LA GRANGE – Developing the site of the former Rich Port YMCA is a priority, Village President Tom Livingston said at a June 10 Village Board meeting.
The YMCA occupied a five-story building at Ogden Avenue and La Grange Road for nearly 60 years before leaving in 2008. The building was demolished in 2010, and the site has been vacant since.
YMCA officials tried to sell the land to developer Atlantic Realty Partners, which planned to construct a residential and commercial development called La Grange Place. But a number of factors, including opposition from residents and the collapse of the real estate market in 2008, prevented the deal from going through.
The empty building was considered an eyesore before it was demolished. With the site going on three years as empty space, the village is eager to develop it.
“Our role in the village will be to make sure something for that site makes sense from a use perspective, an economic and a land-use [perspective] and a traffic flow/safety perspective,” he said.
Livingston specified four other areas he will focus on as president: Creating a temporary citizen-based task force to evaluate issues like parking and beautification; restoring pensions; maintaining and improving public works and public safety operations; and establishing a day of public service for people of all ages.
The task force would, for now, be called La Grange 2020 and would include residents appointed by the Village Board to serve for about 10 months. In addition to members of the business community and the existing Economic Development commission and Citizens’ Council of La Grange, the group would seek residents from a broader spectrum, Livingston said.
“It’s really designed to say, ‘OK, in seven years, what investments do we need to have made?” he said. “What tools do we need to have that keep La Grange an upward moving community?”