"Retrofitting suburbia" has to be the lamest new catchphrase I have heard in a long time, but the Trib just wrote about the redevelopment of the Randhurst Mall in Mount Prospect.
The short version is they demolished the entire shopping mall (save Carson's and Bed Bath and Beyond) to redevelop the area:
"in an act of radical design surgery, Randhurst is being remade into an open-air, mixed-use development that will have many features of a traditional downtown, including shops, movie theaters, offices and a hotel."
You know what that sounds like to me? The Glen Town Center. Built on the site of the old Glenview Naval Air Station, I was determined to forever hate this...suburban retrofitting. But I love it. You know how much time I spend there? Click on that link. You'll probably find my car in the picture.
Anyway, I've been keeping an eye on Randhurst and was last there two or three weeks ago. They are far enough along that I have officially declared it not worth going to Carson's until they are done. It is too hard to find a reasonable (read as: safe) place to park. But what interested me in this article is the debate going on in Mount Prospect about whether this "retrofitting" (ok, the word is growing on me) will draw people away from the traditional downtown area - by the railroad station.
Glenview had the same debate over the Glen Town Center. If memory serves, the biggest stink was over moving the Post Office to a new building near the new development. We all wanted the second train station. But oh, the drama of moving the post office away from the sacred Glenview Road. The parking is much better now.
I believe - I'm not sure, but I believe - Glenview has gotten over it and we all enjoy our Main Street with an Air Traffic Control Tower (that Main Street is actually called Tower Road).
Ooh! Tangent! The first time I took my friend Austin there, I nearly gave him a heart attack. His Dad is an officer and he grew up on the base. So we were sitting in Starbucks and he was all disconcerted about what used to be where. I said, "Yeah, Dude. We could be sitting in your old living room right now." He about dropped his coffee. So then I felt terrible and said, "No! We aren't really in your living room! Look! The Tower is right across the street. We're, like, on the runway or something!"
I don't think that made him feel better.
Anyway. The only grumblings I hear are about the tax revenue from the new development. Something about a deal that was cut to encourage people to come here, and the suggestion that they still aren't paying the same taxes as the rest of us.
Whatever. I can honestly point to the Glen Town Center and say that was when I started to love my town again. I think Mt. Prospect is going to do great.