Lockport is taking its first steps toward an artisans park near its downtown.
The City Council on Wednesday night approved a contract with Hitchcock Design Group – at a possible cost of up to $29,800 – to conduct a feasibility study for creating a park exclusively for workshops and open-air markets for artisans on a portion of Star Business Park, located south of Second Street and west of the Illinois & Michigan Canal.
Mayor Steven Streit at his State of the City address in April had outlined his idea for Star Makers Park, on the city-owned portion of the Chevron property, as an alternative to more logistics and warehousing development.
According to a proposal from Hitchcock, the study will include an assessment of the best designs for such a park, as well as construction costs and possible funding.
The total cost of the study is about $40,000, and the $29,800 approved by the City Council will likely decrease once the city gets pledged contributions of up to $21,000 from other partners, such as Joliet Junior College, CL Enterprises and the Des Plaines River Valley Enterprise Zone, City Administrator Ben Benson said.
Benson said the proposed space for creators will be “a community benefit.” However, marketing is ongoing for the site for warehouse uses as well.
If the concept for the park is deemed viable, the city may need to acquire more land from Chevron for the proposal, according to a memo.
Separately, the City Council also approved a number of measures, including rezoning ordinances and concept plans for an expansion of the Prologis industrial park south of 143rd Street, between Interstate 355 and Archer Avenue.
Prologis’ original plan for a 2 million-square-foot, five-building industrial complex on 200 acres has now grown to two buildings to the north of the property, at the southwest corner of 143rd Street and Prologis Parkway.
The plans for the two new adjacent buildings, totaling about 525,000 square feet, are contingent upon Prologis closing on the 9-acre property from Lockport Investments, city attorney Sonni Choi Williams said.
Prologis’ industrial park had faced strong opposition by residents of the subdivisions that surround the property, as well as the popular Big Run Wolf Ranch that is adjacent to the property.
The city in February 2017 had approved a concept plan for the development after Prologis amended it a few times to alleviate residents’ concerns.
No residents spoke against the proposal at Wednesday night’s meeting.
One of the measures approved was the rezoning of the site for the two new buildings to manufacturing from commercial.
In exchange, Prologis has agreed to rezone about 10 acres of the business park along Archer and Prologis Parkway from manufacturing to commercial.
Benson said this is important for the city as it looks to develop that area as another commercial corridor.