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Libertyville sets goals to improve the village
By Mick Zawislak | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/19/2008 12:09 AM

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Libertyville trustees have their work cut out for them for the next year with an ambitious list of goals and projects.

Here's a synopsis, as recently approved by the board.

• Redevelopment of the Trimm property and downtown train station: The village wants to work with owners of the property directly west of the downtown train station to determine a specific development plan. In turn, that would allow the village to work with Metra, the commuter rail agency, regarding a new train station and platform improvements west of the current station. The village also is interested in redevelopment for a portion of the existing commuter lot between Milwaukee and Brainerd avenues.

• Special service area for downtown: The downtown Tax Increment Financing district expires in December 2009. The village already has studied the possibilities of extending the district, leaving the special service area on hold. The TIF question is expected to be answered soon. Pending that decision, the special service area, considered an ongoing revenue source specifically for the downtown area, will be reviewed.

• Libertyville Sports Complex operations and management study: The village has a contract to sell the Family Entertainment Center portion of the complex at Route 45 and Peterson Road, which will allow it to refund the debt and improve the finances of the sports complex. The study would provide a comprehensive strategy for improving its operation and financial condition.

• Community Survey: The board wants to determine resident satisfaction with village services, assess community needs, and possibly identify future concerns or policy issues. Residents were last surveyed in 1998.

• Peterson Road/Route 137 streetscape improvements: The village has a consultant proposal to study a request from property owners for a traffic signal at Cass Avenue. It also will solicit proposals to assist with the design and development of streetscape project to possibly include improved landscaping and lighting.

• Complete improvements to Bull Creek and Butler Lake ponds: The village wants to improve the ponds on the west side of Butler Lake and those areas of Bull Creek which traverse the village.

• Downtown parking lot improvements: Design of a new parking deck is under way and the next step would be for various parking improvements downtown. This would be a multi-year undertaking due to the complexity of the project and the need to acquire land or easements on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue.

• Space needs for parks and recreation department/Brainerd building: Staff recommends hiring a consultant to evaluate the space needs and feasibility of the department using a portion of the Brainerd Building and Jackson Gym. The long-term goal is to convert the former Libertyville High School and gym into a community center.

• Green government initiative: Formalize a program to include participation in the Metropolitan Mayors' Caucus "Greenest Region Compact of Metropolitan Chicago" and formalize a strategy of areas where the village has or can address environmental and energy issues. This likely will include further efforts to promote residential water conservation and recycling and internal efforts by the village to decrease energy consumption.

• Develop vacant properties: This has also been an annual goal, although one of three properties, on the southwest corner of Lake Street and Milwaukee Avenue, is under construction. Village officials want to see progress on the proposed grocery store on the former Frank's Nursery property, Milwaukee Avenue and Artaius Parkway. The remaining piece is the former Shell gas station at Milwaukee and Park avenues. This has become a top priority because of its prominent location as the southern gateway to downtown.