Downtown II - This time is personal.

Another downtown? The Village worked on the first one for a decade and a half. What to do about our current downtown and what have we learned to be sure another Town Center does not occur?

The past is prologue and we must learn to revisit it so that we do not make the same mistakes.   I am all for a downtown area for Buffalo Grove.  I think Buffalo Grove suffers from not having a downtown and I would love to walk the downtown area and support our local businesses.

However, I am not convinced that plowing the golf course for the purpose of essentially trying to establish downtown II is a good idea.  Not, at least, the residents of the village are convinced that nothing can be down to redevelop the Town Center and to be sure our Trustees have learned the lessons from the past.

Go back to January 28, 1979.  The Chicago Tribune stated that our officials believed we needed a town center and that they were "...not interested in a regional or strip shopping center."  They spoke of a possible library on the site.  A combination of retain and open space. 

Jump to January 17, 1982 and they were still taking about transforming "the historic area at Lake-Cook and Buffalo Grove Roads into a "downtown" district of shopping and office complexes."

On August 18, 1987, The Trib reported that "Buffalo Grove finally will get a downtown."  Town Center was described as "a mall-type tenant mix in a neighborhood shopping center" and something that the municipality has long sought for its main shopping district.

Race forward to present day, and it is generally agreed that Town Center has been a flop.  Clearly its not a downtown nor a main shopping district.  It does have retail - though most stores have not lasted.  It does have open space - though instead of being integrated into the shopping district, the open space is off on its own alongside the post office - not easily accessible from the retail area.  How nice it would have been to have a nice area to sit and relax while shopping.  Remember the old Mill and pond at Golf Mill?   

So what went wrong?  The Village obviously spent a lot of time trying to create a downtown area.  Many years in fact.  Why don't we already have out downtown?

President Braiman shrugs off ideas about Town Center revitalization because the Village has limited control over the Town Center.  Why is that?  Why did the Village give up so much control over the development of an area they considered "historic"?

There may be very reasonable answer to these questions.  Buffalo Grove residents deserve the answers.  We also need to know why there is nothing to be done about redeveloping the Town Center - even if means tearing down the current retail are and rebuilding - and even if tax incentive need to be given to get it down.

If nothing really can be done, what happens to Town Center?  Does it eventually become nothing more than a parking lot in the historic area of the village?

More importantly, Buffalo Grove residents need to know that the Village Trustees have done their homework, understand what went wrong in the process of developing our first "downtown" and what they are going to do to be sure the same mistakes are made in developing "downtown II."

These types of projects affect a village for years to come - in character, in quality of life, in revenue required to provide services, in taxes.  Let's not let another Town Center be thrust upon our Village - at least not without the consenus of its residents and certainly not until we are assured that we have, indeed, learned from the past.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

betty September 11, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I am a resident of Cook County BG. My husband and I bought our home in 1988. A charming little house on Crestview Terrace, right off of St Mary's Pkwy. The reason that we LOVED the neighborhood was because of it's country charm. We loved that we could walk to Buffalo Grove Days, we loved that our children could ride their bikes and walk to school, we loved the mature trees, we loved that we could let our children play near the streets and not fear for their safety. The quiet, cozy, comfortable feel or our neighborhood is what sold us. This is the way this area of BG should remain! If a "New Downtown" is in the future of BG then why not build it where it belongs in Lake County BG where there is more space and will accommodate the additional traffic. Also a low end estimate of $320 million that could take 8 to 10 yrs to build...where is this revenue supposed to come from, the taxpayers who are already stretched beyond our limits. I can just see it now, project started and left unfinished for years and years. The last thing we want to see is another "expansion" project of Lake Cook Rd or Buffalo Grove Rd or Rt 83, which is what will be next on the agenda. There are so many reasons that we do not want this project and so many concerns that we have as village residents. We are supposed to entrust our village trustees to act in the best interest of it's residents...why doesn't this board do this? Perhaps it's time for new village board trustees.
betty September 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
On another note...I read thru the comments left by others and am disgusted that they would speak to a former village board member they way they did in this post. It is so distasteful, unnecessary and classless. It takes away from what is important here and that is constructive discussion about what to do about this development project.
Cyn October 18, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Well said, Betty. I am an unbiased person and find it more a reflection on their character than anything else. Shame.
" It is so distasteful, unnecessary and classless. " Yep ... just like how she's treated the board and village staff and anyone else that doesn't bow down and kiss her royal ring and just agree with her. What's good for the gander is good for the (silly) goose!
Momma October 28, 2012 at 02:47 PM
The thought of having a "downtown" area does sound nice BUT in today's economy NO! There as so many empty stores around just "sitting" that I feel this would be a mistake. I recall that when "Town Center" went up that was supposed to be like a "downtown" area. Unfortunately, it did not take off. I had heard that McD's had wanted to move in but was told they were not "upscale" enough! They went down the street and joined Wheeling. If this is true, what a loss it was for us!


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