Editorial: Let’s follow the Mallard Point example

By on February 24, 2012

At the end of January, we devoted this space to echoing the sentiments of many residents and leaders in the area by publicly urging Sugar Grove officials to return to the negotiating table to find a resolution for the years’ long search for a way to end the drainage problems in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions.

At the time, the multi-part negotiations that involved the village, Rob Roy Drainage District II, homeowners in the area of a proposed drain tile, Kane County (acting as mediators and as partial funders) and the affected homeowners broke down when the village announced it was walking away from the negotiating table.

Based on Assistant Editor Keith Beebe’s story on page 1A in this week’s edition of the Elburn Herald, those negotiations did ultimately continue; as everyone involved had hoped they would. While there are still documents to be signed and it is by no means a final agreement, it is clear that communications continued among the various parties, and a final deal is much closer today than it was then.

So, just as we back then questioned Sugar Grove’s decision to walk away from the table, today we must praise their decision to return to it. From an outside perspective, it appears it is a combination of their willingness to listen and continue to communicate, as well as the other parties’ willingness to continue trying to reach an agreement, that led to the brink of a solution to a problem that has been troubling residents for decades.

We hope their collective example is followed by a similar group of wide-ranging interests in Elburn. Last week, we reported that the Community Congregational Church announced that it plans to close its parking lot, in downtown Elburn, to public use, citing maintenance costs that are cost-prohibitive. In their announcement, a church representative said they had approached the village of Elburn and the Elburn Chamber of Commerce to see if either entity had the interest and the means to purchase the property. Because neither entity was able to pursue the lot’s purchase, the church said it would close the lot Thursday, March 15.

This is a lot that has been used by the public for years, and for many of the downtown businesses, is essential for their success. Elburn’s downtown is struggling, and losing easy customer access would just make those struggles more difficult to overcome.

Any roadblock you put between the public and a local business—even if it is just a degree of inconvenience—reduces that business’s ability to maximize their revenue. And in today’s struggles, anything that makes it more difficult to conduct business can actually put that business in jeopardy.

So, just as we urged the village of Sugar Grove to return to the negotiating table with the Mallard Point drainage issue, we urge the Community Congregational Church to hold off on their final decision to close the lot. Too many businesses rely on the ease of access it provides, and there is too much potential lost revenue at stake to not entertain ideas beyond simply offering it for sale to either the village or the chamber.

Give the various interested parties some time to explore solutions, come to the negotiating table with us all, and like Sugar Grove and the Mallard Point drainage issue, ongoing communication will bring a solution closer, while no communication accomplishes nothing.