The owners of the lots located where Joliet Road (US 30) and Division Street (IL 59) meet will come before the Plainfield Planning Commission on Tuesday, June 5 to ask for approval to tear down the historic 1845 house and build a gas station with a convenience store on 3 parcels totaling less than an acre. The previous gas station and convenience store that once sat there was removed 2010 during IDOT's road widening project.
The Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission has tried unsuccessfully to save the 1845 pioneer home, known as the Corbin-Bingham-Worst. The house was identified in the Village’s 2005 Historic Urban survey as a significant historic structure and the Commission envisioned restoring the structure creating a vistitors center with the remaining land used as a park. The house is tied to the very beginning of the Plainfield community, its early industrialists and is strategically located at the southern entrance of the village. With the roadwork and landscaping now completed, this former “unsightly” corner offers a welcoming view, but proposing a new convenience store with a gas station on a small space seems to be ill-advised in light of the fact that two other more conveniently located gas stations already exist within a short distance.
Perhaps the Village could encourage the owners to seize the opportunity to join with the Plainfield community to create something unique at this site, since the new station would have limited accessibility which lessens the chances of a successful retail operation. Instead, the owners should be encouraged to donate the property to ensure that the historic house could become a visitor center and remain a local treasure — instantly identifying the “Oldest Community in Will County.” With a bit of foresight and creative planning with the integration of historic elements on this parcel north of Union Street, we could see a creative re-development of this entire area that would be economically and historically innovative.
Many of our neighbors who would be impacted by this redevelopment as well as other residents living in the nearby historic areas feel as we do that the current open and tranquil setting could be further enhanced by restoring the historic house into a visitor center and allow the remaining parcel to be used as a park for everyone to enjoy.
We urge our fellow neighbors to attend the June 5 Planning Commission meeting in the Village Boardroom to urge the Commissioners to carefully consider this commercial development. They need to hear from all of us so that they realize that we do not support this project as it is not in the best interests of our Village!
Linda and Butch Keene
Don and Sharon Kinley
Deb Olsen, President of Village Preservation Association