Huntley moves forward with downtown makeover

Initial makeover could happen as early as next year

HUNTLEY – The first cosmetic improvements to downtown Huntley will include added landscape, reconfigured parking and beautified intersections near Route 47 and along Main Street.

The Village Board generally voiced support for the improvements during a committee meeting Thursday, as members intensified the ongoing effort to revamp the look of the historic downtown.

The initial makeover could happen as early as 2014.

In the meantime, designers from Houseal Lavigne, a Chicago planning firm, will develop a more detailed plan for the downtown and provide village officials a sense of the costs.

“This is really a stepping-stone to getting to that final document and really fine-tuning the consensus on the overall design,” said Charles Nordman, the village’s development services director.

The fine-tuning involved trustees deliberating a variety of design options to improve the landscape at the corners of Route 47 and Main Street.

Members also discussed ways to reconfigure street parking along Main Street and examined a proposed overhaul to the village parking lot surrounding the former Sawyer-Kelley Mill, south of Main Street.

Trustees, in particular, debated the northwest corner of Route 47 and Main Street, a noticeable downtown entrance. The majority of members ultimately liked the idea of transforming the corner into a public space that included pathways backdropped with trees.

“It will make the area more greener,” Trustee John Piwko said.

The proposed changes to the village parking lot would include added landscape to block out the railroad tracks and the Dean Foods processing plant. It would also add parking spaces, if the village can acquire the adjacent land.

Consultants from Houseal Lavigne asked trustees earlier this year for their opinions on certain design elements through a visual survey. The village has also eyed other downtown improvements, like refreshed building facades, which could be unveiled in the future.

“There’s more to come,” Village Manager Dave Johnson said. “But this really sets the tone for what we see in the future and gives the consultant direction in developing the plan.”

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