The 5th Avenue Redevelopment Project came before Naperville City Council at last night’s meeting.
After voting not to move on with Ryan Companies’ baseline concept in October, there’s been little progress on the project.
A Revised Concept
In January, Mayor Steve Chirico and Councilman Patrick Kelly proposed a revised concept, which had compromises for things like building height and green space. And while Kelly said some thought that concept was an improvement, others found it less exciting than the original proposal.
“I will admit some of the people that were most excited about the project had a little less excitement about the compromised plan I think because it was smaller and potentially because it didn’t look as fully fleshed out as the original baselines,” said Kelly.
At the May 5 council meeting, councilman Kevin Coyne suggested placing a referendum in the November election ballots to see what the public thought.
Coyne offered an example of what a question could look like, which read:
“Shall the City of Naperville proceed with a 5th Avenue Development plan that is substantially similar to the concept presented at the February 15, 2020, 5th Avenue Steering Committee meeting and borrow approximately $_0, 000,000 to pay for improvements to commuter parking, stormwater detention, and additional municipal infrastructure substantially similar to those improvements outlined in said concept plan?”
Public speakers and others on the council were generally opposed to the idea of a referendum, saying the issue was too complicated to be summarized in one question.
“If a referendum would get us where I think we need to go, I definitely would consider it, I just don’t think it does,” said Councilman Benny White. “It’s not like the cannabis where it’s pretty much a yes/no type of thing. There’s just way to many variables, way too many unknowns.”
Council Prefers Workshop
However, most members were interested in scheduling a workshop to engage with the public. That workshop will use the Kelly/Chirico concept as a starting point.
“I would think a workshop is something that could be informational in nature, but also fluid so as things change and more information is provided, you can add to the workshop or modify it or change that information that was provided within the workshop,” said Councilwoman Patty Gustin.
There was no date set for the workshop – that will be discussed at a future meeting.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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