Why “Reimagine” Round Lake Beach?

Why is it “Reimagine” Round Lake Beach?

Many reasons, most of which we’ve covered in this blog, and on our Facebook page, over the last year… but here’s one more.

From Leigh Gallagher, author of “The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving“:

“For the first time in nearly a hundred years, the rate of urban population growth has outpaced suburban growth, reversing a trend that held steady for every decade since the invention of the automobile. Demand for large single-family homes that characterize our “modern” suburbs is dwindling.

The housing crisis of recent years has concealed something deeper and more profound happening to what we have come to know as American suburbia. Simply speaking, more and more Americans don’t want to live there anymore.

We are moving from location, location, location in terms of the most important factor to access, access, access.”

Our village officials have seen the symptoms of what’s happening, and are trying to get a clearer picture in order to make better-informed decisions, as described in this article by the Daily Herald:

Lack of single-family home investment concerns Round Lake Beach officials

“Village leaders want to get a better understanding of the big-picture impact of the economic downturn on the local housing market and what strategies might be available to quell an emerging trend.

“We appear to be in a phase or mode of not a lot of reinvestment going into our single-family housing stock,” said John Wildenberg, economic development director.

“We’re looking for a pretty thorough investigation of the conditions here — what’s really going on, what are the impediments and is there anything the village can do?”

For some perspective, here are RLB homes for sale as of April 5th, 2014 according to real-estate site Zillow.com:

RLB residential properties "For Sale" according to Zillow.com for April 05, 2014

RLB residential properties “For Sale” according to Zillow.com for April 05, 2014

… and here are the homes that have been “Foreclosed” or are in “Pre-Foreclosure” proceedings:

ScreenHunter_83 Apr. 05 10.12

You can see that there are more properties in Foreclosure than simply “For Sale”. This is indicative of a related issue: potential buyers seek to make a good investment for their families, in a safe neighborhood, etc. The sheer number of properties in a troubled status signals some mighty troubling conditions, encouraging home-buyers to look elsewhere.

A key point in the success or failure of the village admin efforts in trying to analyze this is  WHAT exactly it is they are trying to decide, and what pre-set ideas will they use to “filter” the findings to make them fit into their world-view. Will they look at:

– how to make the “old ways” work, how to stay with the rules and world-view they know so we (they) can avoid dealing with uncomfortable (and oftern unpopular) “change, or…

– how to deal with the fact that “the future isn’t all it was cracked up to be”, exacerbated by our civic infrastructure which doesn’t support its people well when the going gets tough, and where many of the old rules don’t work (or apply) any more.

The “replacement” generations slowly replacing the Baby Boomers in power want (and expect) more of (and in) their communities. They’re also purchasing homes (if at all) later in life… yet they’re the one we’re counting on to purchase our single-family homes so we can retire and move down to Arizona

Which way will we go?

Additional Resources:
Time Magazine: The End of the Suburbs

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2 Responses to Why “Reimagine” Round Lake Beach?

  1. Ryan Richter says:

    I think you’ve made a very compelling point here. If I were the Village, I would seek to capitalize on the assets I have – primarily the Metra station and the lake. I would demolish Mallard Creek and seek to make it a transit-oriented development. Create some form based codes, reduce parking maximums, etc. I wish I could do the same at the Village campus but I recognize that a lot of money has been sunk into creating that campus not all that long ago. Either way, it’s land that should be reorganized into building a community. At the lake I’d seek to continue the Village’s investments at infrastructure improvements and I would add sidewalks on every single street. Then I’d upzone and allow for diversified housing stock.

  2. rlayc says:

    Your points speak to the housing structure of a community. These are valid points. I would like to inquire: What is being done to create a community within the neighborhood? Wouldn’t reimaging Round Lake Beach also include this concept?

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