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PARK RIDGE, IL-Redevelopment of this northwest suburb’s Central Business District is likely to begin on two fronts—the site of the city’s public library as well as land on Touhy Avenue purchased from a car dealer. That’s the vision, anyway, of a comprehensive plan for the Uptown area recommended for approval by the city’s planning and zoning commission.

Numerous developers have sent letters to the city, apparently poised to create new space in a Downtown along a major Metra commuter rail line. (See:Suburb’s Uptown Vision Approaches Take-Off.) They are closer to the drawing board following a favorable recommendation recently by the planning and zoning commission.

Borders and Barnes & Noble are among the retailers that have expressed interest in the library site, but they would co-exist with a new library at its current location at 20 S. Prospect.

Tom Payne, a principal with the consulting firm Trkla, Pettigrew, Allen & Payne, Inc., suggests the former Bredemann auto dealership should ultimately become a mixed-use development. In addition, he suggests the city should relocate its underground reservoir near the site to increase the area’s development potential. Another nearby auto dealership, Napleton Cadillac, also could be redevelopment with multifamily construction.

While the consultants have not recommended relocating the library, they have suggested first-floor retail space on the site, perhaps part of a new library built there. However, the few residents at Monday’s public hearing objected to increasing retail space in Uptown, especially on the library site.

The master plan is the culmination of nearly three years of work by two dozen volunteers on the Uptown Advisory Task Force, which solicited community opinion in a survey that drew 2,700 responses.

“It’s obvious thousands of citizens have had input in this project,” says Ellen Upton, chairperson of the task force. “When we started this process, there was a real air of discomfort among the people of Park Ridge.”

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