The proposed downtown Buffalo Grove was the focus of the conversation at a by three elected officials who live in the village.
Village President Jeff Braiman, Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman and State Rep. Sid Mathias delivered updates from their respective offices and fielded questions from the crowd.
Of the 50 or so citizens who gathered in the Community Services building, 13 had the chance to ask questions about matters facing the community. Six of those questions pertained to a developer’s proposal to convert the and municipal campus into .
Citizens asked Braiman questions and voiced concerns about traffic congestion, the housing market and the viability of the center when the nearby Town Center is struggling.
Braiman said the village has limited control over Town Center, which is private property at the northwest corner of Lake-Cook and McHenry roads. The proposed downtown would stretch along Lake-Cook Road on land currently owned by the village.
Lake-Cook Road, Stolman said, is traveled by 103,000 cars each day.
“It’s very, very exciting. It’s not a done deal. There are a lot of issues, there are a lot of questions,” Braiman said, referring to zoning, flood control and funding matters that would need to be ironed out before the development could proceed.
Debbie Benjamin, owner of the in the Town Center, said the village is “not very business friendly” which is why there are empty storefronts. She suggested that the village invest in revitalizing the Town Center rather than build a downtown. The developer’s proposal includes a new movie theater on the golf course property.
“A lot of them are the same businesses” that the village already has, Benjamin said.
“We don’t know what’s going to be filled in there. We don’t even know that it’s going to be built,” Braiman responded. A series of Plan Commission meetings and public hearings would take place first, he said.
Braiman added that he has received positive feedback about the downtown proposal from people he’s talked to around town. “People seem to be thrilled about it,” he said.
Pension reform, water
Meanwhile, Mathias fielded questions about pension reform and local water issues.
A retired educator and a current teacher both posed questions about how pension reform would impact their retirement income. The state is facing an $85 billion shortfall in its public pension funds, which include teacher retirement.
The General Assembly will reconvene Friday, and Mathias said he’s not expecting legislators to arrive at an immediate solution.
“As far as what’s going to happen, I don’t think anything’s going to happen this week,” he said. “There’s a lot of proposals out there, but no one has been able to say, ‘Let’s put all the good ideas together.’”
“To say, ‘Let’s put it on the local homeowners’ when taxes are so high already, I don’t think that’s the solution,” he added.
Another citizen, who later identified himself on Patch as Stuart Tindall, asked Mathias to weigh in on Buffalo Grove’s “water issues.”
“I’m not sure there is an issue with the water in Buffalo Grove,” Mathias said.
“There isn’t,” Tindall responded.
“I agree with you,” Mathias said.
Lake County update
No questions were lobbed directly at Stolman, but like the other panelists, he had the opportunity to speak about issues within his jurisdiction. The Lake County Board chairman took the opportunity to praise his government’s balanced budget, low operating costs and open communication methods, which include an informative website and live traffic updates on Lake County Passage.
He also acknowledged the at Libertyville’s Motorola Mobility. “I feel bad that there will be so many affected people,” he said. “My heart goes out. Everybody’s suffering.”