ELWOOD – The NorthPoint Development’s project team filed a formal plan with the Village of Elwood to start the first half of its Compass Business Park.
The 2,000-plus-acre industrial park is a warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing development designed to keep trucks off local roads, according to a news release from NorthPoint.
The project has come under scrutiny from locals in the Elwood and Manhattan area, and even a local school district board voiced its concerns.
But NorthPoint argues that it has been listening to the community’s concerns and has submitted a plan with them in mind.
“The feedback from neighbors and the community has been instrumental in helping shape a safe and responsible plan that provides benefits to both residents and the Village and includes taxpayer protections,” Patrick Robinson, vice president of development at NorthPoint, said in the release.
“Unlike the haphazard development that has occurred in recent years along Route 53, Compass Business Park is a master-planned development – intended to accommodate the new growth of the intermodal facilities, which are expanding at a rapid pace to handle the needs of the new economy,” Robinson said.
NorthPoint is touting a number of benefits going directly to the community because of the development, including the proposal guaranteeing no financial risk for Elwood, neighboring Manhattan or residents.
NorthPoint said the project will bring an estimated $170 million-plus to village, school and other taxing bodies in new revenue. Elwood taxing bodies would receive $87 million or more.
The project is also expected to need about 1,200 to 1,600 construction jobs annually, and NorthPoint expects to hire thousands of Will County residents because of the skilled workforce in the area.
The project will also include a closed loop that is supposed to contain truck traffic, which has been a concern to some residents.
NorthPoint said that based on feedback from the community, it would include 10 barriers to prevent trucks from entering and exiting onto local roads or Route 53.
Emergency vehicles and farming equipment would be able to move through or under the barriers.
The plan calls for constructing the first half of the park, which would include 851 acres east of Route 53, in Elwood.
NorthPoint spokesman Scott Burnham said the Elwood half of the project would take about five to six years to complete.
The Village of Elwood Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a meeting Dec. 19. NorthPoint’s team is requesting the village rezone about 851 acres of land, of which 176 acres are currently in Elwood, and annex about 675 acres of that land.
Still, some residents like Stephanie Irvine, a founding member of Just Say No to NorthPoint, are continuing to express their concern over the project.
“Our infrastructure cannot support this project and it’s sad, quite frankly, to see that corporate greed has been placed above the well-being of the residents within Elwood and the neighboring communities,” Irvine said.