Last fall the Village of River Forest and its Economic Development Commission (EDC) announced plans to begin developing the village-owned land at the corner of Lake Street and Park Avenue. Based on the parcel's proximity to the Lake Street corridor and ease of access the location provides to various Metra and CTA transit options, recently proposed and EDC-supported plans for a six story, 80 unit mixed-use project at the intersection make practical sense. But at a community meeting last Friday, dozens of local residents raised concerns both about the project and the supposed speed it was moving through municipal processes, OakPark.com reports.
The parcel at the corner of Lake Street and Park Avenue forms the western end of a separately proposed new business district along Lake Street starting at Lathrop Avenue. The area was formerly a tax increment financing (TIF) district until the designation expired in 2010. The designation of a new business district on the corridor would be intended to stimulate economic and commercial growth for the village. Using a dense, mixed-use project to anchor the corridor has the potential to encourage more rapid growth, but community concerns about utilities, school impact, and—in typical suburban mode—parking and traffic, are now causing the EDC to further re-evaluate plans for the site. Other proposals, including town homes and condos, have stressed mixed-use and transit orientation, which is promising, especially if River Forest is interested in attracting the younger professional set. But now that community concerns have been heard, the next step for the site may involve a market analysis, which will help determine what type of housing—if any—will work for the corridor. In other words, more work to be done before the work can be done.
·All previous River Forest coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·River Forest aims to jump-start Lake Street business district [Chicago Tribune]
·Developing Lake and Park site top River Forest priority [OakPark.com]