Manhattan hopes rezoning spurs commercial development
By Erin Gallagher Correspondent January 15, 2013 8:20AM
Updated: February 24, 2013 6:03AM
Manhattan said goodbye to the dream of having its own golf course. The village board approved new ordinances last week changing Cedar Road zoning from residential to largely commercial.
The square mile bordered by Eastern, Baker, Smith and Cedar roads was annexed in 1997. The plan was to have a golf course, train station and residential housing. Since then, many factors have changed, Village Administrator Marian Gibson said.
For example, Metra chose to build a station in town. Also, many new subdivisions evolved. The Interstate 355 extension was built. The Illiana Expressway is expected to pass through to the south of Manhattan. Cedar Road is expected to become a major thoroughfare.
“That makes it a logical use to make (the area) commercial,” Gibson said. “The intent of the board is to create a business park along Cedar Road.”
Although the new ordinances are in place, no businesses have expressed interest in the land at this time.
“Our focus is more on (Route) 52 right now,” she said. “If things started to pop in New Lenox along Cedar, then we would love to have it come down to us.”
There are several empty store fronts along Route 52 that Gibson said were caused largely by the economy. However, new building permits have jumped, causing the village to be hopeful about development. In 2011, only two homes were built. In 2012, the administration budgeted for eight and ended the year with 30.
Now that many properties have gone through the foreclosure process, the village expects to see an increase in new homes and businesses, she said.