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Neighboorhood Group Raises Concerns With Commons

The Main Street Commons construction project is continuing,
although some members of the community have questions about how the project will effect residents as well as students in the area.
Conrad Stinnett, the vice president of the University East Neighborhood Association, has had questions about streets in the area as well as safety in the Main Street Commons complex, and so far, the developers have answered none of his questions.
“Whenever you put up a huge development, there are naturally going to be issues,” Stinnett said.
Stinnett’s main concerns involve traffic in the area, the safety of a proposed swimming pool in the complex and how the mix of students and local residents
will work in the building.
“One thing we are concerned about is the five foot fence around the pool,” Stinnett said. “It’s a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t stop anybody. Stuff happens, things happen when people don’t think. The reality is, we have to live with this. We want to solve these problems while they are still small rather than have these problems develop into bigger issues down the road. We need to work on making this into a win-win.”
Despite his few complaints, Stinnett says that Main Street Commons could be a great opportunity
for the community and that mutual satisfaction for Bradley students, local residents and developers alike can be met.
“I think it’s going to be overall a good thing,” he said. “Having the thing there itself isn’t a problem.
There was an empty building there before, and nobody wants an empty building. We support what they’re doing, but we want to make sure our problems are represented so that we all can win.”
The University East Neighborhood Association has presented some questions to the developers, but they have not spoken with them since a meeting that was held in July 2009.
“All we’ve heard from is what we read in the paper,” Stinnett said. “When they wanted a specialty
use, all I got was a postcard. I wish they were as good communicating
with us as they are with Bradley University. There’ve been no problems there.”
The Neighborhood Association has presented its concerns to District 2 Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken, but Stinnett has been disappointed with her lack of response on issues presented.
“To be honest with you, there may be one, possibly two people with concerns,” Van Auken said. “The overwhelming majority is very comfortable with Main Street Commons. I’m going with the majority who think it’s great for West Main and a wonderful opportunity for Bradley. Conrad’s complaints ring hollow. The truth is, I don’t think he wants the noise or activity near his home. Conrad is confusing a lack of communication
with a lack of agreement.”
Overall, Van Auken has no concerns about the new property and said she believes the development
will be a great opportunity for students and local residents alike.
“I do care what people think,” she said. “We haven’t seen a development this big in a long time. I have no concern whatsoever.
It’s a great opportunity.”
Stinnett still plans on trying to have some of his problems with the development addressed. He said he hopes to work with the city to look into any problems that could develop early on.
“What I’m doing right now is working with the Traffic Commission to work on some of the problems here,” he said. “We have been trying to work with Barbara Van Auken. I mean, she does represent us, but our concerns
haven’t been answered. We are considering other options, but we’re just going to continue to move forward.”