Residents offer feedback on Elmwood Park plan
Residents look over Elmwood Park's Comprehensive Plan Thursday at the Recreation Center. The village hosted an open house for residents to view the village's plan, which still needs village board approval. | David Pollard~Sun-Times Media
Elmwood Park plan
To view the village’s comprehensive plan, log on to: www.cmap.illinois.go/elmwood-park
Updated: April 15, 2013 6:40AM
ELMWOOD PARK — Residents were able to get a final look at the village’s comprehensive plan last week before it goes to the village board for final approval.
That was the goal of the Comprehensive Plan Open House at Elmwood Park Recreation Center Gym on Thursday night. For two hours residents were able to see what Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning had come up with after receiving concerns, questions and suggestions from village residents about what they’d like their community to look like in the future.
The village’s flooding problem, access to and the promotion of alternative forms of transportation, business growth and development and infrastructure improvements were a few of the concerns addressed and put down on paper.
The village’s Planning and Zoning Development Board met March 11 to vote to fully or partially accept the plan, which will then be sent to the village board for final approval.
Marcello Gulotta, chairman of Planning Zoning Development Board, who attended the open house, said the community has been pretty happy with what the metropolitan planning agency has done.
“Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has done a great job of taking the feedback of the community to heart and has come up with a plan that reflects the president’s and community’s wishes,” he said.
He said the plan is not a “pie in the sky” template of the future of the village.
“It’s an actual feasible plan behind the ideas,” he said. “It’s not just build a Macy’s and watch the people come.”
Still, some residents in attendance were not satisfied with some of the concepts.
James Sperandio, 71, has lived in the village 41 years. He’s all in favor of economic development, but thinks the new McDonald’s on Grand Avenue near Harlem Avenue is not a good fit for that street.
Still, he’s glad the village targeted that stretch of land for improvement.
“Grand Avenue has become an eyesore with old buildings and empty buildings,” he said. “Developing Grand Avenue is a thought in the right direction.”
Maureen Whelan, who has lived in the village 25 years, is not a big fan of the McDonald’s and would have preferred something different planned for Grand Avenue.
“I don’t have anything against McDonald’s I just don’t want it in my downtown,” she said.
She’d like to see the village’s downtown eventually look like Elmhurst’s or Forest Park’s.
“A cute little restaurant, a quaint shop, something like that,” she said. “A nice bar or pub. Maybe they serve food.”
Lou Carfagnini, who recently moved back to Elmwood Park, is an avid bicyclist and hopes that the bike routes in the village will be more emphasized.
Gulotta said overall he believes the majority of the residents are satisfied with the plan.
“At this stage I think people have seen what they want to see,” he said. “They are very well informed.”