by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Planning consultants met high expectations from north Elmhurst residents and business owners and “hit a home run” with their proposals for the city’s North York Corridor Plan, presented last night during an open house held at City Hall’s Council Chambers.
Renderings and photographs of future north side streetscape elements like sidewalks and street lamps – along with aesthetically-pleasing graffiti to disguise vast areas of “scattered, disjointed land use” – were among the highlights and “wow” moments that dazzled attendees and gave hope for the future of the often-overlooked 1.8 mile corridor of York Street stretching from North Avenue to Grand Avenue.
“I thought sidewalks were a pipe dream,” said longtime north side resident Rory Lester, eyeing an illustration of a concrete footpath in front of a wall with “Straight Outta North Elmhurst” colorfully spray-painted in interlocking letters. “And now we’re getting street lamps, too? This is going to be the most exciting thing to happen on our side of town since we got indoor plumbing back in ’78.”
More than 50 people were in attendance at the open house, and representatives from consultants 3D Designs and Gewalt Hamilton were on hand to answer questions and receive feedback from the public. While swank north York Street businesses like Mariano’s, L.A. Fitness and Viking Awards Trophy Shop are expected to be anchor tenants for years to come, the city’s goal for the “northern gateway into the community” is to increase pedestrian connectivity and stimulate economic development.
“These elements will really move the north side into the 20th century,” said Gewalt Hamilton senior engineer Donald Mathews. “And we’re going to come in way under budget.”