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Letter: Residents Oppose Gas Station, Favor Preservation

Group believes pioneer home should become a visitors center, not a convenience store.

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!

Lindalee Adams

Nicki Alander

Tina Beaird

Janice Bergmann

Joel Craig

Sue Hasenyager

Linda and Butch Keene

Don and Sharon Kinley

Deb Olsen, President of Village Preservation Association

Ed Harrigan May 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I have noticed in the past that the Village of Plainfield usually favors the ideas that make the Village more inconvenient. They have proved that with the improved downtown parking, the ease of driving through the downtown area, the improved turning lanes, and the improvement in the traffic flow during peak travel times. Keep up the good work!
Olddeegee May 31, 2012 at 04:26 PM
As someone who remembers large trucks, diagonal parking, countless rear-end accidents, and children nearly being run down every day, I like the town's improvements. If you think it was safer before, you're seriously deranged.
Tired of Gov't May 31, 2012 at 05:43 PM
If you want it, you buy it!
Miguel Sanchez May 31, 2012 at 06:06 PM
If I lived in this neighborhood I would not like a new gas station in the proposed location. I would leverage the age of the effected structure, regardless of its historic relevance, to prevent the station from being built.
Adam Kuyawa May 31, 2012 at 08:37 PM
What a joke.... I know build a bank or another car repair shop!!
Tim May 31, 2012 at 09:10 PM
What reasons are there for this to be historic? No reasons are given in the letter, leaving the reader with more questions than answers. Just because something is old, does not mean it is historic. Dirt is old, it is not historic.
Ed Arter May 31, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Stupid--ya tear down a rat hole gas station to improve community character and turn around and want to build a smelly convenience store / polluted run off / Traffic hazard at a confusing corner / Alley cut through traffic potholing w/increased roadway maintenance / Stadium sun burn lights at 2:00 AM / 18 wheelers belching late hour refueling service / and constant 24 hour convenience cliental (Pillars of our society) leads to increased police action let alone a drug convenient location. Yea, we really need a gas station every 3000 feet. I thought we already won this battle with the Gas City SNAFU. NO GAS STATION HERE.Make some Lemon aide out of this historic intersection of old Rt66 and Lincoln Highway the true Xroads of America----Let BP revisit The Gulf Coast as an example of good management--NIMBY
EA June 01, 2012 at 02:09 AM
how about a nice lot of prairie plants??? No gas station/convenience store needed there! Way too much confusing traffic patterns would be created.
Joel Craig June 01, 2012 at 04:35 AM
About five or six years ago, the Plainfield Historical Society hosted a program with presentations by both the IL Lincoln Highway Association and Route 66 Association. It was my job that evening to add some local flavor to the program. US 30 had recently been widened through Joliet, and that city had some similar decisions to make regarding the properties at the "six corners" intersection. Rather than re-create traffic bottlenecks on these corners of the newly-widened roadway, Joliet vacated most of the corners and did some beautification work along with some historic interpretation. This at-the-time recently completed work was contrasted with the eyesore that was the run-down, dilapidated Go-Mart sitting at Rt. 59 and US 30. It was then that we began floating the idea of a passive park at this location. To answer "Tim's" question above, it's not just about the house. Beside being the historic intersection of the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 (thanks Ed), there is much interpretation that can be done at this corner regarding Plainfield's early history. This corner was the original location of the Dillman Foundry (circa 1840s). Reapers, mowers and corn shellers were manufactured here before the company moved to Joliet to be closer to the railroad. Afterward, the Webb Wagon Shop was located on this corner. In the 1890s, a local dentist, Dr. Hoffman built his home on this corner. That house was moved in 1939 for a gas station. Both the house and original station building remain.
Joel Craig June 01, 2012 at 04:49 AM
To continue, as you can see, many of us believe there is an opportunity to do something creative with this corner and establish a southern gateway to the village. It would be of great benefit to Plainfield to take advantage of its Rt. 66 heritage as well as its place as "Will County's Oldest Community". Most estimates have 60-70% of Rt. 66 travelers coming from outside the US. Creating incentives for people to stop (i.e. create foot traffic) in your town is what creative planning is all about. It's my hope, as well as the hope of others, that the decision makers will not chase after some short term gain and burden us all with long-term headaches, especially after we just got this road fixed. Joel Craig Plainfield Historical Society
Ram Seichert June 01, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Awesome post Ed! Your commentary is always great stuff! I agree with you about putting a gas station here with stadium sun burn lights on the corner. If that happens, maybe the roving taco cart will show up. My question is who will refurbish that house and who is going to pay for it? Who will visit it? Is the Village going to pick up the tab on this like Baci? I am not opposed to this home being demolished but something better than a fuel station could be a better alternative. Maybe we could pay the owner $500,000 for the home, knock it down and build a bridge just like renwick?
Ed Arter June 01, 2012 at 05:26 PM
well stated Joel--you hit the nail on the head

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