RTA to aid Tinley in development strategy
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org April 29, 2014 9:10PM
A site at Oak Park Avenue and 175th Street in Tinley Park is available for development. The village is receiving assistance from the Regional Transportation Authority to help spur development along the Oak Park Avenue business district. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 1, 2014 6:32AM
Hoping to spur development along the village’s Oak Park Avenue business district, Tinley Park will be getting free professional help.
The Regional Transportation Authority and the Urban Land Institute will assemble a panel of development experts, who, later this year, will offer advice and guidance to village officials on how to stimulate development.
The village applied for the assistance grant last summer, and the RTA announced in November that Tinley Park was one of 10 projects to receive funding under the authority’s community planning program.
The village still needs to approve a memorandum with the RTA identifying what work will be done, and that’s expected to be formalized next month.
Village officials are hoping to draw more businesses to the area around the Oak Park Avenue Metra station, with the transit-oriented development including residential building to maximize the number of people living within walking distance of the station. That, in turn, officials hope, would bring more retail development to the area.
The keystone of the village’s downtown redevelopment has been the Boulevard at Central Station, which is slated for a triangular piece of land south of the Metra station, at South Street and 67th Court.
The building will include 167 apartments as well as, at street level, businesses such as restaurants. Plans were approved nearly two years ago, but the project has been slow to get under way because of tightness in the commercial lending market brought on by the recession and turmoil in real estate markets.
The village, in its application for the RTA grant, also noted the recession put the brakes on other commercial projects that may have been considered for the downtown district.
The experts assembled by the RTA and land institute would review village planning efforts and offer short- and long-term recommendations during a half-day workshop and panel that would take place later this spring or in early summer, according to village and RTA documents.
Village officials hope the experts will weigh in on what investments are needed to make the downtown more attractive to developers, and advise what the village can do to promote and market the area to regional and national developers.
Along with the immediate area around the train station, long-range redevelopment plans extend north along Oak Park Avenue to 167th Street and south to 183rd Street, where a traffic roundabout is being planned.
The village anticipates additional commercial development at that intersection, which it envisions as becoming the southern gateway to the downtown business district.
Officials recently approved plans for a redevelopment of a small retail center at the northwest corner of Oak Park Avenue and 183rd Street. Tinley Park-based Mack Cos. plans to renovate the building’s facade, among other improvements, and a bakery and cafe is planned for one of the empty storefronts.
Also, Gov. Pat Quinn’s office recently announced nearly $700,000 in state funds had been earmarked for a widening and resurfacing of Oak Park Avenue between South and 183rd streets. The work will also include installation of a bike path.