Study to determine economic development along Ill. 394, Ill. 1

2013-11-18T14:30:00Z 2013-11-19T00:17:08Z Study to determine economic development along Ill. 394, Ill. 1Gregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 18, 2013 2:30 pm  • 

CRETE | Village officials are looking forward to a study by the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association on the potential for economic development around Ill. 394 and Ill. 1.

Village Administrator Tom Durkin said the report coincides with another study municipal officials are doing to improve their retail district around Main and Exchange streets. It also dovetails with a study the village did a few years ago about development of a commuter rail line from downtown Chicago to the Balmoral race course south of the village.

“I’m very excited,” Durkin said. “2014 is going to provide us with so much information that will help us in the future.”

Officials with the association said Monday they will commission a study of the corridor created by the two state routes between Interstate 80 near South Holland and Lansing and Beecher near the Will/Kankakee County border.

It would cover an area stretching south to the proposed Will County site of a third Chicago-area airport near Peotone and also would stretch as far south as the route of the proposed Illiana Expressway — a toll road that would connect Interstate 65 near Lowell with Interstate 55 near Wilmington.

But Ed Paesel, the association’s executive director, said the study is meant to benefit more than the proposed third airport and toll highway.

“It’s a land-use plan that will help us to determine the economic development of the future,” Paesel said. “There are a lot of things that can be done in the south suburbs.”

He cited the potential for development in communities such as Sauk Village, which has an intermodal facility, and in Crete.

Durkin said local officials are equally interested in other portions of the proposed study, particularly those related to transportation throughout the corridor.

“This could help us learn more about how we can best move people throughout the village,” Durkin said. “We’re looking at it as a blueprint for the future growth and demographics of Crete. It will help us study development not just north and south, but also east and west all the way to the (Illinois/Indiana) state line.”

Paesel said this study will be merely the latest done by the association, which he said did a similar study of the Ill. 394 corridor more than a decade ago, a study he says is now out-of-date.

Paesel said a meeting at 10 a.m. Dec. 4 at their offices, 1904 W. 174th St. in East Hazel Crest, for planning consultants will answer any questions about the study requirements. Bids to do the study are due by Dec. 19, and the association hopes to award a contract in January, with the actual work done early next year.

“We want to have the study soon after the contract is awarded because we want the information so we can start to move forward,” he said.

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