Despite opposition Plainfield recreation center moves forward

Madhu Mayer | 9/20/2017, 1:13 p.m.
Despite the pleas of residents, the Plainfield Village Board will allow the construction of an indoor and outdoor recreation facility ...

Despite the pleas of residents, the Plainfield Village Board will allow the construction of an indoor and outdoor recreation facility at 24550 W. Renwick Road.

The 37,579-square-foot recreation center is proposed to be build on two vacant parcels fronting Gregory B. Bott Park, which is in an area zoned low-density, single-family residential. It will also include an ancillary preschool inside the building. The facility is named after the longtime executive director of the Plainfield Park District.

The facility will provide basketball courts/gymnasium, a fitness center, a running rack and a multi-purpose room. But these plans have drawn the ire of nearby residents, who worry about increase traffic in the area, water runoff and environmental issues. One nearby resident said the structure is more suitable on 143rd Street and Van Dyke Road, where many industrial businesses are located.

Angie McCormick, who lives in the nearby Park Place subdivision, at Monday's Plainfield Village Board meeting said not only is traffic bad near her home, but drivers regularly travel above the posted 30 mph limit. She fears the recreational facility will only worsen the congestion and cause more accidents, placing the lives of children and residents in danger.

"This will look like a misplaced building by our lovely homes," she said.

A man who lives near the proposed site previously asked the board how they could even consider voting on a project without seeing results of a traffic study that is currently being completed. That traffic study, which was completed days after the resident made his comments, shows that the project will not have a negative impact in the area, according to Jake Melrose, economic development specialist for the Village of Plainfield.

"The traffic study indicates that the recreation center use will have minimal impact to the level of service on Renwick Road with the internal, outbound stacking at the main egess being impacted the most," said Melrose at Monday's village board meeting. "The study did find that there are inadequate facilities on Renwick as it exists currently and a right-turn lane into the main entrance is warranted at its present state."

But McCormick and several others in attendance at Monday's board meeting questioned how the traffic study can be considered comprehensive when it looked at traffic patterns over two hours in a two-day period.

Besides taking into consideration the traffic issues, Melrose also said the municipality is in the process of engineering the construction and widening of Renwick Road, which would provide a dedicated turn lane for eastbound traffic to the recreation center.

Not only that, he said the village has met with local residents with well water who had concerns regarding groundwater quality. He said information about stormwater management practices that will be implemented on site were given to these residents.

Additionally, Melrose said the Plainfield Park District Board created an ad hoc architecture committee at its Aug. 7 board meeting to address residents' concerns regarding the facade of the building. Many residents want the architecture to reflect a softer appeal, so as to blend with nearby subdivisions.