Riverside’s village board gets another chance to consider building a parking lot at 61-63 E. Burlington St., on the edge of the downtown business district, courtesy of a grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
How this discussion will be any different from the previous one is unclear. A majority of the board in 2009 decided that the parking lot at that site was not its highest and best use.
Since that time there hasn’t been much attention paid to that piece of property, purchased by a previous village board, a body the current majority has sought to distance itself from. There’s been no further examination, as far as we know, into what the best use for that land would be.
Last December, Trustee Ben Sells (one of the minority who supported a parking lot back in 2009) proposed – in impromptu fashion – that the village apply for one of the “green” infrastructure grants that the IEPA offers.
After just a little hemming and hawing, the board shrugged and said, “Well, OK, it’s just an application. We’ll deal with it when they start handing out awards.”
It was one of those be-careful-what-you-ask-for moments. By applying for the grant to build a green parking lot at 61-63 E. Burlington St., the board majority finds itself in an awkward position.
Having already turned down the idea of a parking lot (including a green version funded partially with grant money from Metra), here they are having to go through the discussion all over again.
And the question remains: Has anything actually changed? Not really. The lots are still vacant, business isn’t booming and parking doesn’t appear to be a pressing issue at this very moment. Of course, the previous argument for the lot wasn’t about what was needed now, but what might help spur economic development and accommodate it in the future.
Maybe everyone just wanted to relive the fun days of 2009.