Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob says it'll be important for downtown businesses to receive support for the next several months during a major road project.
Jacob spoke as he took a break at an open house-style meeting Wednesday night regarding a $3.8 million Old McHenry Road reconstruction. The information session at Kildeer Countryside Elementary School was hosted by the Lake County Division of Transportation, which had representatives available to answer questions.
Up first is a public water main extension through downtown projected to be finished by the end of May. That'll be followed by the rebuilding of Old McHenry Road and other work to include a new traffic signal at Robert Parker Coffin Road, handicapped-accessible sidewalks, lighting, benches and installation of new fire hydrants downtown.
"I think the top concern really is the impact on local residents, getting around here," Jacob said. "The festivals. And more importantly, all these business owners that have these businesses here, will the traffic be able to come or will people avoid it because of the construction?"
He added it'll be important for residents to support the downtown businesses to get them through the construction, which is expected to end in November.
"I don't think anyone is not going to want to frequent the Village Tavern or Enzo and Lucia's (restaurant) or other places that are down here now," Jacob said. "I believe customers that are loyal are going to go there, and, hopefully, it won't deter other folks from more of a destination perspective. I think that might be the bigger worry."
Michael Marr, chairman of the Downtown Long Grove Business Association's executive committee and Buffalo Creek Brewing's owner, said the improvements will be used in a positive way to keep customers coming.
"We are creating a marketing campaign around this," Marr said. "This is what Long Grove was, this is what it's going to be. We're here. We're moving in a forward direction."
Officials said Old McHenry will remain open to traffic during construction, but the potential disruption is sensitive enough that this year's festival lineup was plugged into the contract so work is wrapped up Wednesday of a given week in advance of the fun. Chocolate Fest will be first from May 18-20.
Lake County Board member Sidney Mathias of Buffalo Grove, who visited the open house at the school, said there typically is a sensitivity to community needs when major roadwork occurs.
"When it's all done, everybody is usually happy, while during the process it's a challenge, especially to business owners," Mathias said.
Old McHenry will be redone from the Long Grove Fire Protection District station north of Route 53 to the shared entrance drive to the village hall and Kildeer Countryside Elementary south of Cuba Road.