Huntley to turn two vacant lots downtown into public spaces

Goal is to have spots ready by summer when other developments wrap up

The former Fire Station 1 of the Huntley Fire Protection District at 11808 Coral St. in Huntley on Thursday, March 10, 2022. A new development that calls for the renovation of the village's old fire station downtown was approved Thursday by the Village Board. The plan calls for three stories to be added to the building, as well as renovations to prepare it for mixed use, including a restaurant on the first floor and residential on the upper floors. The plan is a key part of the village's plans to redevelop its downtown area.

Huntley’s buildout of its downtown continues, as the village eyes two vacant lots it plans to make into public spaces.

The Village Board approved an agreement to lease out the spots for a total of $5,000 per year at its meeting last week, according to village material. The parcels lie on the east and west sides of the building located at 11810 Main St.

The lots, located on Main Street just off of Woodstock Street and right next to Coral Street, are privately owned, but will be leased by the village for public use, Deputy Village Manager Lisa Armour said.

What could end up going in the spot still needs to be determined. The ice storms from last week caused power issues during the meeting, which meant a presentation couldn’t be held.

A discussion on what to do with the parcels will take place at a future meeting.

Some ideas being considered include outdoor dining, seating, landscaping and signage, according to village material. On the east parcel, a seating area, a fire pit and a paved path to other key developments are on the table.

A paved patio area next what is soon to be Lincoln House and Co., a coffee and wine bar, is also possible, according to village material, along with lighting that strings across the buildings.

“We’re really trying to begin utilizing those spaces for more of a use,” Armour said.

Beyond the annual $5,000, the village will also be on the hook for landscaping, hardscaping improvements and maintenance, as well as any equipment, like tables, benches and chairs it sets up.

Just behind the lots is the new Coral Street development, which will see the old fire station building turned into a four-story apartment building with a D.C. Cobbs on the ground floor.

The development was approved in March of last year, with the village being responsible for developing part of the site into a parking lot.

The goal is to tie these new public spots into the developments and businesses surrounding it, Armour said.

With the Coral Street development and the Lincoln House business all slated to open by the summer, Armour said the goal will be to have the public spaces finished around that time too.

“We want it to coincide with those,” she said.