As we head into spring and leave behind a year filled with hardship, I am grateful for our resilient residents and community, and to be able to lend help and support as your mayor through these tumultuous times.
There are many signs of hope and excitement ahead. The reopening of the economy with reduced restrictions with safety and responsibility in mind, is underway. Many across America, and here in our local communities, including our heroic healthcare workers and first responders, are receiving vaccinations for COVID-19. Like you, I welcome the near future when we can share in community-wide celebrations and gatherings with family, friends and neighbors. Our actions over these weeks and months will help shape and affect the course of 2021. I encourage you to shop, eat and source local, particularly restaurants that have been limited in operations and the ability to earn. Teachers, students as well, are working extraordinarily hard in academics and a return to sports; they deserve our support to do their best.
With the necessary protocols, we are looking ahead with projects and plans. In December, the Village of Antioch closed on the purchase of a two-acre parcel known as the Pittman Property. Through careful and focused negotiations, the Village was able to secure the parcel below asking price. Located at the intersection of Main, Depot and Orchard Streets, the area is zoned as “Village Core,” allowing it to accommodate commercial, residential or mixed-use application. Options include having the creek remain underground, opening it up, or a combination/mix of each. The Village is working with its engineering and environmental consultants to help formulate solutions that are in the best interests of the community. The Village will work with the Economic Development Committee and the Antioch Chamber, and gather citizen input to determine the highest and best use for the property. Decisions for final use require action by the Village Board of Trustees. Progress updates can be found online at antioch.il.gov.
While the Pittman Property project is being managed, the Village will be working on a long-term plan for a series of beautification improvements in the downtown. Known as the Downtown Beautification Project, plans call for hardscape and landscape features, arcades, parking lots, as well as the creation of additional green space within the areas of Main, Lake, Orchard and Toft Streets. The plan would also include improvements to the Pittman Property. Seven applicants submitted proposals for consideration, with Village staff deciding on three finalists, and the recommendation of the Lakota Group, which specializes in urban design, planning, landscape architecture and historic preservation, for approval. This work is actively underway now.
The Village of Antioch’s downtown has the opportunity grow and thrive again (creating jobs, too) with the addition of new businesses like Station 51, a firehouse-style eatery planned for the former David’s Bistro location on Main Street. The 80- to 90-seat restaurant will offer a “new brand, new concept” brought together by local restaurateur, Kris Schoenberger, where diners select dishes, cooked to order, from six different virtual food trucks. The firehouse features will be a nod to a building just north on Main Street, built in 1907 as the village hall and police and fire departments, with room for one fire truck. Exterior work will create enlarged bays with overhead doors that can be opened in summer, emulating a “firehouse look.” A late spring opening is planned.
More great things are on the horizon, too, with a bit of “normalcy” and routine weaved in. Village Hall is now open with Tier 4 Restore Illinois guidelines in place. Special in-person hours provide for early entry for seniors and at-risk individuals. Parks and recreation programming is on the uptick, so be sure to learn more online or by calling 847-395-2160. You can also download a copy of the spring/summer offerings online.
Before we know it, we’ll be seeing more daylight and thinking parades and get-togethers. Stay positive and keep the hope and excitement going.
As always, it’s an honor to serve as your mayor.
Mayor Lawrence “Larry” Hanson