ELWOOD – Developers of the oft-discussed Compass Business Park proposal have been meeting with residents who would live closest to the truck traffic and first industrial buildings to go up, if the project were one day approved by the village of Elwood.
Last week representatives from NorthPoint Development – the firm in charge of the 2,000-plus acre project – met with South Street homeowners, who live west of Route 53 and whose homes are closest to Walter Strawn Drive, as well as residents of Shady Nook, a manufactured home community east of Route 53 that would be nearest to the first buildings constructed.
During those meetings, NorthPoint shared various renderings of what the area could look like. The graphics show added trees, shrubs and other landscaping touches to the existing Archer Park, that NorthPoint said would serve as a buffer between the homes and the private truck road that Walter Strawn Drive would become.
“We’re using the latest design technology to develop concepts based on what we’ve heard from neighbors,” said Tim Sjogren, a transportation engineer with the Kimley-Horn engineering firm. “Near South Street, we’re taking advantage of the pre-existing hills and contours of Archer Park and adding a living vegetation buffer to screen Walter Strawn Drive. Setbacks and berms will help enhance the visual appeal for homes west of the park.”
NorthPoint also shared 3D before-and-after views from homes along South Street and in Shady Nook, and gave residents a look at the proposed multipurpose trail that would connect Archer Park to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie a couple miles to the south.
The working sessions with residents are follow-ups to the open house NorthPoint hosted in June at Elwood Village Hall, NorthPoint said in a news release, adding “they give local residents an opportunity to work with technical experts to hone in on ideas, concerns and feedback in greater detail.”
As part of the plan, NorthPoint would fund a gateway bridge over Route 53 that would provide the only truck access to and from Compass Business Park. Once inside the park, a “closed loop” would restrict trucks from exiting onto local roads.
But some residents of the village of fewer than 3,000 people, as well as Jackson Township residents, have been vocal about their distaste for another industrial facility near them, in addition to CenterPoint Intermodal.
Early projections by NorthPoint show the potential for 15,000 jobs upon completion of the park with 1,200 to 1,600 construction jobs while the park is built out in phases over an approximately 10-year span
Videos with a 3D look at the proposed changes to the area are available to view on YouTube. Search “Compass Business Park.”