Board Compromises on Plaza Plan, Martin Avenue Will Not Be Closed

The board reviewed and approved an updated version of the original plan for open space in downtown Homewood—with a few tweaks.

Homewood trustees Tuesday met in the middle, and approved a plan for a plaza in downtown Homewood. The revised plan from the Lakota Group dictates that Martin Avenue not be permanently closed as part of the project. 

Instead, the plan calls for bollards to be put in place, for blocking the street during special events, said Trustee Anne Colton. The street will be one-way north of Ridge, with a roundabout to configure for two-way traffic. 

"It was 100 percent compromise," Colton said, of the change. 

The updated $500,000 plan allows for basic features, including pavers, tivoli—or hanging—lights and landscaping. The design incorporated aspects of public feedback offered up during a March 3 public meeting. The board will consider adding additional features such as a fountain, fire pits as it works to finalize the vision, Colton said. 

The board voted 4-1 in favor of the project. Trustee Kataras was absent. Colton was the dissenting vote, with incoming boutique hotel La Banque at the crux of her decision.

"For me, it came down to timing," Colton said. "I just want to see if the hotel will be bringing people in. 

"For me to consider investing that kind of money, I have to see a successful hotel."

Lakota Group representatives and the board are expected to tweak the plan in coming months, and begin seeking bids by the summer.

"The plan we saw was much better, due to people's input," Colton said. 

They expect to break ground in the fall, Colton said. La Banque is expected to open at the end of 2014. 

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Mary March 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM
I agree that parking is a significant issue for all of downtown Homewood, and a disincentive for people to shop or dine there. How many times will people circle around the block to find a parking place? I know that lots aren't pretty, don't generate tax revenue and foster use of vehicles, but suburbs with successful downtowns tend to have ample municipal parking that is free or virtually free --see Evanston and Naperville for two examples.
Genvieve LaChappele March 12, 2014 at 09:18 PM
Parking seems to be an issue for the Cottage on Dixie also. They have way too many parking spaces there.
Hernendo RevolveR March 12, 2014 at 10:28 PM
Yay. Another compromise. Instead of getting a whole plate of crap we are only getting half a plate. Either way it's crap. Give them a few months. There will be another budget crisis and we'll have to raise taxes to pay for "essential city services" like police and fire protection. Same crap, different day.
Homewood Jim March 13, 2014 at 08:39 AM
Parking. As many have pointed out, parking is the key. Why did Tom's survive when 3 Brothers closed? Parking. Why is downtown Lagrange busy? PLENTY of parking. Free parking. Pass the lipstick - we are going to make this downtown pig look great!
Vernon Cherrywood April 12, 2014 at 07:48 PM
I love the renovation idea. Homewood needs to modernize and attract a younger generation, even if this plan needs some alterations. BTW, Why is it I only seem to read a lot of bitching and moaning on the patch? What have you ACTUALLY done to help your community other than complain on this blog about the people trying to improve Homewood? Do you have a recommendation, suggestion or even constructive criticism? Great! We should be proud of our town, sense of community, open government, and village amenities. There is always room for improvement and discussion but can't we raise the bar on the comments?


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