My philosophy is definitely not anti-retail or economic development for BG. Over the years I’ve heard many stories about how BG was developed and the decisions (many good and many bad) that went into making BG the way it is. One story is that BG could have had the old Honeywell building on Dundee road but the Trustees at that time stated BG was a bedroom community and wanted it to stay that way. Then there was the property across Dundee Road from the high school that Arlington Height annexed. I believe BG refused to annex that property when asked. Then there’s the Wal-Mart story. People believe we passed on annexing part of the property that is contiguous to the Wal-Mart because the property owner didn’t want to have all the property, just the corner at Weiland and Lake Cook, annexed. Of course, then there’s the turn-down of Rohrman’s Saturn dealership on Dundee Road for which we may be paying for today. The Town Center’s lack of success seems to have connections to Trustee involvement when the Center was being developed (no Chili’s, no Olive Garden restaurants were allowed).
I think there needs to be a plan that is driven by the Village. Something similar to what Wheeling decided for Milwaukee Ave and what Palatine has stated they’d like to see done for the Rand and Palatine Road area. Having various developers with various thinking and ideas come all over the place without tying things into a BG image has lead us to be what we area now. My first step is to stop the bleeding. Let’s take an in-depth look at what we currently have in use and what could be in use. What can we do to attract other retail, restaurants, etc. into those areas. I agree with Jeff Berman’s comment at the last COTW meeting that fostering economic development is not sitting in your office waiting for developers or possible store owners to knock on your door.
It used to be that BG grew just by waiting for someone to ask us to let them put their business in our town. That is not what is happening today. We need to sell our ourselves and come up with ideas that will lure business here. And I don’t necessarily mean we give tax-free deals, either. Again we need someone to be in-charge and to lead the plan. We have a lot of things that need to done. Building a downtown on the golf course, just seems froth with all kinds of things that are pie-in-the-sky ideas that don’t fit with what’s going on. When I mention that Lettuce Entertain You said they would put two restaurants in the proposed downtown, the response I get from residents is, don’t we have any other place in BG that they’d be able to locate in right now if they really wanted to be here? Seems like more pie-in-the sky.
I really think we need to take charge of the situation and lead on this, not follow developers. That’s one reason why a few people in our Save BG group would like to help with economic development.
This is a complex topic and we can discuss further if you’d like as there are lots of ideas out there. Thanks for asking.
Subject: Re: Building retail on the golf course a bad idea?
Hi Leon –
I’m curious what you think the Village’s strategy should be considering the continued pressure on shared tax revenues from the state and property tax levies. The articles you’ve sent me are not specific to the downtown project, but discuss retail offerings in general. Based on the information you’ve sent me to date, I infer that you advocate a “no retail” strategy for the entire Village. This is, of course, quite contrary to the empirical evidence that shows we are exporting 60% or more of our own buying power. Whether the downtown project advances or not, this is a dire issue for the Village.
Dane C. Bragg, Village Manager
Village of Buffalo Grove