by Lynn Meredith
â€œWhat do you want to see in your town in the future?â€
That was the question posed to random and not-so-random people on the street and in the businesses of Kaneville, Maple Park, Sugar Grove and Elburn.
In a nut shell, people want their towns to be liveable, with conveniences and amenities that make life easier.
Elburn residents are looking for ways to keep the downtown vital and connected.
With Elburn part of the commuter railroad line into Chicago, Elburn resident Richard Andrzejewski would like to see better access from the train station to downtown.
â€œI would like access from downtown to the train, just to open it up for getting in and out,â€ Adrzejewski said. â€œIt would bring more visitors to Elburn from other towns that are on the train line, too.â€
Downtown Elburn is the place Peggy McCann, who has lived in the village for two years, would like to see full of stores. She and her husband patronize as many local businesses as they can, going to Ream’s Meat Market and Dave’s Barbershop, both located on Main Street (Route 47).
â€œI would like to see all the stores occupied downtown. Because we patronize the community, we like to shop downtown Elburn rather than anywhere else,â€ McCann said.
She likes the idea of having multiple stores open in downtown locations, like when Gliddonâ€™s Drugs and the Grocery Store were both downtown, or when Sears opened in the former Grocery Store location.
â€œWe really like it here. We’d just like to see other stores occupied. It would help out the economy and everything else,â€ McCann said.
A few more services in Kaneville are what Pat Hill of Hill’s Country Store would like to see.
While she knows that many people in the town would like to see a gas station, for her, the convenience store that goes along with a gas station would not be good for business.
â€œWe need a gas station eventually; it’s inevitable,â€ Hill said. â€œBut it would kill my business.â€
Hill said she would like to see a pizza place instead. She also envisions an antique store and a doctor or dentist office.
â€œThat would be very good revenue for the town, bringing people in,â€ Hill said.
Those polled in Maple Park said they would like to see a rejuvenation and revitalization of the town.
Librarian Suki Blake would like to see more businesses in downtown that would keep Maple Park from becoming a â€œbedroom communityâ€ where people sleep, but work and purchase goods in other places.
â€œI would like to see more community-friendly businesses so that the essence of small-town does not change in Maple Park, but that there is more offered so that people who are here will stay,â€ Blake said.
Blake said that little restaurants and cottage industries could survive. She doesn’t see the need for big box stores.
â€œWe don’t need a Wal-Mart in Maple Park. There are two or three shopping centers very close by,â€ Blake said.
She added that an organized Park District would be a way to bring jobs to town.
Village trustee Kathy Curtis sees infrastructure repair as the key element in rejuvenating the town.
â€œWe need to aggressively pursue revenue streams to upgrade, maintain and repair our infrastructure,â€ Curtis said.
She said that by repairing the streets, sidewalks, water and sewer, it not only would prevent further flooding like that which devastated the town in the fall, but would also improve the look of the town.
Curtis said two strip mall projects are approved for the southwest and northeast corners of Route 38 and County Line Road. She would like to see those fill with commercial businesses.
Residents in Sugar Grove want the convenience and tax break relief that commercial development would bring.
â€œI would like to see a lot more commercial coming in here to help alleviate some of the taxes,â€ Beth Blake of Sugar Grove said. â€œWe’ve got residential here; now we need to get more business.â€
Dunkin Donuts sounds good to her. She believes that spending her retail dollars in Sugar Grove is better than going into Geneva, Batavia or Aurora. She doesnâ€™t want retail in the downtown area because it is residential and doesn’t â€œwant it in her backyard, either.â€ She sees the acres of land farmed by local farmers as appropriate for industrial and commercial development.
â€œThey want to try to keep it quaint, but this isn’t going to be a quaint farmer’s town anymore,â€ Blake said. â€œWe’ve certainly got a lot of raw farmland around here.â€
The Smiths, who moved to Sugar Grove from Hinckley, want the convenience of a lumberyard or a discount store.
â€œAt our age, we want convenience. Quaint little shops are just way too much money,â€ Wendy Smith said. â€œBut we’re really glad they’re building a new library.â€
For James Mullet, he wants just two things.
â€œI want them to fix the potholes and get more books in the library,â€ Mullet said.