Take a look at the word “suburban”.
Now deconstruct it.
As an ad campaign for a local newspaper chain years ago proclaimed – “The root of suburban is urban”.
As journalist Linda Ellerbee would say, “And so it goes.”
And it has. Look around the village, watch the Village Board meetings and you can easily see how “the urban” has consumed not only Buffalo Grove, but the northwest suburbs. Once was a time when a trip to Chicago was a big event, not it’s a rarity. Crime was in a city thing -- and street gangs – they was a problem for the cities to deal with “those people.”
The two-lane roads are now four-lane highways ringed by interstates with plans to extend them even further.
What people once considered a bedroom community is now just part of the urban sprawl that brings with it new challenges and changes, which are a both welcomed and despised.
Take for example, the proposed of the 65-acre instant downtown. The high-priced planners’ rendering make it seem as though the wizard has brought us oz. He hasn’t. And he’s not the first one to try.
At issue, as noted before, is the character of the village – we’re not talking visitors to a Village Board meeting – we’re talking character, as in atmosphere. It’s not the first time a major plan has rocked the village.
In the 1980s, Buffalo Grove was pretty dormant north of Lake-Cook. It truly was a bedroom community. But the folks who owned the Charles Fiore Nursery decided it was time to unload 867 acres. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune in April of 1986, Alfred Fiore said``A farm is a thing of the past in this area” This was, noted the Tribune, in 1979 when he was running the nursery with brother Charles and brother-in-law Frank Zenzola.
Aside from the Didier Farm, Buffalo Grove is pretty devoid of farm land – in fact open space. Aside from the two golf courses, and its park system the village has lost a lot of its green space. There’s nothing wrong with our parks, but the once valued “bedroom community” is a thing of the past.
The annexation of Fiore changed the fabric of the village. The development of the Woodland of Fiore added a new dimension to the village. It impacted the infrastructure, schools and business in the village.
The arguments against Fiore were similar to the preliminary to the ones we’ve heard about the instant downtown. Schools, traffic, hail, locust, etc.
But here’s a difference. The development of Fiore was growth and carefully planned. Granted it was not perfect and the folks in Long Grove and Lincolnshire wanted to stop it. But it was not a Robin Hood coming in to promise the village the downtown of our dreams. No doubt, the financial implications are staggering and I’m sure there is a plan for a return on the village’s investment. My guess is the Cubs will win the World Series before the instant downtown become a financial success.
No matter how you feel about the plans for Buffalo Grove’s Central Business District (BG CBD), the reality is this – it’s not the first time the village has had to deal with a master-plan altering decision. However, unlike the Fiore annexation, the impact of residents is far greater.
Is there opportunity for compromise? Absolutely.
And while, as noted at the start, the root of suburban is urban, the root of disagreement is agreement. It may be a contentious route, but at least there is a route.
And both sides need to take it.
Gaggin' in the Grove can also be found at http://stanzoller.wordpress.com, and at Zolleronbuffalogrove.blogspot.com.
Zoller also blogs at http://www.chicagonow.com/suburban-scene