To the Editor:
The City of McHenry can do better than the redevelopment project proposal for a gas station being erected on the Green St/Route 120/Route 31 N corner. This block is the connector of the three historic downtown areas.
There has been significant resources invested in trying to market McHenry as a destination again.
A new energy is drawing residents and visitors to the downtown and the events that highlight the city.
The proposed gas station with fast food (and no electric charging stations) will cover three corners, and will have ingress and egress on a fourth street. It fronts a thriving vintage neighborhood.
Our neighbors will be confronted with 24/7 lighting, noise and added traffic.
There are currently three closed gas stations on 120, and another recently demolished. Drivers passing through will not be buying more gas because there is a new station.
Tax incentives offered hinder collecting sales tax revenue for up to a decade.
The existing bank building could be re-purposed. The current structure dates from the 1990s, is not historic, but visually anchors the downtown.
Nearby towns have drawn visionaries to re-create spaces for private investment.
Regardless of saving the bank building, a more thoughtful, looking-to-the-future infill project would aid in future Riverwalk investment.
This structure could be any of these: arts center, auction house, supportive living, affordable studio apartments, indoor ice hockey arena, sports training center (for profit; basketball, volleyball, badminton, pickle ball, dodgeball, suspended walking/running track), community college satellite site, private school, business incubator (shared technology, equipment, commercial kitchens).
Landscaped parking were the current service station stands. Pick up, drop off and handicapped by the bank building. Additional parking across 120 with improved pedestrian access.