What a proposed makeover could mean for downtown Palatine

Downtown Palatine could be getting a new look, with more public gathering and event spaces along with landscape and sidewalk improvements.

It is all part of a package of streetscape upgrades developed by village staff and consultant Design Workshop. The concepts were unveiled before the village council last week.

Community Development Director Michael Jacobs identified four initial opportunity areas: the parking lot of the BMO Bank property at 50 N. Brockway St.; the south side of Slade Street between Brockway and Bothwell streets; the green space at Plum Grove and Palatine roads; and village-owned property north of Towne Square Park.

The council gave village staff its blessing to move ahead with designs and continue discussions with the BMO site’s owner, who already allows public parking on nights and weekends.

The BMO property could be used for additional public parking during the day and, with the relocation of the bank’s drive-through, a railwalk on the south side of the Union Pacific tracks.

Other possible improvements include eliminating on-street parking on the south side of Slade Street between Brockway and Bothwell streets, allowing for wider sidewalks and additional landscaping.

Jacobs said the village also could work with businesses on Slade to improve outdoor seating areas.

“We want to create an outdoor dining environment,” Village Manager Reid Ottesen added. “Not just an outdoor drinking or outdoor smoking (environment).”

Wider sidewalks, new landscaping and improved seating areas along Slade Street are among the proposed upgrades in downtown Palatine.
Courtesy of village of Palatine

Another proposal would convert a village-owned grassy area at the northwest corner of Plum Grove and Palatine roads into a public gathering area with outdoor seating, a water feature and a wall near the intersection.

The council also discussed three options for property north of Towne Square Park, including additional public gathering areas and event space with a theater.

One idea that received positive comment from council members mirrors a concept that has seen success in Wheaton — building a structure to cover what is now a public parking area. That area could then double as an event space and shelter for events, such as the Rotary Club of Palatine’s Oktoberfest.

Ottesen suggested it also could be used for the farmers market and food truck days.

Council member Greg Solberg, who represents District 4, supported the idea.

“Whatever it is, I would like this to be multifunctional open space,” he said.

Plans for streetscape enhancements in downtown Palatine focus on four areas, highlighted in orange.
Courtesy of village of Palatine

A railwalk at the BMO Bank property on Brockway Street is part of proposed streetscape improvements in downtown Palatine.
Steve Zalusky/szalusky@dailyherald.com

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