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Bradley officials view Northfield Square redevelopment as pivotal part of village’s future

While the area of land under the microscope encompasses a wider swath of land, Bradley’s 30-year-old Northfield Square mall has been front-and-center this year in a top-down look at the future of the village’s major commercial thoroughfare.

The mall, which sits on a 53-acre parcel, is uniquely situated along Illinois Route 50, or Kinzie Avenue, as well as West Broadway Street. Its proximity to two major roadways and the sheer size of the property is all the more reason village officials have been mentioning the property in forward-looking discussions surrounding urban planning in recent years.

In an email interview with Country Herald, Pam Hirth, assistant director of Bradley’s economic development department, shared details of the status of the village’s corridor planning process for Route 50/Kinzie Avenue and West Broadway Street.

In mid-October, the village hosted the first community forum to gather feedback from residents, business owners and other interested participants to discuss ideas on how the corridor could be altered or enhanced in the road ahead.

In the first go-around of discussing the future of Northfield Square and other areas of the corridor, representatives with several consulting firms shared a range of ideas, including pedestrian-friendly enhancements and modifying the layout of the existing mall site to focus more on green space and open-air retail entrances.

The village has enlisted the services from such firms as Ginkgo Planning & Design and S.B. Friedman to help envision how Northfield Square could serve as an important lynchpin for Bradley and the broader region.

The village had planned on building on its first forum with a second installment Nov. 17, but it was postponed indefinitely as a precautionary measure against an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases.

When the next forum does take place, Hirth said the consultants will comb through some of the suggestions sent in after the initial presentation.

“The second community forum will allow the consulting team to summarize the feedback obtained from the first forum, additional discussion on Kinzie/Route 50 corridor concepts and additional discussion on the West Broadway corridor concepts,” Hirth said.

While much of the planning process and timeline remains in flux because of the pandemic, Hirth said the goal is to have the review wrapped “tentatively in the early part of next year,” though she added the end-goal in the phase “depends on the outcome of the second community forum.”

More information on the planning process for Kinzie/Route 50 and West Broadway can be found on the village’s website.

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