (to Chicago)," he said.
Saccotelli said the development should not create traffic problems.
"People aren't taking the train right now. Most people are working from home. So I don't see traffic coming from that," she said. "And then when people transition to work, they will be transitioning back to using the train. That's why we're creating all this transit-oriented development."
The candidates also talked about the need to link paths and sidewalks in town for bicyclists and pedestrians.
"I am very much interested in finishing sidewalks that aren't connected to other sidewalks so people can move freely," Saccotelli said
Hoefert said that the village for 30 years has been completing the sidewalks left unfinished or unconnected.
"That's been a huge focus, and I have supported spending every dollar," he said.
Grossi said there is a lack of connectivity between the northeastern part of the village and destinations such as Randhurst Village and village hall.
"It's very difficult to ride a bike there," he said. "I have done it on a number of occasions. You take your life into your own hands."
Streetlights should also be a priority, he said, noting they are lacking on well-traveled thoroughfares like Euclid Avenue and Kensington Road.