Local News

More parking, ice rink proposed for downtown Huntley

Huntley officials are expecting more people to visit the downtown area through new developments and events

With development proposals moving forward, the Huntley Village Board will host a special meeting Thursday to discuss plans to add parking downtown and near the Catty building and adding season attractions, such as shops and an ice rink.

The discussions will help the village finalize its planned spending using revenue raised through the downtown tax increment financing, or TIF, district. Previous projects the village had budgeted funds for over the last two years changed or were unable to be completed because of the pandemic, according to the village, and Thursday’s meeting will help the village prioritize new projects in the downtown TIF district.

Topping the village’s discussion list for Thursday is parking in two areas of the village.

The village is looking to add parking behind Huntley’s post office and former fire station on Coral Street. A parking lot currently exists behind the fire station, but not the post office. Officials hope expanding the lot will ease the amount of street parking along Coral Street.

Officials are considering two different plans for adding parking in the area on top of expanding the lot behind the post office, according to village documents. The options include adding 18 parallel parking spaces along Woodstock Street or adding parallel parking along Woodstock Street and turning First Street into a one-way with parking on one side.

The former fire station on Coral Street is in the process of being sold by the village. The village has been in talks with a developer to add additional stories to the fire station and turn it into an apartment building with a first-floor restaurant, which would increase the need for parking around the building and along Coral Street.

In addition to ongoing development talks, the village also is interested in adding event space around the intersection of Church and Main streets.

The village wants to create a “village” of small shops for what officials call “affordable lease options” for businesses that do not have a physical retail location. The shops are single-room, 144-square-foot buildings and would be required to be open Friday through Sunday from the middle of May to the middle of December.

The plan is based off of the Batavia Boardwalk, where the shops are built by students in the Batavia High School shop classes, according to Huntley village documents.

Officials also are interested in adding a public ice rink at the location.

The space for both the shops and ice rink is owned by First Congregational Church, but officials said they are in conversations with the church to lease the open space.

Parking around the Catty development also is a priority. The village approved an agreement in September to begin development of the site with True North Properties, a Michigan-based property management company that specializes in vacation rentals.

The parking proposal calls for extending the existing municipal lot located along Main Street to the north of the property into what currently is a gravel lot next to the Catty property.

This project comes with higher costs, according to village documents. A water main would need to be relocated and overhead power lines would need to be buried, which would bring the cost up to $2.85 million. However, village notes funds had been budgeted for those construction projects before when the village was working to get a train station at the Catty site.

The village also is seeking input about landscaping suggestions around the proposed parking lot and Catty site as part of the project.