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Newspaper Clippings for
August, 1993

from the pages of the Pioneer Press 26 August 1993
Annexation may protect Millburn
by Barbara Bell, Staff Writer
The day may come when residents of Millburn have to decide whether to annex to Lindenhurst or Old Mill Creek if they want to protect their historic community.
There are plans to widen U.S. Route 45, which cuts through the heart of Millburn. But Millburn is on the National Register of Historic Places, which is supposed to prevent a highway from being widened through the community, said Dorothy Fettinger, chairwoman of the Millburn Selectmen.
Also knocking on Millburn's door is Old Mill Creek, a village of less than 100 that's projected to grow to 16,000 in 30 years.
Heavy traffic
Then there's the possibility of heavy traffic generated by riverboat gambling in Antioch Township, if the Fox Riverboat Limited Partnership be granted a license from the Illinois Gaming Board, and the construction of Abbott Laboratories' new research facility along state Route 173.
In short, there are pressures to change Millburn from the bucolic community it is to a busy place.
But Millburn residents want to protect their community. Toward that end, both Lindenhurst and Old Mill Creek have included Millburn in their comprehensive plans.
Lindenhurst's comprehensive plan calls for moving Route 45 to the east. Konstantine Savoy of Teska Associates, the firm that prepared Lindenhurst's plan, said moving Route to the west would put the road close to where it is now. That could disturb Millburn's peaceful atmosphere due to the volume of traffic, Savoy said.
In addition, Lindenhurst's comprehensive plan calls for establishing a greenbelt around Millburn using existing wetland, flood plains and stands of mature woodlands.
The key is to keep Millburn from becoming overdeveloped, Savoy said. Millburn would be allowed to expand, but the housing would be low density to preserve its historic character. New developments would be required to have architectural style consistent with that already established in Millburn.
Modest retail development would be allowed to serve tourists and Lindenhurst, Millburn and Old Mill Creek, Savoy said.
Old Mill Creek's comprehensive plan would move Route 45 to the west, said John LaMotte of Chicago, who prepared the plan. "It would be a much better and straighter roadway," he said.
The old Route 45 would become a main street. "It'd be a lot more like a small town," LaMotte said.
Millburn also would be allowed to have mixed retail use if it were annexed by Old Mill Creek.
No road money
Les Swieca, a program director section chief for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said an engineering study is currently being done on the possibility of widening Route 45 near the proposed extension of Route 53 through Grayslake to the Wisconsin border. But, "There is no funding in place to build this," he said. "The process itself takes several years."
Swieca said it's possible a bypass could be built around Millburn and IDOT is studying the options of locating it to the west or east.
"This village has to be saved," Fettinger said of Millburn at a meeting last week with officials from Lindenhurst and Old Mill Creek present. "If we don't start planning for it now I will be in my grave and there will traffic bumper to bumper," she said.
Fettinger said she would prefer Route 45 be moved to the west, although Lake County Board member Suzi Schmidt, R-Lake Villa, has said that could mean the road would go through the McDonald Woods Forest Preserve.
Even if the road bypasses Millburn, Fettinger said there is concern that the community will be adversely affected by "hodge-podge" development. She said it's possible Millburn could be annexed in pieces to both Lindenhurst and Old Mill Creek, which is something she doesn't want to happen because it would break up the community's cohesiveness.
"It will be a different way of life from the one we now have. But I think we all realize it's not going to stay rural," Fettinger said of the expected development.
Savoy said Millburn could stop Route 45 from being widened. Wayne, a rural community in the fast-growing Fox Valley south of Elgin, has kept Army Trail Road from being widened to four lanes through the village, he said. But Wayne has two historic districts that have prevented the road improvements, Savoy said.
If Millburn residents are "pro-active and aggressive" they could keep Route 45 from being widened through the community or force the Illinois Department of Transportation to build a bypass around it, Savoy said. "I think that's a possibility," he said.
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