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Downtown Development, Pension Reform Questions Raised at Public Meeting

Dozens of residents gathered Monday night to talk with Buffalo Grove Village President Jeff Braiman, Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman and State Rep. Sid Mathias (R-53rd).

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.”

Related story: 

“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.”

Peter Noonan August 15, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Who really wants a "downtown" (besides the developer)? Me... I want one!!! Are you for real Ellie? You are going to compare a suburban "downtown" to Chicago? Yeah, when I go to Naperville, Arlington Heights or Des plaines, or any suburban town with a "downtown" I think of Chicago...NOT! Finally...something around here other than a rundown stripmall! People want to know why Town Center is half empty? It's an ugly dump that no recognizable chain store would go into. Ellie, you sound like someone who is over the age of 70 and has probably lived here forever. My guess is your house is probably paid off or at least your not upside down on it. You should probably sell now and get out of BG before it turns into a town where people will actually want to come to. Or, you can wait until the downtown gets built and sell when your "southside" property value goes up because your in such close proximity to the downtown.
Stuart Tindall August 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Dude, that was harsh. Way to be a jerk.
Paul Kozem August 15, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Ellie sounds pretty rational to me, you must have a relative in the developers family to make such crazy statements. Leave Golf course alone and help fix up town center that the brilliant minds screwed up at conception .
C-Dub August 15, 2012 at 05:57 PM
All I have to say about Town Center is, if you polish a turd.....well, it is still a turd! TC will never amount to much, not easy to get in and out, it is an oversized strip mall that is a one shop stop. People will not go there for the main purpose of spending time walking up and down, even if it was full of shops. Give the downtown area a chance, it is still in it conceptual stage, so there will be tons of changes. Heck they may even make room for an executive par 3 course, which would suit me just fine.
Lori Gayhart August 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I am quite concerned regarding the building of yet another retail development. Wheeling has approved the same for the area of where Wickes Furniture used to be. less than 2 miles away they want to build more retail shops and condos. What about the current empty storefronts in BG Town Center? What about the empty space along the vacant Car dealerships on Dundee? Lae Cook Road is already a disaster during rush hour. Concerns about the current economy and the possibility of yet more uninhabited property? The area does not need 2 major retail areas. With larger retail space comes more crime and will the current BG police department be able to handle the increase traffic, crime and business? ALso a concern with the housing subdivision across the street. THere will be more traffic and Raupp Blvd will become more of a parking lot and thorough fare than it already is. BAD IDEA--- You see money, the community sees crime and unecessary ideas.

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