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Downtown growth focus of proposed Yorkville plan

Downtown growth, new housing and open space are among the issues being discussed as part of an update on Yorkville’s comprehensive plan.

The plan provides a roadmap for future development in the city. The Yorkville Planning and Zoning Commission recently held a public hearing about the update to the plan.

The current plan was adopted in 2008.

The update of the plan has been worked on by the Chicago-based planning firm The Lakota Group. Nick Kalogeresis, vice president of the company, discussed changes and recommendations outlined in the plan.

He said the community’s vision for Yorkville has changed over the years.

“You’re definitely not Yorkville pre-2008,” Kalogeresis said.

The process of updating the city’s comprehensive plan got underway in September 2014. Among some of the proposed changes to the comprehensive plan are an added emphases on the downtown area, the addition of residential housing near shopping strips and saving of more open space.

Kalogeresis said even small changes to the comprehensive plan can make a big difference if the overall vision is kept in mind.

“We heard from the community one of the reasons they moved here is they like the small town character of Yorkville,” he said. “There’s a way we can maintain that feel of the environment.”

Kalogeresis said downtown Yorkville is highlighted in the plan.

“We took a little bit different tactic from the last downtown plan,” he said. “Our focus in this plan is to actually reorient downtown east and west, rather than making major investments along Route 47.”

He said downtown development should be the community’s focus moving forward. Kalogeresis said reorienting Bicentennial Riverfront Park is another key component to the downtown area.

“We feel there are opportunities both east and west—kind of expand it a little bit more and make that a major destination not only for the community, but for tourists and visitors,” he said. “It really is a great asset to have this park here and to be able to expand a little bit more might make it more of an attractive amenity.”

Planning and Zoning Commission member Richard Vinyard said he thinks the plan could be a great way to foster new development in Yorkville.

“If you look at what downtown Wheaton and Winfield, I mean, that’s kind of the look that you’re giving here,” he said to Kalogeresis. “I’ve seen your work there.”

The Yorkville City Council will eventually vote on the update to the comprehensive plan.

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