News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet city manager highlights bright spots in NorthPoint plan

Interim City Manager Steve Jones addresses Tom George, director of NorthPoint development on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at City Hall in Joliet, Ill.

Several selling points for the NorthPoint Development plan were presented to the Joliet City Council this week.

Interim Joliet City Manager Steve Jones made a presentation on the proposed Compass Business Park on Tuesday at a City Council meeting where the project was not on the agenda but was up for discussion.

Veterans were waiting for their opportunity to voice opposition to the project during public comments at the end of the meeting.

Jones made his presentation as part of a city manager report regularly made at council meetings.

"We all know this is a highly emotional issue – a very complex issue," Jones said.

Jones said he wanted to give the council an opportunity to ask questions about the project before the March 17 meeting when it is up for a vote.

He then gave a favorable report on the project that is facing stiff opposition from residents in the area .

Veterans were there to voice opposition to more trucks being added to the vicinity of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, which is near the border of the proposed Compass Business Park.

Jones pointed to potentially positive features of the Compass Business Park:

• A closed-loop design that would send truck traffic onto Interstate 80 using the future Houbolt Road bridge or Interstate 55 using Arsenal Road and keep it off of Route 53;

• No city tax incentives for NorthPoint, which instead would provide Joliet with $2 million up front for community enhancements and potentially $5.3 million more over time depending on how much construction occurs in the park planned for 16 million square feet of space;

• Potential non-warehouse development of up to 20 percent of the project based on NorthPoint goals but not required in the annexation agreement that will go to the council for approval;

• New traffic studies after every 3 million square feet of construction to monitor the impact of the project on local roads;

• A development with trails and other features that Jones said would resemble a planned community.

"Their proposed plan would have a lot of things that will tie into the community as well as serving the employees of the park," Jones said.

Jones' presentation did not impress opponents who spoke afterwards, saying they believed the project would pour more trucks onto local roads and worsen living conditions in surrounding areas.

“We are sort of being taken in by something we can’t handle,” said Felix Pasteris, a World War II veteran who lives in Joliet. “Usually money wins out. I hope that doesn’t happen this time.”

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News