Residents and tourists of Naperville have come to be familiar with the downtown scene.
But this could soon change due to the Naperville Downtown2030 plan, a long term vision set up by the Downtown Advisory Commission that will grow and improve the area.
Though approved in 2011, the commission is currently deciding how the downtown space is defined.
“It establishes the boundary of the downtown, which is most of what you see today. But it does talk about northern expansion, and if it does expand North what sort of uses we want to see in that area,” said Allison Laff, Operations Manager for the Transportation and Engineering Development Group.
The area in question is between Benton and Douglas Avenue and between Webster and Washington.
“It could really go one of two ways. If there’s a big anchor use that would require large redevelopment, then we could see it being commercial with some restaurants. If that doesn’t happen, and it’s more lot-by-lot redevelopment, then we would probably see more residential uses like duplexes, or townhomes, or some of the conversion of the existing houses to small-scale retail,” said Laff.
The possible northern expansion of downtown Naperville has some local business owners talking.
“Just having a stronger connection and a larger area, especially as it expands there’s stuff being built to the North on Water Street to the South. I think if all those things are done properly and they can fit in downtown, then it just makes it a better destination for everybody to come and visit,” said Kris Hartner, Owner of Naperville Running Co.
“I understand the expansion of the downtown, I think it’s good for everybody. I think it’s good for the city, good for the downtown, because we are out of space pretty much. But what I would really emphasize is that we do not have enough parking. The congestion and the parking issues in downtown Naperville are becoming a detriment,” said Becky Anderson, Co-Owner of Anderson’s Bookshop.
The committee agrees that it needs to be addressed.
“In either scenario it says that parking for that area needs to be accommodated for that area, because the parking decks that are around it won’t be large enough to accommodate redevelopment of that area,” said Laff.
The discussion will continue at the next Downtown Advisory Commission meeting.
To find out more about the ongoing changes with the Downtown2030 plan, search “Downtown2030” on the City of Naperville website.
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