The following Letter to the Editor expresses the views of the authors; Patch merely provides a forum for opinions.
Over the past several months, the Village of Niles has composed its Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan creating a vision for Niles in the next 20 years. The plan itself seems to encompass the entire community and provide for redevelopment among many of our business corridors. But to enact a vision of this magnitude we need to start today.
The Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry had supported the Golf Mill Shopping Center Business District proposal as we felt it was a positive step towards redevelopment for our largest and most commercial corridor. We were disappointed to see it rejected by village trustees.
Niles is a shopping destination town and we should continue to capitalize on visitors and tourists spending their money here. Many of our business corridors look dated and need obvious improvements and upgrades. All of our retail areas are a reflection of our town, and currently many of them need a new look.
We should work towards creating a new image for Niles. With a Business District designation, the Village of Niles could have actively pushed for the mall to make necessary changes. Looking at other redevelopment in surrounding areas it seems that we are falling behind other towns.
If we want to maintain our “Best Place to Raise Kids” status and keep welcoming young families to Niles, then we need to start discussing how to implement plans for signage, landscaping, efficient traffic patterns, and attracting more appealing shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
How are we going to enact the vision of the Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan, particularly for the business corridors? Are businesses going to pay for it? Shouldn’t the Niles 2030 Comprehensive Plan be a collective effort with businesses and the village?
The current construction and improvements set for Milwaukee Avenue from Harts to Monroe are very positive steps in the right direction, but it is only scratching the surface. We need to create or maybe recreate (depending on our perspective) an image for Niles that focuses on our retail centers, destination points and our busiest thoroughfare, Milwaukee Avenue.
We can respect the decision of the trustees to reject the Golf Mill Shopping Center Business District; however, it still leaves unresolved issues with the mall. We implore the village to continue to discuss and find other ways to fund redevelopment projects such as this for our business community.
- Iwona J. Filipiak, President, Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Katie Schneider, Executive Director, Niles Chamber of Commerce and Industry