Glenview works to renovate downtown

Glenview works to renovate downtown

A NEW “VIEW”: Standing at 1020 Waukegan Road, Heinen’s Fine Foods (right) adds a new and fresh look to the community and provides a convenient place for citizens to do their grocery shopping. Recent additions such as Corepower Yoga (left) also have enhanced the downtown Glenview area.

Grace Shin, staff writer

The Glenview Village Board of Trustees has taken active roles in the Downtown Revitalization Project since 2014 in an effort to reconstruct downtown Glenview.

The project has been an ongoing process, starting in the early 90’s, according to Village Manager Don Owen. Downtown Glenview has been through many developments, from road changes to new stores being implemented, with Board President Jim Patterson leading the project since he became president in 2013.

“This [is] something that’s been cooking for a number of years,” Patterson said. “[…] The Village Board in 2003 made a decision there, or somewhere right around there, to take eminent domain of Epco, which was a paint store, and of the post office property downtown in order to expand and rebuild the library downtown. That was probably the first cornerstone because that was meant to attract and keep people downtown.”

According to the Board members, the progression of the project is a very slow process. Not only were there problems with the progress of the project but also with the members throughout the community.

“Nothing happens quick and easy,” Patterson said. “There are always people that dispute. There are people that are in support of [the development of the downtown], and there are people that are opposed to it because of their perception of what’s right or wrong. […] The wind blows both ways, and the Village Board works really hard to get multiple opinions to have a consensus and a vision.”

But, as a way to solve multiple problems that were occurring within the community, the Board tried to take a brand-new approach in the project, according to Jeff Brady, planning director of the Community Development Department.

“They call it a three-legged stool,” Brady said. “If one leg isn’t working, well then, [it] isn’t going to be stable, and it’s going to fall down. So you need to look at all three of the legs.”

In June of 2008, the Board adopted the Form-Based Code, which focused on the design of what the downtown would be instead of the number of units that would be on the site, according to Brady.

“We were prescribing exactly what we wanted to see,” Brady said. “The idea for us was that, as long as we were doing it in the realm of our revitalization plan […] we created a code to make sure those projects can work, and we told the developers exactly how we wanted the developments to come about. And in 2008, we passed a brand-new code to try and do that, and then we [got] the reception.”

Some of the projects that are currently being added to the community are the Midtown Square development at 1800 Glenview Road, Riverforest at 1160-1200 Waukegan Road and Heinen’s Fine Foods at 1020 Waukegan Road.

Junior Isabela Galarza has reported that Heinen’s, in particular, was a very successful addition for those that live in, or near, the downtown Glenview area. Patterson says that the residents in the downtown have thought that a grocery store was something essential to their community.

“What came out of the downtown was the fact that people said they really wanted a grocery store there,” Patterson said. “That was one of the things that everyone thought was important and so, one of the things that we did at that point, is when Dominicks property was for sale, the Village Board made a decision to acquire it.”

According to the Board members, the start of the project has taken a large effect on the community.

“I think it [definitely] has an effect, I mean the effect initially was excitement,” Board Member Deborah Karton said. “[The community] saw a lot of development. […] Heinen’s has been a great addition to the Village, so that’s been exciting. With the Midtown Square apartments, it’s bringing people into the Village, and that’s always exciting. So I think it’s definitely a positive thing for the village.”

Patterson and Karton both agree that they hope the outcome of the revitalization of the downtown community will be for it to attract more community members. However, Owen would like for the downtown to be more of a cultural center and a place where members of the community are able to come together.

“I think that [the downtown] will continue to grow and become a great cultural center for Glenview,” Owen said. “It’s our downtown; it’s our identity.”