Tri States Public Radio Staff
Seminary St Hotel Development
Tue October 2, 2012
Galesburg Rezoning Decision Forthcoming
Aldermen have a couple weeks to decide whether to allow a proposed hotel development to proceed on North Seminary Street at Highway 34.
Mayor Sal Garza said there is a great deal for aldermen to consider. He said development of the four-story hotel would create jobs, generate revenue for local governments, and it could spur further economic development in that part of town.
But Garza noted there is also a great deal of opposition from those who live near the site. They’re worried it could decrease their property values, increase traffic, create noise and light pollution, and cause a long list of other problems.
“It is a challenge. There is no easy solution,” Garza said.
Aldermen will consider in two weeks whether to rezone the site to allow the hotel to be built. The Planning and Zoning Commission has already held a public hearing on it and recommended the rezoning on a vote of 4-to-0.
First reading of the ordinance was held during the city council’s October 1 meeting. Garza referred to it as “the 800 pound gorilla in the room.” He said the city council spent at least two-and-a-half hours on the issue and there was a large turnout from neighborhood residents.
One way residents could prevent the land from being developed is by purchasing it. Garza said the developer has offered that option to them.
“He’s willing to sell the properties that are directly behind their properties …he’s willing to sell those properties at cost to them,” Garza said.
The mayor said otherwise that site will likely eventually be developed for retail or other purposes even if the hotel is not built.