Homer Glen working on 159th Street plan
BY MICHELLE MULLINS Correspondent February 6, 2013 11:35AM
Updated: March 9, 2013 6:11AM
Homer Glen officials are trying to balance the village’s semirural character with a desire to attract new economic development, preserve existing businesses and make the village a destination point as the Illinois Department of Transportation embarks on a $100 million widening of 159th Street.
The state is in the engineering stages of widening 159th Street from two lanes to four from about Gougar Road to west of LaGrange Road in Orland Park.
Meanwhile, Homer Glen has hired an economic development consulting firm, Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates, to help create a master plan for the 159th Street corridor and ensure that hundreds of vacant acres will be developed to the village’s high standards.
The village board wants to “create the feeling that you have arrived in Homer Glen,” Trustee Margaret Sabo said.
Consultant John Houseal agreed.
“To me, that’s crucial,” he said. “You have a huge investment here. Let people know where you are.”
Trustee George Yukich said he wants 159th Street to be business-friendly and a place where every business would want to locate. Too often, Homer Glen residents shop in Schaumburg or Oak Brook, and the village is losing that potential sales tax revenue, he said.
But enticing new businesses to the corridor, which has the added benefit of the Interstate 355 interchange, isn’t the only objective, village officials said. They want existing businesses to thrive once IDOT starts its two-year construction project. They want to make sure the widening of the road doesn’t limit access to those businesses, that traffic can move safely and that the area also can be pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
“Blasting traffic through an area — that is not what we want,” Mayor Jim Daley said.
Officials also want to ensure that landscaping, streetscaping, lighting and signage all have a cohesive look unique to the village.
“This corridor and the improvements that happen there are going to hopefully increase the attractiveness for economic development,” said Janie Patch, the village’s economic development director.
Houseal Lavigne plans to work with IDOT to advocate on behalf of the village, Houseal said.
The firm also plans to conduct workshops with residents, business owners and property owners during the next several months.