Fifth Avenue Remains in Phase I

The 5th Avenue Redevelopment Project still remains in Phase I after the most recent city council meeting.

Council said they still had too many questions to move forward, including what to do about commuter parking and the location of the DuPage Children’s Museum.

But city advocate S.B. Friedman thought it was time to transition to Phase II, which would narrow the focus to a single concept.

“People are raising these excellent points. A lot of these things tie to one another. You push on one thing, you pull on another,” said S.B. Friedman Senior Vice President Geoff Dickinson. “It’s hard to do that if you’ve got two sets of scenarios that you’re trying to play with. We’re hoping to move towards a single scenario that we can then adjust based on the facts and findings and feedback.”

Though the 60-day deadline to make a decision on where to house the museum passed last month, City Manager Doug Krieger said the committee would need until mid-January to make a decision.

One suggestion from Councilman John Krummen involved relocating the museum to another location and replacing it with commuter parking.

“If you look at how this is laid out and you look at where the children’s museum is located, it makes sense to put as many commuter parkers there as you can,” said Krummen. “That way when they get off the train, they will definitely be taking a right on Washington, and from a traffic standpoint, rights are easier.”

Other councilmembers felt more parking isn’t necessary and reworking the current commuter parking system could decrease the projected 14 year waitlist.

“I don’t think we have a firm grasp on the true demand for the parking spaces right now,” said Councilman Kevin Coyne. “I think that is a big problem here and until we get a better feel for what the financials are and what people should be paying for them and what they’re willing to pay for them, I don’t think we’ll really know and I think that’s factoring in in a big way here.”

Another issue that arose was whether to sell or lease the land to Ryan. Members of the public asked council not to sell the publicly owned land and many councilmembers agreed, though they would look to Friedman for direction on that topic.

In the end, Mayor Steve Chirico was the only one on the dais who said he is willing to move forward into Phase II.

“We’re not going to have a situation ever up here where it’s going to be a clear path,” said Chirico. “That’s got to be our job to define it. I’m prepared to give that guidance tonight. When I hire an attorney at my business and she gives me advice, I follow it. When I hire an accountant and they give me tax advice, I follow it. We’re hiring an expert here to give us advice, why are we not following it?”

The city plans to schedule a workshop in late January to discuss these issues and more.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

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