Elmwood Park moves on Grand Avenue plans
Elmwood Park village owns most of the property and buildings on the south side of the 7200 block of Grand Avenue and will soon tear down what they own to attract new development. | David Pollard~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: October 28, 2012 6:15AM
ELMWOOD PARK — The village is taking steps to reinvigorate the area along Grand Avenue at Harlem Avenue.
Village trustees Sept. 17 approved plans for the demolition and removal of several buildings the village owns on the south side of the 7200 block of Grand Avenue just west of Dunkin Donuts, part of the village’s Grand and Harlem Tax Increment Finance Improvement Plan.
Trustees hired Burke LLC out of Rosemont to do the job, which will cost up to $255,000. Elmwood Park Village Manager Paul Volpe said the job should be completed in November.
“This will be the first step toward a development at Grand and Harlem,” he said.
Elmwood Park Mayor Peter Silvestri said the village has worked hard for many years to improve the area.
“The demolition of the buildings establishes our continuing effort to redeveloping that corner,” he said.
Although the village owns most of the properties on that side of the street, which are vacant, there are still some businesses there.
Gordon Lowery, owner of High Grade Coins, 7243 W. Grand Ave., said the village approached him in 2008 to purchase his building, but the sale never took place. He said he was ready to go.
“They are only for themselves,” he said. “They don’t care about the small (business) person.”
Silvestri said that is not the case. Instead, that’s what the village’s planned improvements in the neighborhood are all about.
“He’s a village resident and he’s a good man,” he said. “If he’s still interested in selling it, then we’re interested in buying.
“We’ve been working on it for several years,” Silvestri added. “We had a plan, but it fell through due to the recession, and I believe this time we will be successful.”
Silvestri said Elmwood Park’s attorney has approached business owners along the block about purchasing their property, and he has heard progress is being made. Either way, the properties the village owns are coming down.
Volpe said having most of the area clear will attract the attention of developers.
“I think it’s a smart idea and leaves us in a better place to move forward with a potential development there,” he said.