The past is prologue and we must learn to revisit it so that we do not make the same mistakes. I am all for a downtown area for Buffalo Grove. I think Buffalo Grove suffers from not having a downtown and I would love to walk the downtown area and support our local businesses.
However, I am not convinced that plowing the golf course for the purpose of essentially trying to establish downtown II is a good idea. Not, at least, the residents of the village are convinced that nothing can be down to redevelop the Town Center and to be sure our Trustees have learned the lessons from the past.
Go back to January 28, 1979. The Chicago Tribune stated that our officials believed we needed a town center and that they were "...not interested in a regional or strip shopping center." They spoke of a possible library on the site. A combination of retain and open space.
Jump to January 17, 1982 and they were still taking about transforming "the historic area at Lake-Cook and Buffalo Grove Roads into a "downtown" district of shopping and office complexes."
On August 18, 1987, The Trib reported that "Buffalo Grove finally will get a downtown." Town Center was described as "a mall-type tenant mix in a neighborhood shopping center" and something that the municipality has long sought for its main shopping district.
Race forward to present day, and it is generally agreed that Town Center has been a flop. Clearly its not a downtown nor a main shopping district. It does have retail - though most stores have not lasted. It does have open space - though instead of being integrated into the shopping district, the open space is off on its own alongside the post office - not easily accessible from the retail area. How nice it would have been to have a nice area to sit and relax while shopping. Remember the old Mill and pond at Golf Mill?
So what went wrong? The Village obviously spent a lot of time trying to create a downtown area. Many years in fact. Why don't we already have out downtown?
President Braiman shrugs off ideas about Town Center revitalization because the Village has limited control over the Town Center. Why is that? Why did the Village give up so much control over the development of an area they considered "historic"?
There may be very reasonable answer to these questions. Buffalo Grove residents deserve the answers. We also need to know why there is nothing to be done about redeveloping the Town Center - even if means tearing down the current retail are and rebuilding - and even if tax incentive need to be given to get it down.
If nothing really can be done, what happens to Town Center? Does it eventually become nothing more than a parking lot in the historic area of the village?
More importantly, Buffalo Grove residents need to know that the Village Trustees have done their homework, understand what went wrong in the process of developing our first "downtown" and what they are going to do to be sure the same mistakes are made in developing "downtown II."
These types of projects affect a village for years to come - in character, in quality of life, in revenue required to provide services, in taxes. Let's not let another Town Center be thrust upon our Village - at least not without the consenus of its residents and certainly not until we are assured that we have, indeed, learned from the past.