City of Highland Park to purchase adjacent properties
The City of Highland Park (City) and the Highland Park Public Library (Library) are exploring a possible expansion of the Library to better meet community demand for space and services as well as improve parking and traffic flow. In addition, in an effort to improve efficiencies and provide the highest level of services, the City is also exploring the relocation of Youth and/or Senior Services to an expanded library facility.
The decision to enrich City services is the result of on-going discussion and input by residents, the City, Library, Youth Services Advisory Group and Senior Services Advisory Group. The advisory groups were created in 2015 by Mayor Nancy Rotering to help determine the future needs of the respective services.
Due to an ever-growing increase in the number of visitors to the Library and government campus, which includes Highland Park City Hall and the Library, the City is regularly searching for opportunities to enhance community space. Land acquisition for this purpose is highly desirable. The two properties immediately east of the Library located at 444 and 466 Laurel Avenue for sale by one owner are under contract with the City of Highland Park. These adjacent properties would make a facility and/or parking expansion more feasible. The City Council approved the residential real estate contract at the October 24, 2016 City Council meeting for a total of $1.55 million. “As residents we know the value of high quality community services. After careful consideration, the City is pleased to explore this possible partnership and development to meet current and future needs,” stated Mayor Nancy Rotering. “The inclusion of Senior and Youth Services is a way to better serve residents of all ages in a convenient, easy to access, state of the art facility while creating efficiencies and strengthening resources, programs and services.”
“The Library approached the City with a request to assist with inadequate parking and a possible Library expansion to meet community needs,” said City Manager Ghida Neukirch. “The purchase of the Laurel properties provides a possible solution.”
Library Board President Jerry Aufox stated, "We are grateful to Highland Park’s City Council and staff for collaborating with us to possibly expand the Library. We look forward to working with the City and residents as we plan to bring new concepts and services which will enrich our community and its residents for years to come."
Highland Park Public Library Executive Director Jane Conway stated, “The real estate acquisition provides an opportunity for us to dream big and consider solutions to longstanding issues including parking and an undersized Youth Services Department.”
Senior Services are currently housed at the Highland Park Senior Center at 54 Laurel Avenue. The facility is a renovated 1929 residential property that has posed several service challenges including parking limitations, accessibility issues within the facility and limited space for programming. The Senior Services Division provides more than 900 services throughout the year to the public.
Youth Services are currently housed in the Firehouse located at 1830 Green Bay Road. The facility is a multi-purpose renovated fire station that includes an activity center, study room, counseling area, meeting room and staff offices. The Firehouse is in need of significant capital improvement.
For more information visit the City’s web site at www.cityhpil.com/libraryexpansion or call the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000.