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Wheaton council talks construction: 4 items

WHEATON – The Wheaton City Council took several votes on future construction in the area – including its ambitious long-term downtown improvement plan – during a meeting June 15.

1. Downtown plan report accepted, consultant hired

The council unanimously voted to accept a staff report outlining potential next steps in the city's massive Downtown Strategic Plan and Streetscape Plan. Councilman John Prendiville was absent

The plan, totalling an estimated $52 million in improvements, has been a focus of the council's for several years. The work is projected to take decades, and city staff advised the council to begin looking at first steps of the process over the next year.

Priorities include hiring an owner's representative firm and design team, selecting a scope for work, completing a design for a permanent French Market and adjacent public infrastructure, marketing, and revenue exploration.

Councilman Todd Scalzo said he hopes the council will schedule a planning session in the future to explore funding options in depth and councilman Phil Suess said he wants to determine specific goals and methods for marketing and branding efforts.

The council also approved hiring consultant CCS International to augment available staff resources and come up with more precise cost projections and construction options.

Councilwoman Suzanne Fitch voted against the measure, and said she wants the council to have a firmer grasp on its priorities and spending limits for the plan before hiring a firm.

2. CVS coming to Town Square

The council approved a plan to demolish a bank and office building at 2000 S. Naperville Road in Town Square Wheaton to construct a 13,225-square-foot CVS.

The new store will include 70 parking spaces, a drive-thru, an electronic message board, and will connect to West Loop Road.

Attorney Peter Bazos, speaking on behalf of the developer, said the store plans to apply for a packaged liquor license.

Councilman John Rutledge said he was happy to see an empty building be replaced with a new business to add sales traffic to the area.

3. Senior housing on track for August

The council passed an extension for a special use permit for the construction of a senior housing development at 219 E. Parkway Drive.

The body originally approved an ordinance allowing the construction in May 2012, according to city documents. The project has since gone through two developers who didn't follow through, citing financing problems and an inability to pursue the development.

CA Senior Living was approached to purchase the property, then contacted the city to request slight modifications to the existing plan. City staff approved an administrative amendment to the ordinance in December 2014.

A representative for the developer said it will begin construction in August with completion scheduled for October 2016.

4. Wheaton College to build dorms

After months of planning and community meetings, Wheaton College got the go-ahead to start a big construction project along North Irving Avenue.

The college will build four single, family-style homes for dorms with a maximum of 12 occupants per residence at 719, 729, 733 and 741 Irving Ave. The school will also demolish an existing house at 739 Irving Ave., as well as several existing driveways and garages and Sears Lane and Grammar School Drive.

The college also hopes to renovate the former Wheaton Grammar School at 530 E. Harrison Ave. for administrative use and expand a nearby parking lot.

The council praised the college for its outreach to the nearby community and commitment to keeping the style of the new dorms consistent with surrounding buildings.

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