Visions of an open, public space in downtown Homewood might soon become a reality.
Homewood trustees Tuesday will vote on whether to move forward with plans to create a plaza near incoming boutique hotel "La Banque."
A design firm has fleshed out options for two main locations for the new public space: the stretch of Martin Avenue north of Ridge (extending to Village Hall) and the stretch of Martin Avenue just south of Ridge (extending to the Gottschalk House). Both are likely to incorporate features ranging from a splash pad to outdoor fireplaces, public seating and Tivoli lights.
The project, with all the bells and whistles, could possibly cost the village up to $700,000. Village officials hope the development will increase local retail traffic and revenue and provide an economic return to the village.
"The idea is to develop a heart—a gathering place for the town," Community Development Director Paula Wallrich said at an earlier meeting.
But trustee Anne Colton said moving forward with the project might be premature. Homewood has previously extended a sizable chunk of TIF funds to hotel owner Dr. Claude Gendreau.
"We've already invested $900,000 in public funds," Colton said. "I want to see some results first. I want to make sure this is a successful venture."
Since first broaching the idea in Fall 2013, the village has moved quickly with the concept. The Lakota Group design firm of Chicago conducted a site analysis of Homewood's central business district for the possible plaza location. Colton is not convinced the space is in high demand, citing two parks within blocks of the space, which sit relatively unused.
"I think we should take advantage of spaces that already exist," she said.
The board meets Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m., 2020 Chestnut Road.