Editorial: Arlington Heights took the longer view on controversial project.

  • The Arlington Heights Village Board approved a measure allowing Shelter Inc. to operate out of this home in Arlington Heights.

    The Arlington Heights Village Board approved a measure allowing Shelter Inc. to operate out of this home in Arlington Heights. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The former Holiday Inn in Itasca is the site of a controversial proposal for a treatment center for people with drug and alcohol addictions.

    The former Holiday Inn in Itasca is the site of a controversial proposal for a treatment center for people with drug and alcohol addictions. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 11/5/2021 12:55 PM
This article has been updated to correct that the Itasca village board vote was Tuesday.

Two village boards. Two volatile projects. Two outcomes.

For two years now, the village of Itasca has grappled with the decision of whether to allow a residential drug and alcohol treatment center to be established in a hotel in town.

 

There have been 35 hearings at which neighbors concerned for their safety, their property value and the well-being of the village rallied against the project.

There have been numerous presentations by Haymarket to show the need for such treatment services in greater DuPage County area (its home base is Chicago) and to discuss how it might mitigate some concerns by bolstering ambulance service.

Meanwhile, in Arlington Heights, village officials have been considering the move of a Shelter Inc. transitional living home for young men who've faced homelessness -- from the busy Golf Road commercial corridor to a neighborhood setting in the Ivy Hill subdivision.

Shelter Inc. needed to find a new home because the owner of its Golf Road home was selling.

There has been much negotiating on this project in an effort to address neighbors' concerns, including cutting by half the proposed number of young men who would live there and assuring neighbors that none of the residents will have had a criminal record.

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In Itasca Tuesday, the village board voted unanimously to deny the application.

In Arlington Heights early Tuesday morning, the village board unanimously approved the Shelter Inc. move.

"We've sat here and listened to an enormous amount of passion and concern on both sides of the fence here," said Arlington Heights village Trustee Jim Tinaglia. "But at the same time, we are stewards. It's important we as a community be responsible here. These are our kids, and I feel obligated to make this work somehow."

Two towns. Two volatile projects. Two outcomes.

Leadership is hard. It's almost always easier to agree with people who are passionately complaining to you about something than to tell them no.

Especially when those who are doing the complaining are ever-present. That's human nature.

Leadership is thinking beyond the people right in front of you -- the ones who are most vocal -- and considering the needs of those without much of a voice; thinking about the community as a whole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

We're not equating the two projects. Each has its potential for problems. Haymarket's more so.

In the case of Arlington Heights, trustees thought hard about the young men who have struggled to get footing in society and how this will give them a better chance at it.

In Itasca, the denial of Haymarket's plan feels more symbolic. It certainly placated the angry protesters.

But it's likely Haymarket will sue and in the end be allowed to open its treatment facility anyway, likely years and many billable hours later. One need only look to a similar facility in Campton Hills to see that.

It seems to us Arlington Heights showed the longer view this week.

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