Developers for the Village Center project in downtown Riverside cleared their final hurdle Monday night, when village trustees voted 5-0 with one abstention to vacate a 67-foot-long north/south public alley that runs through the center of the property.

In exchange for giving the alley to developers Harry Liesenfelt and Nick Mlade, the village will receive a cash payment of $15,000 and establish a permanent 24-foot easement on the east end of the property to ensure access to the rear of the building along the north side of East Burlington Street.

While the vote to vacate the alley was unanimous, Trustee Kevin Smith asked if there was some risk of losing control of what could be built on the property should the Village Center development fall through.

Village Attorney Dean Krone responded that the village would still maintain the easement required by the vacation of the alley, and that the village could negotiate a new deal with the owner of the property if any change in the easement were sought by a future developer.

The current developers, however, look to have every intention of building the four-story commercial/condominium project at 13-15 Longcommon Road, formerly home to the Henninger Pharmacy, which closed in 1999.

Within the past week, the development company, Provencal Builders, has established a sales office in the former drug store. Construction on the development is expected to begin in the spring of 2006.

?”Bob Uphues