Hubble Steering Committee to Recommend Recreational, Mixed Use Options for Hubble
The Hubble Steering Committee met yesterday, Thursday, Oct. 21 and voted to recommend two options for the use of the former Hubble Middle School site: recreational use and mixed use commercial.
The Hubble Steering Committee will make a recommendation for two options for future use of the former Hubble Middle School site at the corner of Naperville and Roosevelt roads. The committee voted yesterday, Thursday, Oct. 21 to recommend a mixed use development option and a recreational use option, which would remain a public piece of property.
The committee discussed the proposed redevelopment options for the site and James Kozik, director of planning and economic development, presented the committee's preferred options to date, including a mixed use option with a grocer as a main tenant.
Councilman John Prendiville introduced the recreational use option and proposed to keep the existing gyms, use the high school building for preschool and/or park district offices—which, he said, would free space at Jefferson Preschool—and entertain the idea of building an indoor swimming pool or an indoor soccer facility and a piece of artwork on the corner of Naperville and Roosevelt roads.
District 200 schools do not have a swimming facility and Wheaton swim teams go off-campus to practice and host home meets, Prendiville said. Further, soccer players travel to other communities for indoor soccer games and practices, he said.
Rosemary Swanson, committee member and vice president of the District 200 school board, said that while she can personally resonate with Prendiville's idea, jumping out of the process that considers a mixed use development option would not be fair to the community. Once the committee decides on an option, she said, the plan was to show the idea to the community and ask for feedback. "If we jump out of the process and go to something else, we won't get that feedback," she said.
Phil Luetkehans, board president of the Wheaton Park District and committee member, supported the recreational use option. "The Park District will do what it needs to to keep the gyms," he said. "Those gyms have value to us, no doubt about it." He added, "We're using five rooms in that facility regularly from 6-10 p.m."
Swanson suggested the committee create visuals that represent the recommended options to give the public a clearer chance to weigh in on it. During the referendum in 2008 asking the public to move Hubble Middle School, Swanson said the district was clear about the intention to sell the property. "Voters seemed to resonate with that idea and that was part of the reason the referendum got passed," she added.
Bill Farley, committee member and assistant superintendent for District 200 business operations, said that he would also be interested to know what those who voted to pass the referendum had in mind.
Though the site's fate is a few years away, Swanson urged the committee to think big—whichever option they choose. She said there is more to the land than what it is—referring to the buildable area and floodplain land—"There's more to that than what it is—it's where it is and what it can be. We're the ones that have to keep that alive. We can't pay someone to do that. No one cares about this community more than the community itself."