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Trustees Approve New Mall Development on Former Country Club Property

The Village Board approved Monday a new development, which will be anchored by a Meijer and Menards.

plans to build a shopping center on the former Evergreen Country Club property—a project which Mayor James Sexton characterized as “the largest retail development in the history of Evergreen Park."

Developers said the 450,000-square-foot outdoor mall will be anchored by a 200,000-square-foot Menards and a 157,000-square-foot Meijer, as well as a Meijer gas station and convenience store on one of the outlots. Sexton said the project is expected to bring in about $4.5 million in property tax revenue and sales to the local school districts and the village.

Her family had owned and operated the golf course since the 1920s. The village of Evergreen Park had been trying to purchase the property from Ahern for years. , which were mostly items left over from the closing of the country club.

Representatives from Evergreen Park Development LLC presented the plan both at the Village Board meeting and at last week’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, where members voted 6-0 to recommend the approved plan to trustees.

“We’re very excited about this particular project. There’s a lot of positive interest from retailers,” said Patrick Thompson of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., the downtown Chicago-based law firm representing Evergreen Park Development LLC. Citing confidentiality reasons and because no other retailers have yet signed contracts, Thompson said he couldn't disclose which other retailers are interested, but Sexton assured that it was “a good mix” of retailers and restaurants.

During the meeting, residents and trustees expressed thoughts and concerns about “The 91st and Western Shopping Center” development, which will stretch from 91st Street to about 93rd Place and from Western Avenue to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks, and its proximity to The Plaza.

“We think that this is going to be a great catalyst for Western Avenue, and we think that this particular project could help with the revitalization of not only this area of Western, but continue on going south," Thompson said.

Both Sexton and Thompson said they hoped the project would serve as a catalyst to The Plaza, which has seen declining business over the past few years.

"Hopefully that’ll wake up The Plaza management [so that they will] realize that they have to make a lot of changes," President said.

But many of the concerns expressed by the audience, which included residents of Evergreen Park and neighbors from across the street in Beverly, revolved around traffic issues, safety, job availability to people in the village and green space.

To address some of the traffic issues, the development agreement includes a stoplight at 92nd Place and Western Avenue. Representatives for the development said other access points to the mall will be at 91st Street and a right-turn-only entrance at 92nd Street.

Parents of children who attend school in northeast Evergreen Park were concerned about their kids’ safety while walking near the busy development. Sexton assured residents several times during the meeting that the children's safety would be the No. 1 priority.

Also relating to safety, some residents were concerned about whether village police would be successful at helping patrol crowds drawn by the development.

“They are more than capable,” said Sexton, who reminded residents that the Evergreen Park Police Department has 65 full-time officers, “fewer than most [departments].”

But what about jobs, asked Evergreen Park resident John Dwyer, who wondered if a certain amount of the jobs would be preserved for Evergreen Park residents. Dwyer noted that many people who work at the neighboring big box developments, and , do not live in the village. Sexton said he plans to ask them to host job fairs to “put Evergreen to work.” Hopefully, he says, that will boost Evergreen Park hires.

Trustees also approved the purchase of the land lying west of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks using a $2 million grant from the state, Sexton said.

“It will be used as open space, multi-use, recreational-type thing,” Sexton said, adding that the Village Board will accept suggestions from residents before deciding what to do with the space.

Sexton said preparations for the project should begin this fall, with construction starting in full force in 2012.

Expected to bring new construction, other trade, and retail and management jobs to the village, Sexton calls this development a “win-win for everyone.”

Ozzy June 21, 2011 at 05:56 PM
I was there also. The land was sold to developers so what was done, is done. At least the west side will remain green space and residents were told to call up and give ideas what they would like the park to be like. The Mayor ruled out a 9 hole golf course and said most likely no ball fields, etal to keep it looking more natural. Kids can still slide down the hill (we'll see what liability in$urance says about that). Off topic, I was surprised to hear so many basements were flooded!
Mr. Robb June 22, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Great chance for mayor and other officials to skim $ to their swiss accounts.
Jennifer Valdez June 22, 2011 at 09:05 PM
When are they going to tear the Plaza down and put an Ikea there? Great location on the edge of the Chicago and for the south suburbs. As long as they keep the Carson's! Its still the nicest one around.
Ozzy August 28, 2011 at 08:10 PM
Well, the destruction has started. So far just the pond has been drained and a small section bulldozed to level some of it out. I don't think they even bothered removing any golf balls from the pond. Waterlogged or not, it would have been nice to at least donate them to a HS golf club where they could use them at a driving range or shag balls. http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l195/absthemius/Evergreen%20Golf%20Course/golf_course1.jpg http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l195/absthemius/Evergreen%20Golf%20Course/golf_course2.jpg
Heather Linehan October 08, 2011 at 04:51 AM
They were ripping trees up today. It was sickening! I hope the village makes enough money to pay the damages on all the basements that will flood.
Concerned Citizen October 19, 2011 at 08:21 PM
I am so excited to have a Menards and a Meier in EP. It is a win/win all the way around for the village and the residents. All you tree-huggers can go jump in a lake. We need tax revenue and we need people to shop in EP and not go outside of the village!
Ozzy October 19, 2011 at 10:14 PM
LOL. Just like the lottery was supposed to help out also. Ironic with Meijer as when in MI my Aunt told me every time a Meijer opened up a WalMart would move in the immediate area. This time it is the other way around. Was never impressed with Menards but now Home Depot has some local competition.
Cheryl January 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Okay, I am all for progress in our city, and am super JAZZED about the new park going in, however, I am NOT jazzed that my property taxes went up by $2,000 for 2012! I was excited that this new venture on the golf course was going to bring in revenue, but it's not the only one...so are all of we.
Ozzy April 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Looks like they are finally going to start wiping out mother nature as they have no trespassing/constructions signs posted all along the fence line. Saw a few http://www.thebia.org/ signs on peoples lawns. Wonder if that was the reason for the delay as I thought they were starting construction last fall.
HorridEngineer May 18, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Stopped with the family this week for Rainbow and looked accross the street...and wham found out about the project. I think it is a win for the village, more taxes more jobs, and Menards is way better than Home Depot ( 95th and Pulaski is the WORST). Is the IKEA rumors true? I for one am sick of driving way west or north for a table and meatballs.
Ozzy May 24, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Go west or north for meatballs??? Development is one thing, but why destroy all that green space while you have the plaza rotting away? Pete's has a pretty decent store so I'm not too inclined to visit Meijer's I do agree Menards should give Home Depot a good run for the money.
Ozzy October 27, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Progress is coming along, sidewalk laid along Western Ave and building skeletons are up. Still not happy seeing all those trees gone though. Here are some latest photos: http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l195/absthemius/DSCN5338.jpg http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l195/absthemius/DSCN5339.jpg http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l195/absthemius/DSCN5340.jpg

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