Chicago Ridge is in the midst of celebrating its 100th anniversary with an eye toward the future.
Just a few weeks before the village held its Centennial Gala at the Glendora House, village trustees authorized the village attorney to work with TIF consultants Kane, McKenna and Associates Inc. on a plan to redevelop a 100-acre site on Harlem Avenue.
The Glendora House would be razed as part of the plan along with a nearby Burger King, motel and shuttered restaurant. But the abandoned Yellow Trucking terminal makes up the majority of site. It’s an eyesore to be sure and not the welcoming panorama village officials want on their western border.
A preliminary development proposal for the property features a conference center, indoor water park, restaurants, a cinema, hotel and multiuse buildings.
The plan sounds great and there’s no doubt it would go a long way toward making the southwest suburbs—especially those adjacent to Chicago Ridge—a destination point. And the dollars spent in such a business/entertainment complex would help the village hold down property taxes and improve services.
The question becomes: Is such a grandiose plan workable?
Stony Creek Promenade in Oak Lawn is finally past the planning stages. Take a drive to 111th Street and Cicero Avenue and you’ll see the exterior walls of Mariano’s Fresh Market going up. The store will anchor a center that also will include a Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, other restaurants and shops. But the mall did not become a reality overnight. Oak Lawn officials past and present worked for years to bring it to fruition.
Evergreen Park is another example of a town that has worked diligently to attract new developments. Again, it took time and effort primarily on the part of Mayor Jim Sexton to convince Pete’s Fresh Market (which is opening another location across the street from the Yellow truck terminal), Mariano’s Fresh Market and several small businesses to locate in town. In the meantime, plans to redevelop the Plaza remain in flux.
But the task before Chicago Ridge is much bigger than redeveloping a corner lot or attracting a single business to the community. Instead, it wants to overhaul a significant piece of property with a plan that has something for everyone. That’s a tall order. Only time will tell if it’s achievable.