The often devastating overflow from the river has long kept developers and businesses at bay. Cities and towns still must be careful to ensure there are retention ponds, underground basins or other adequate drainage so new development does not contribute to more flooding, Repay said.
But the levees are designed to control flooding and can in some places eliminate the requirement for businesses to buy flood insurance so long as the embankments are properly maintained and continue to meet federal standards.
Highland has been looking to take advantage of the reclaimed river by relocating its public works building and later the athletic complex off Kennedy Avenue to free up about 30 acres of land for development, Petro said. The river could be an asset people could enjoy while dining al fresco or that office workers could stroll along during breaks. The town has looked at the possibility of a riverside promenade, a gussied-up path for people bike between downtown and the planned riverfront district, and maybe another pedestrian bridge across to Hammond’s Oxbow Landing.
Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery plans to build a brewpub in Hammond just north of the river, and there also has been interest in a family entertainment center, a specialty veterinary facility and a store similar to Mars Cheese Castle, a well-known Wisconsin-based purveyor of cheeses and meats.
Four different restaurants have expressed interest in Oxbow Landing, including in a riverfront parcel that would let them have an outdoor patio with views of the Little Cal, said Phil Taillon, executive director of the city’s department of planning and development.
Additional development is planned near the Little Cal further west in Hammond. As many as 10 more businesses – potentially stores, a hotel and a few sit-down restaurants – are expected to locate near the Cabela’s and Walmart, Tallion said. The new 190,000-square-foot Walmart should break ground next spring.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>