Updated: April 28, 2013 7:12AM
I have lived in Midlothian for six years. It’s not a bad place to live, but for years my family and I have heard promise upon promise about how the village is going to revitalize its “downtown” and bring more businesses to town.
I put “downtown” in quotes because I cannot fathom where downtown Midlothian is. Is it the strip along 147th Street from roughly Pulaski Road east to the Metra tracks? What is there other than some closed businesses and a few odd small ones. No one’s sure where the downtown is.
Here’s what I do know. We have a nice gazebo park, a new liquor store and Aura, a hotel where couples can relax in a hot tub. So Midlothian has managed to build a nice park in six years and bring one new business to town while relocating an existing one.
The village also is seriously lacking in good places to eat. We have Hog Wild at 149th and Pulaski, which I love, and some fast-food places but not really much to choose from. I read in the SouthtownStar where nearby towns are bringing in new restaurants and wonder why we cannot. Don’t forget, when you’re eating in other towns, their economy is boosted, not Midlothian’s.
Village officials need to do more to attract restaurants such as Culver’s, Steak and Shake, Buffalo Wild Wings or TGI Fridays so Midlothian diners don’t have to leave town. There’s a whole strip of undeveloped property, consisting mostly of vacant car dealerships, along two blocks near 147th Street and Cicero Avenue. Instead of just words, why not some action?
Stop the Illiana Expressway
Are you tired of the State of Illinois planners pushing major public works projects that nobody wants?
First it was the third airport near Peotone that even the airlines do not want and for which the state cannot find financing. Now it’s the Illiana Expressway that not even the trucking companies want.
The planned highway, or tollway, will essentially put up a wall from the state line to Interstate 55, cutting off many local roads, and it will have few interchanges, which will concentrate traffic onto already heavily traveled local roads. The highway will mean more noise, pollution and traffic problems for those living near it.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has picked the more southern of two proposed routes, claiming it will mean no more traffic than the northern route. It’s obvious from looking at the map of the two routes that the north route would draw more traffic, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning agrees. IDOT’s selection of the southern route is based on flawed projections.
The state’s finances are a mess and for it to come up with billions of dollars to build the Illiana Expressway is not realistic. If it’s a tollway, will people pay to take it over I-80? And how high will the tolls be?
Is the state going to end up with a similar situation to the third airport, where it cannot find public or private funds to build it? Join the fight against this highway by visiting email@example.com.