UPDATED 03/15/11 11:20 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce is set Tuesday night to reveal a much-anticipated master plan with a host of new development ideas.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Grzanich reports, community input has been a major part of creating the Master Plan. It will include a new vision for the commercial corridors of Lincoln, Southport and Belmont avenues.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Steve Grzanich reports
Chamber executive director Heather Way says people have asked for more shopping options in Lakeview. The plan also includes ideas for more green space and community space.
“Visitors and residents alike both would like to see an enhanced pedestrian experience. They also would like to see a more diverse mix of businesses in the retail sector. They’re also interested in new and unique restaurants,” Way said.
In a YouTube video posted by the chamber, several business owners suggested ideas for improving the neighborhood.
“My vision for the neighborhood is that I’d like to see more of an open, outdoor space that is appropriate for all ages to hang out,” said Candace Canty, owner of Dog-a-Holics pet supply shop, 3657 N. Southport Ave.
Carlin Sarmiento, manager of Uncle Dan’s outdoor gear shop at 3551 N. Southport Ave., said she would like to see upgrades under the CTA Brown Line tracks.
“The biggest eyesore to me is the area under the Brown Line ‘L’ on Southport. It definitely needs some work; some beautification,” Sarmiento said. “I go there to pick up a Zipcar, which is great having that in the neighborhood… but there’s this huge pothole. It’s just gravelly. There’s really nothing around it.”
Lisa Santos, owner of the Southport Grocery and Café, 3552 N. Southport Ave., had some creative ideas about outdoor public spaces, given that most of the land in the neighborhood is already densely built up.
“I started thinking about the rooftops, and I think that’s a great potential that I think we could develop in our neighborhood,” she said in the video.
Santos said the flat roofs at Blaine Elementary School, 1420 W. Grace St.; the Sheil Park field house, 3505 N. Southport Ave.; and the St. Luke Academy Lutheran school, 1500 W. Belmont Ave., could all be put to use for green space.
Tom Daniels, owner of Sam & Willy’s pet boutique, 3405 N. Paulina St., said something must be done about an empty lot at the three-way intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Paulina and Roscoe streets, which was created by the expansion of the Paulina Brown Line ‘L’ stop.
“It would be great if we could turn this into a public space park where we could host farmers markets, we could have an area for kids and also for pets – it would be great,” Daniels said in the video.
The plan answers many of the business owners’ concerns directly, and several more.
• To improve the space under the ‘L,’ the plan calls for a low-line pedestrian path connecting the Southport and Lincoln Avenue business districts.
The path beneath the Brown Line tracks between Southport Avenue and Paulina Street would incorporate landscaping, decorative lighting, and other aesthetic elements. A rendering of the path published in the Roscoe View Journal showed a rain garden, a new café, colorful lighting resembling on paper lanterns, and a new pedestrian crosswalk under the ‘L’ at Ashland Avenue.
• The plan calls for making the three-way intersection at Lincoln, Belmont and Ashland avenues more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists, with staggered traffic lights in the first phase, then later a sidewalk extension at Belmont and Lincoln avenues, a pedestrian island, and an improved bus stop and plaza at the northwest corner.
The plan for Lincoln, Ashland and Belmont also calls for a sidewalk extension along Marshfield Avenue so the Whole Foods at 3300 N. Ashland Ave. can put up an outdoor produce stand. A sidewalk café, on-street bike parking, and retractable bollards to close Marshfield Avenue for events are also envisioned by the plan.
• In addition, the plan calls for the Theater District-style signage for businesses along Southport to unify the street’s movie and stage theater character. The Southport Avenue district is dominated by the colorful marquee sign for the Music Box Theatre.
• For energy efficiency initiatives, the plan calls for a renewable energy co-op for business owners to collectively purchase renewable energy sources, and a new program for restaurants to donate kitchen scraps for composting and waste cooking oil for conversion to bio-diesel.
• Another component of the plan calls for more bike racks and covered bike parking, and bike lanes – especially on some east-west streets.
The plan is officially set to be unveiled between 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Luke’s Church Memorial Hall, 1500 W. Belmont Ave.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.