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Winnetka Council Receives Updates on Post Office Project, One Winnetka, and Other Initiatives, Sets Stage for Busy 2024.

The beginning of a brand new yr brings with it the chance to look ahead and envision the probabilities of the following 12 months. And although 2024 remains to be in its infancy, Winnetka trustees saw a preliminary glimpse of what is bound to be a packed docket of projects and initiatives waiting for them within the yr ahead.  Winnetka’s Village Council reviewed its projected slate of labor for the yr while discussing its priorities during a casual study session on Tuesday, Jan. 16.  Village President

Chris Rintz

prefaced discussion by noting it’s often been a goal of his to bring the council together within the early a part of each recent yr to “have a look at what’s within the pipeline and what’s on our plate for the approaching yr.” 

Rob Bahan

, Winnetka’s village manager, led discussion throughout the evening, walking trustees through initiatives that were broken down into three categories: in-progress/ongoing work, 2022-23 committed pipeline projects and ongoing council business. Below are highlights from the council’s dialogue on the meeting. Post office redevelopment  A key point of debate throughout the meeting was the potential redevelopment of the present location of the U.S. Post Office within the West Elm business district.  As previously reported by The Record, Winnetka trustees first reviewed an idea plan presented by

Rintz

in 2022. The plan proposed reimagining the positioning right into a recent public gathering space full of amenities, including a performance stage.  The concept, on the time, was informally known as a “town square,” and officials suggested plans that will open the world to function a dedicated place for residents and special events.

Rintz

described progress on this potential project as “start again, stop again,” noting it’s been into consideration for quite a few years. He added that officials had some momentum toward moving it forward but progress was previously stalled resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  “We began to construct a committee again a couple of yr ago, then the lakefront regulations got here on and it was clear that we didn’t have the bandwidth to be talking about anything post office while (the lakefront was under discussion),”

Rintz

added.  Officials didn’t present a precise timeline for the brand new U.S. post office at 586 Lincoln Ave. to be accomplished, but

Bahan

did mention January of 2025 as a possible completion date.   Several trustees described the project as a “high priority,” expressing a desire to maneuver progress forward.  “We’ve received lots of feedback,” trustee

Kim Handler

said. “I feel we’ve got an excellent direction to make something occur and to finalize a plan. Given the character of the plan, I don’t think it’s an actual long construction period.”

Bahan

said the present concept plan is “very conceptual” and can should be refined “quite a bit” to contemplate the “nuts and bolts” of the potential project. But staff is anticipating that the project shall be coming its way within the near future.  “We comprehend it’s there, so we’re able to allocate time,”

Bahan

said. “It could possibly’t be the one thing we work on but we are able to allocate time for it.” One Winnetka  A rendering of One Winnetka along Lincoln Avenue. No recent development effort has entrenched local officials quite like proceedings surrounding the One Winnetka project.  The One Winnetka development site, a group of buildings situated on the southeast corner of Elm Street and Lincoln Avenue, has been the topic of several project pitches for years.  In August of last yr, Winnetka’s Planned Development Commission held a public hearing on the newest version of the proposed project. That plan included a four-story, mixed-use development that featured 59 residential units, 20,955 square feet of economic space and a complete of 152 parking, in keeping with village documents.  The Planned Development Commission unanimously really helpful approval of the project in the summertime but plans have yet to make their way in front of the Village Council. 

Bahan

said that officials are hoping to see plans in the following 30-60 days but added that the village is “waiting on them.”  A key reasoning for the holdup appears to be disagreements between the village and the developer regarding performance security.  “The problems have been significantly narrowed and we’re just asking the event team to speak what their preferences are on (performance) security,”

Bahan

said . “And we’ve made our position known … I feel they’ve a distinct perspective.” 

Bahan

said that there won’t be a proposal happening on the council’s meeting later this month, but he also noted that moving the project forward is a priority for village staff.  “It’s a priority for us every week, nevertheless it’s on the event team to get their act together,” he said. “It needs to maneuver,” Bahan later added.  Much like the post office project, there may be also significant hope among the many council to push progress on One Winnetka forward.  Trustee

Rob Apatoff

said he views those two projects “about as critical because it gets,” adding that “they’re priorities which can be in the center and heart of our town.” There may be also a way of optimism among the many board regarding its overall satisfaction with the newest iteration of plans.  “Despite strong feelings concerning the process, we’re at the purpose, from what I’ve seen that’s undergone the planned development process, I feel it’s a greater looking project than other projects that were approved,” Trustee

Tina Dalman

said. “I feel it could achieve success, so hopefully they’ll come through.” Indian Hill lot redevelopment  The potential redevelopment of the Indian Hill Metra station car parking zone on the northeast corner of Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue was first discussed prior to the onset of the pandemic, however the vision of a reuse remains to be into consideration.  Village officials pinpointed the positioning as one that might potentially work for a housing project, specifically to fill the housing gap for seniors locally.  Prior to the pandemic, the council had authorized staff to explore acquiring the property in full. Currently, Winnetka owns roughly two-thirds of the positioning. Previously, Union Pacific owned a small parcel on the positioning.  Winnetka officials hoped to accumulate the property outright and consider future developments; nevertheless, Union Pacific recently sold its portion of the positioning to a developer, further complicating any efforts from village officials to maneuver forward with any potential future plans.  Boris Cafe site  The long run of the previous home of Boris Café at 972 Green Bay Road has “taken lots of staff time,” but no plans have come back to the village for review recently,

Bahan

said.  A proposal to repurpose the long-vacant constructing on the distinguished Winnetka stretch received approval from the village’s design review board in early 2020. But plans were then placed on hold resulting from the pandemic, officials said. A development pitch for the positioning has not come forward since.  The 2020 project included plans for 2 restaurants to fill the positioning. 

Bahan

said the village met with the property owner in August of last yr and was subsequently told that a planned development application could be soon coming. But “it’s just been crickets since,”

Bahan

said.  “We stay in touch and ask and cajole as best we are able to but at the top of the day, it’s as much as the property owner,” he said.  In-progress/ongoing work Most of the topics detailed during this category were infrastructure-related projects.  Several of the matters

Bahan

noted were related to stormwater management, as he provided updates on work on the Crow Island project in addition to other ongoing village efforts.  The village is currently out to bid for construction services related to the Crow Island project,

Bahan

said, adding that proposals might be coming to the council by February, assuming competitive bids are received. 

Bahan

also provided updates on a few Illinois Department of Transportation jurisdictional transfer considerations. One transfer into consideration is Winnetka Avenue right down to the Kenilworth limits,

Bahan

said. He also added that the village is looking right into a transfer on Willow Road since the state currently owns Willow from Forest Way until the previous location of Edwards Florist.  “There could also be some real good reasons to have a jurisdictional transfer in order that we are able to take care of lane configuration and maintenance and all the opposite utility work that we would like to do there,”

Bahan

said.  Quick hits:  The village expects representatives from Chase Bank to be in front of the Planned Development Commission later this month after which move forward to the design review board. Plans for that site were previously reported by The Record.  Officials are planning to fulfill with the Winnetka Park District later in February to work on a revised maintenance plan for potential updates to the Green Bay Trail.

Bahan

said there’s an existing agreement in place, but that “it’s probably time to update it.” Officials will then be what are the primary round of projects that we’d have the opportunity to get moving. The park district’s…

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