Taste of Des Plaines to stay downtown, council decides
After some debate over a potential move, the Des Plaines City Council on Monday decided to keep the Taste of Des Plaines downtown next year.
Council members reached that conclusion after mulling three other options -- Lake Park, Maryville Academy and Oakton Community College.
Talk of a possible move came up after some residents complained in the wake of this year's Taste about traffic congestion and other problems caused by the event.
"It just seems like there's been a lot of issues as far as how the business community felt," Third Ward Alderman Denise Rodd said.
Council members last month asked city staff to research the costs and benefits of moving the festival, traditionally held every June, and make a recommendation.
"What we found out is, at the end of the day, there is always going to be a con to something," City Manager Michael Bartholomew said. "We feel that downtown is still kind of the best place to have it."
According to city documents, Lake Park's advantages include it's walkability, grass surface and parklike atmosphere. Other benefits include the lack of competition for participating restaurants, visibility from Touhy Avenue and its band shell.
However, the site lacks public restrooms, a secure room for tickets and cash counting, and its long rectangular layout is incompatible with hosting two stages. Negatives also include the likelihood of noise and parking complaints from surrounding neighborhoods and the need for large amounts of fencing.
Positives for the Maryville location includes its existing infrastructure, visible location and space, as well as lack of homes nearby, city documents state.
Negatives include a lack of public transportation to the location or a secure room for tickets and cash counting, and no public restrooms.
The Oakton site's upsides include abundant space, both grass and pavement, substantial parking, as well as no homes or competing restaurants nearby. However, documents state, the property is prone to flooding, has low visibility and no secure rooms or public restrooms.
Ultimately, city staff members recommended the council keep the fest downtown. All council members except Alderman Carla Brookman voted in favor.
"I do not like downtown; I think it's too crowded," she said. "How many people can you fit downtown? Where's the parking downtown?"
Alderman also asked city staff to research Naperville, Schaumburg and Arlington Heights to find out how much their summer events cost.
"I'm pretty supportive of the decision," Eighth Ward Alderman Andrew Goczkowski said. "I think this is an opportunity for us to advertise the city. We've passed along the concerns that residents have voiced to us."