Shorewood officials approved an updated plan Tuesday to continue development of the village’s Towne Center project and a tax increment financing district, which could drastically change the intersection at Routes 52 and 59, after the items were tabled earlier this month.
Since 2004, the village of Shorewood has worked to develop what it calls the “Towne Center” for Shorewood. Currently Village Hall, Towne Center Park and single-family homes have been built on the site, located off Route 52, just west of River Road.
Originally, development of 136 acres of land was destined for a big-box retail store and smaller retailers. When the recession hit, progress halted, and the land remained undeveloped.
During a Jan. 8 board meeting, Rod Tonelli, Shorewood interim community development director, brought a new plan to the board for approval. At that time, a handful of trustees wanted to look further into the plans before granting approval, so it was brought back to Tuesday’s meeting.
Tonelli said the plan was not something set in stone but would act as a guide for developers. He added that since he brought the plan to the board, Tonelli has had three residential developers reach out.
“This is not a plan to construct, but a vision looking forward,” Tonelli said.
The larger retail option along Route 52 has changed to commercial use for restaurants and small retail stores. The back part of the land is planned to have residential options.
The idea is to offer a community setting with places to dine, shop and live all within walking distance.
Separate from the Towne Center project but also approved Tuesday, the TIF district at Routes 59 and 52 includes new construction that already has begun and has been dubbed the TIF Core Area Plan.
Chicken and Spice recently moved in on the northwest corner of the intersection, and the southwest corner behind the fire station and 7-Eleven is slated for retail and multifamily units behind that.
Tonelli said there are no specific plans on how to redevelop the nearby mobile home park, but, as a gateway corner into the village, it would be best-suited for a mix of retail and residential use.
The village and the Forest Preserve of Will County also would like to make a trail to connect Hammel Woods to the DuPage River at the southeast corner, where The Crowd Around Me is located.
“When it comes to the conversation of redevelopment with existing buildings, the path to redevelopment is not as easy as developing a farm field. The vision of the village says these four corners add more to the village and thinks it can be used differently,” Tonelli said.
Village engineer Bryan Welch said at the meeting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a new flood plain map for the village.
He said numerous homes that were not in the flood plain during the last map evaluation in 1995 now are inside it. Welch said if those homeowners have federally backed mortgages, they will be required to have flood insurance. If homeowners did not have a mortgage or their home did not require flood insurance by law, it would be advisable that they consider it.
Welch and Village Administrator Jim Culotta said the village will send out letters before the Feb. 15 FEMA flood plain adoption date to inform residents that there has been a change in the status of their homes. Welch said the village also will assist residents in helping them figure out the next steps.