Yorkville OKs redesign plan for the downtown Hydraulic District

Hydraulic Avenue in downtown Yorkville, seen here looking east, intersects with the four-lane Route 47.

The Yorkville City Council voted in favor on July 9 to approve the project planning components from the Lakota Group on the revitalization of Yorkville’s downtown Hydraulic District.

All council members were in attendance.

At its June 25 meeting, the council agreed to use the imagery, graphics, and budget estimates developed by the Lakota Group for inclusion in an Illinois Rebuild Downtowns and Main Street grant application due July 22.

Boyd Ignemunson, local business owner of the downtown Law Office Pub and Music Hall, told the council that purchasing the FS Property, located in the heart of the downtown district, is vital to the community and the downtown area. He said the city’s collaborations with businesses is why he loves Yorkville, and foresees the revitalized district spearheading community events and gatherings.

The Hydraulic District is bordered by East Hydraulic Avenue, Van Emmon Street, South Bridge Street and Heustis Street.

The Lakota Group’s plans involve changing the current parking area into a green space, designed to enable both adequate parking and gathering for community and social events. Replacing the large parking lot will be a tree-lined “event lawn” with a constructed bandshell at the front. Plaza spaces for benches and social gathering are located adjacent.

The businesses facing the event lawn will undergo rear-building facade enhancements, including developing their outdoor patios and terraces. Overhead gateways will lead visitors down the festival pathways towards the event lawn.

The plan also constructs a landscape beaming with a fence to shield the current train tracks from the community gathering area.

The plan redesigns the available parking from the current large lot to five individual lots providing parking for 92 total spaces.

The council’s approval of the plan came with the stipulations that certain modifications be made, especially to address the concerns for adequate parking.

When reached for comment, city staff said they would seek business feedback if there are any concerns of smaller local-owned businesses facing cost increases due to the development of the district and the increase in property values.

Whispering Meadows settlement

The council also voted in favor of a settlement agreement with TRG Two, LLC, relating to pending litigation involving infrastructure left unfinished by Kimball Hill and subsequent landowners of the Whispering Meadows subdivision area.

The city previously settled claims with partners Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland in 2018. Fidelity agreed to pay the city $800,000. The funds were used to repair and repave many of the area’s streets.

TRG Venture Two, LLC, is agreeing to pay the city $760,000 and will deed the 15-acre property in Unit 4, which currently contains no Whispering Meadows homes, to Yorkville School District 115.

In exchange, the city is agreeing to waive enforcement of the completion of the remaining improvements by TRG, excepting sidewalks and parkway trees adjacent to TRG lots. The city must also complete Faxon Road construction by Nov. 1 and reduce various permit fees on new home construction by the amount of $3,050.

The settlement is contingent upon TRG coming to a final agreement with its claims against Fidelity.