Riverside residents are being given a final chance to voice their opinion on future development in the village’s central business district at a community workshop scheduled for Saturday, July 16.
The workshop, which will be held in the village hall from 8:30 a.m. to noon, is the second phase in the creation of the Transit-Oriented Development Plan, which will set specific guidelines and goals for development in the downtown area.
According to Village Manager Kathleen Rush, at the workshop consultants from URS-TPAP and Bauer Latoza Studio will present three different scenarios for potential development in the area.
Richard Wilson, the principal urban planner at URS/TPAP, said these proposals will be comprehensive visions of what the downtown could look like in the next five to 10 years. He said they were created based on suggestions made by residents at the first workshop in June, and consider not only parking structures and buildings, but also landscapes, streetscapes and trainscapes, or the view of the downtown from passing passenger trains.
After the consultants have explained the three options, residents will be given a chance to critique them. Like in the first workshop, Rush said, residents will break off into smaller groups to discuss the proposals, picking out aspects they like and others they could do without. From those discussions, consultants hope to gather a clearer picture of the type of downtown residents want to see.
“We want to leave Saturday with a list of things residents want in their downtown,” Wilson said. “We’re not going to solve everything, but we want to build a consensus around the remaining questions.”
From there, Wilson said, he and his colleagues will create a more detailed plan for the downtown, looking at cost estimates and various strategies the village could take to actually implement the proposed changes. The final version of the TOD plan will be submitted to the village board by the end of the year.
Because this is the last opportunity for residents to voice their opinions on downtown development, Rush said she’s hoping for a larger crowd than the first workshop, anywhere from 40 to 60 people. She said she was happy with the response to the first workshop, and hopes the interest in the TOD plan will continue.
“I thought [the residents] provided a perspective to consultants that they needed to hear, and it’s always good to get a group excited about a project,” she said. “This is going to be a merging, collaborative process where people have a voice not just in the wording of the plan but also in the way it looks.”
The TOD study is being funded in large part by a grant from Metra.