Mundelein plaza plan now won't include fountain

Plans for a public gathering space in the now-vacant oval outside Mundelein's village hall will progress without a water feature - to the apparent frustration of Mayor Steve Lentz.

Walking paths, a public seating area and other features still are in the works.

Village hall long has been the only structure on Plaza Circle, a street constructed south of Hawley Street and east of Seymour Avenue about a decade ago specifically for the hall and future developments. Apartment buildings and townhouses are planned for the empty lots around the oval.

The village hired Deerfield engineering and design firm Kimley-Horn to develop plans for the oval. Senior project manager Daniel Grove unveiled its concept during the village board's committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday night.

Before Grove stepped to the lectern, however, Lentz talked glowingly about the public fountains in Kansas City, Missouri, and in Rome and the prospect of such a feature at Plaza Circle.

"Fountains are a thing," Lentz said.

Grove then talked about the elements his firm worked into the design for the space.

A fountain, planters, a pergola for shade and a stair-like seating area that would look north and could be used for live artistic performances are proposed for the south side of the oval.

Most of the north side would be an open, grassy area, Grove said.

Trees could be planted there, too, he added.

Barricades to protect people in the plaza from cars could be erected around some or all of the plaza.

The project could cost between $610,000 and $960,000, Grove said, depending on the options officials select.

Most trustees supported turning the land into public space. But none liked the fountain concept.

"I can't justify the cost," Trustee Erich Schwenk said.

Trustee Tim Wilson shared that concern and also said kids might cause problems by playing in a fountain.

Trustee Robin Meier noted Mundelein experiences "too much winter" to make a seasonal fountain worthwhile.

Lentz seemed flummoxed by the sentiments.

"Well, this took a turn," he said when the trustees were done.

Lentz said he'd previously spoken with the trustees individually and thought they liked the idea of a fountain in the plaza.

Lentz suggested Kimley-Horn start from scratch, but trustees said the plans merely need to be revised.

Village Administrator Eric Guenther said Kimley-Horn will revise the plans and come back to the board with cost estimates for future project phases in "coming months."

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This artwork shows a possible layout of a public plaza in the undeveloped oval outside Mundelein's village hall. Trustees want to build the plaza but recently opposed putting a fountain there, citing costs and other factors. Courtesy of Mundelein
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