Several Wilmette residents voiced their concerns over the Elmwood Avenue property during the Wilmette Village Board meeting Tuesday night.
While their opinions varied, the Wilmettans' common goal was to encourage transparent, more immediate action from the Village regarding the unowned right-of-way. The parcel's right-of-way status means that while the village controls the land, they do not own the property. And while the rest of Wilmette's original right-of-ways now form Gillson Park, this more northern plot at the intersection of Elmwood and Michigan Avenues stands alone.
Dennis Chookaszian, who's neighbored the Elmwood beach since the 1960's, said something needs to be done with the property "very soon" because the area "has become a safety hazard."
"Someone’s going to be seriously injured because there are no buoyies," Chookaszian said, "It’s attracting people from all over the city to swim there because it’s free." He also cited the 45 degree entry slope, overgrown grape vines and fallen trees as additional dangers.
And while two residents, Natalie Franke and Paul Mokdessi, requested that the Village transform the property into another beach, another resident, Pam Pappano, argued the space could not be effectively renovated to meet handicap requirements. Additionally, Pappano questioned how the village would accomodate the increased car traffic that the beach might draw.
Although the property was not up for discussion on the Village Board agenda, Wilmette President Chris Canning reassured attendees that the village has not made any final decisions on the right-of-way yet.
"I think you should be assured that the village board does not and cannot take any action in executive session. . . Any formal decision will occur in a public session," Canning said.
"We have received 32 letters from residents to vacate the right-of-way, or to reinstate the fence," he added "We appreciate the input and encourage people to please continue to send us the input."
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