Welcome to Saint Joseph Square, an area anchored by a hospital and offering a hotel, healthy dining options, groceries, a bike trail and an assortment of doctors’ offices for people’s medical needs.
This is the concept of the future that came out of visioning sessions held this week at AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.
More than 200 people ranging from local teens to neighborhood business people took part in the sessions, hospital officials said.
“We take these ideas very seriously,” Robert Erickson, president of the hospital said Thursday at an open house in which the ideas from the visioning sessions were presented. “This isn’t just going to be an exercise that happens and everybody leaves and feels good about.”
They are ideas that may take years to develop, however.
The vision of the future includes a transformation of Republic Avenue, now a hodgepodge of industrial and retail space, into a restaurant and grocery corridor.
Some ideas could be implemented sooner than others, said Joliet Economic Development Director Steve Jones.
He said the city will begin to consider street signs, landscaping and entryways that could be used to mark the area as a distinct neighborhood.
“At least it starts to define things,” Jones said.
The city in 2017 established a
Tax Increment Financing District to
support redevelopment in the area around the hospital.
Brian Adams, senior health care planner for Catalyst, a consulting firm hired by AMITA, said medical districts of the sort conceived for Saint Joseph Square are developing around the country.
“I think it’s truly important to define this district for Joliet and create a sense of space,” Adams said.