West Chicago Development Committee discusses reuse options for former Chicago & Northwestern Railroad depot building
West Chicago Development Committee met Thursday, Feb. 23.
West Chicago Development Committee is located at 475 Main St, West Chicago.
Here are the minutes as provided by the committee:
Approved March 13, 2017
February 13, 2017, 7:00 P.M.
1. Call to Order, Roll Call, and Establishment of a Quorum.
Alderman Stout called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
Roll call found Aldermen James Beifuss, Melissa Ferguson, Laura Grodoski, Jayme Sheahan, John Smith and Chairman Rebecca Stout, present.
Also in attendance was Director of Community Development, John Said.
2. Approval of Minutes.
A. January 9, 2017
Alderman Ferguson moved and Alderman Sheahan seconded a motion to approve the minutes. The motion carried unanimously.
3. Public Participation. None.
4. Items for Consent. None.
5. Items for Discussion. None.
A. West Washington Street - Draft Feasibility Study and Proposal for Remediation.
John Said provided an update of this item. In early 2016, Patrick Engineering was contracted by the City to address all aspects of remediation for the West Washington Street Redevelopment Area. At this time, Patrick Engineering has prepared an Economic Feasibility Study of Remedial Options and a Proposal for Remediation of Selected Areas for the City’s consideration. Mr. Said introduced Richard Frendt, Senior Project Manager of Patrick Engineering, who then addressed the Committee.
Mr. Frendt provided a history of the project actions taken by his firm at this site to date. The success of those actions has brought about their firm’s current recommendations, which are more holistic in their approach to the remediation of the proposed redevelopment and will result in cost and time savings. He showed a map of the overall site and then outlined the basic methods for remediation to be considered: pursuit of a No Further Remediation Letter (NFR); excavation and transport away; and an engineered barrier that allows for the capping of soil to block exposure pathways.
Mr. Frendt also explained the idea of the Site being considered as six, smaller independent parcels and how each subarea would employ its own remedial action depending on the type of contaminants identified and its potential end use. For each of the subareas, Mr. Frendt then described the contaminants identified and how they could best be remediated vis-a-vis the end use. He concluded his presentation by stating that the remediation work could begin in summer of 2017, with reports submitted to the EPA and Solicitations sent to potential developers the end of the year.
Alderman Beifuss asked about the sixth area, Area F, and the potential for surface contamination of the proposed detention pond. Mr. Frendt responded that the surface contaminants present there are common to other areas of the site and do not pose a toxic threat. However, the area would be effectively capped, for in his opinion, the notion of a detention pond as an engineered barrier would be just as protective as other types of barriers. Alderman Beifuss asked if the area would be accessible for people to walk around and Mr. Frendt answered that it could be as he foresees no problem in doing so. Alderman Beifuss also asked about the potential for residential development in Area E, where future use has not yet been designated and Mr. Frendt suggested they apply for an NFR for industrial/commercial standards now and then open it later for the potential of residential development. Alderman Beifuss asked about a timeframe for the end of the year and Mr. Frendt responded it would be possible.
Alderman Smith asked about the contaminants present beneath the area of the water tower and Mr. Frendt answered that the presence of radium has two independent Sources—one of which is naturally occurring and the other resulted from the mishandling of filters used to remove the contaminant-but that both sources represent very low level, radioactive waste.
Alderman Smith moved and Alderman Ferguson seconded the motion to proceed with the Remediation Proposal. The remaining members unanimously agreed and the motion carried.
B. Adaptive Reuse Options for 119 W. Washington Street.
John Said gave an update and history of this City-owned property, which includes the former Chicago & Northwestern Railroad depot building, constructed in 1869. The City has received a grant to conduct an architectural assessment in order for it to be included in the City's redevelopment plans for the West Washington Street area. The City is now being asked to provide a list of desirable uses and staff is looking for input from the Development Committee.
The aldermen shared different ideas for the building and Alderman Ferguson recommended the building use be train-focused with whatever end use is decided, and she added the idea of a brewery. Alderman Beifuss advised that, based on the building location next to what will be the City square, retail would not be a good idea. He Suggested that it could be used for City offices, a gathering space, or even a restaurant, which would complement the adjacent green space. He added that a porch or deck could be configured to utilize the building elevation and its potential for large windows or doors. Alderman Grodoski agreed with the previous suggestions and added the need for it to be a gathering space and to celebrate the original use of the building and the City’s identity. She also mentioned a performing arts space and underscored the notion of adaptive reuse, which is a popular trend.
Chairman Stout recognized Alderman George Garcia, who then addressed the Committee with regards to the future use of this depot building. Alderman Garcia stated he has been involved in trying to bring a 19" century or early 20" century locomotive to place alongside the depot building to celebrate the City’s heritage. He said that the idea came about as a result of his thinking about what could be done to attract people to come and spend time in the downtown area. He first proposed this idea to the Historical Preservation Commission and it has been well supported by his colleagues. He mentioned that he has identified a potential train to bring here, and he talked about what its possible location could be. While he is working currently to gather additional information, he mentioned the intention to pursue acquisition without any City funding. He opened the floor for questions.
Alderman Beifuss asked about the year of the potential locomotive and Alderman Garcia replied that they are looking at one from 1892, which also happened to serve the local area. Alderman Grodoski stated it is a fascinating idea that could be an attraction to celebrate the City’s history. Alderman Garcia talked about the potential timeframe for acquisition and restoration of the locomotive and the potential uses for the depot building. Alderman Beifuss stated that it would make a nice attraction and shared his ideas for its potential location so as to not break the sightline of the green space planned. Alderman Garcia shared a scale model of the locomotive and the depot building he had constructed in order to show the size relationship between the two. John Said added the idea of a porch or deck being added to one or multiple sides of the depot building to echo the notion of a train platform. Chairman Stout stated that it is a blank slate and could be designed however they want it to be. Alderman Garcia further mentioned that if the locomotive were acquired, it would need to be in a protected environment.
Historical Preservation Commission member Keith Letsche was recognized to address the Committee, who commented on several topics including the possibility of acquiring similar trains from a salvage yard and the possible positioning of the locomotive, especially given the desire for children to get up close to these vehicles. Mr. Letsche also pointed out the architectural significance of the depot, and he stressed uses that Would maximize drawing in the public.
6. Unfinished Business. None.
7. New Business. None.
8. Reports from Staff.
Mr. Said stated that the kickoff meeting for the Central Main Street Redevelopment Plan between Farr Associates and several City officials, held on February 9, 2017, was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and interact with the other commissions. He thanked all of the participants who attended.
Mr. Said also provided a progress report on the Rte. 59/North Avenue area study. They are working to finalize aspects of the contract with the consultant.
Alderman Smith moved and Alderman Grodoski seconded the motion to adjourn the Development Committee meeting at 8:15 P.M. The Committee members unanimously agreed and the motion carried.
Jane Burke Executive Secretary