Art installations, festival streets included as ideas for a Crystal Lake plan centered around train stations

City Council is set to vote on adopting the plan, which also includes ideas for development, at its next meeting

Art installations, festival streets, and a number of development and redevelopment opportunities are just a few of the ideas outlined in the city of Crystal Lake’s strategic action plan, which is centered around its train stations.

According to city staff, the strategic action plan will guide future development strategies and establish a direction for pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle infrastructure.

City Council members are set to vote on whether to adopt the plan at its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Crystal Lake has one train station downtown operated by the city and another one on Pingree Road operated by Metra.

To help pay for the plan, city staff applied for a grant from the Regional Transportation Authority that pays 80% of the cost for the plan.

Houseal Lavigne with Fish Transportation Group was selected as the consultant for the project.

On May 18, a draft version of the plan was shown to the City Council for review, with council members mostly expressing support for it.

City Planner Elizabeth Maxwell the plan is not a regulatory document, but rather one that helps “set a vision” for the city.

“When staff starts talking with developers or property owners within these little station areas, we can share with them the suggestions that are in that plan for improving pedestrian and bike facilities and what densities are appropriate for the market conditions,” Maxwell said.

A number of suggestions were included in the plan for development, redevelopment and amenities that could be added to the area.

A festival street, with special streetscape improvements, lighting and movable bollards, as well as outdoor seating, could generate additional social gathering places, according to the plan.

To welcome visitors to downtown Crystal Lake, the plan suggested working with Downtown Crystal Lake Main Street and other local artists to establish a program to install permanent and temporary public art installations.

At the Pingree Road station, these public art opportunities could be leveraged at the station area’s key intersections, according to the plan.

Some of these recommendations were aimed at making the area more walkable, such as “direct and safe pedestrian walkways between the existing alleyway at N. Williams and Main streets as an amenity within future development.”

The city should encourage additional single-family attached development in the eastern side of Walkup Avenue between Woodstock and Grant streets and in the southern end of East Crystal Lake Avenue and North Main Street in the Crystal Lake Station Area, according to the plan.

“Single-family attached should also be prioritized as one of the residential land uses within the Main Street Crossing Site in the Pingree Road Station Area,” according the plan.

When it comes to multifamily developments, these should be concentrated within downtown Crystal Lake, along the eastern edge of Walkup Avenue between Crystal Lake Avenue and Woodstock Street and the Main Street crossing site, according to the plan.

For future commercial uses in the area around the Crystal Lake train station, the plan suggests putting them within mixed-use buildings near the intersection of North Main Street, East Crystal Lake Avenue and Brink Street.

In the Pingree Road station area, opportunities for commercial developments exist along North Main Street within the Main Street crossing site, according to the plan.

Three sites where the city should target redevelopment are Walkup Avenue, Minnie Street and Woodstock Street; Main Street and Brink Street; and the Main Street crossing at the Pingree Road station area, according to the plan.

Cassie Buchman

Cassie Buchman

I cover Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Prairie Grove and Oakwood Hills for the Northwest Herald.