My vision for the area around Fifth Avenue and the Naperville train station is to replace the surface parking lots and decrepit former public works building with a great place, a place that will enhance, not harm, the nearby neighborhoods. Again, it’s a question of balancing competing interests: more commuter parking would be nice, but not if it creates traffic nightmares nearby. The predominant land use probably should be residential, but we must remember that the Metra BNSF commuter trains are already very, very crowded.
The City Council and staff made a policy error identifying a developer before developing a coherent vision for the area. What public benefits is the City trying to achieve through the redevelopment of this prime land? Despite having attended countless meetings on this topic, I don’t know the answer. Apparently, neither does anybody else. These issues are more important than whether the City sells the property or enters into a long-term lease.
What is most important to you? How should Naperville residents benefit from the redevelopment of this prime land? Should we focus most on:
- Maximizing the collection of property tax dollars from its new residents?
- Protecting the existing neighborhood from traffic snarls and congestion?
- Building more parking spaces for commuters?
- Ensuring that the development has a range of home prices or rents, with some set-asides for affordable housing?
- Creating a vibrant new “transit-oriented development” that kickstarts walkability and bike lane development?
- Something else?
I’d like to hear your ideas. Write me at JoeforNaperville@gmail.com.