Homer Glen gets look at plan for 159th Street growth
BY MICHELLE MULLINS Correspondent October 31, 2013 10:12PM
Updated: December 2, 2013 12:48PM
Homer Glen wants to ensure that vacant land along its main commercial corridor is developed according to the village’s high standards.
Interstate 355 and the imminent widening of 159th Street from two to four lanes with turning lanes is likely to spur business growth, and village officials hope that a master plan created by consultants Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago will help direct how that future development occurs.
Since January, village officials, residents and business and property owners along 159th Street have offered their input to Houseal Lavigne, and the firm has completed a draft of its master plan, which was revealed Tuesday. Additional input is being sought before the village board approves the plan later this year or in early 2014.
The 159th Street corridor should be a welcoming place where motorists want to stop and shop, consultant Devin Lavigne said. Drivers should know that they’ve entered Homer Glen, and the corridor should offer a sense of identity and community pride, he said.
Lavigne said gateway signs, landscaping, benches, permeable paver bricks and signs directing drivers to forest preserves, parks, event areas and municipal facilities would help give people a sense that they’ve arrived in Homer Glen.
The consultants also identified how different properties could be developed. For instance, a theater, hotel, office buildings, restaurants and retail development could be a good fit near Gougar Road and 159th Street, while a site about a mile from the I-355 interchange could be developed into a big-box store or offices and open space, according to the firm.
It recommends that no new single-family or multifamily homes be built along 159th Street.
When developers are interested in a property, they should know that Homer Glen won’t accept a cookie-cutter design, Lavigne said, adding that the firm got a repeated message from residents and village officials that they want to keep the village’s small-town character and semi-rural charm.
“We want Homer Glen to be different,” Lavigne said. “We don’t want a typical commercial corridor.”
Mayor Jim Daley said he envisions the village attracting national retail chains, grocery stores and a hotel as well as medical offices that will want to be near Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.