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Concern about a lack of development at the former Lake County Fairgrounds surfaced at Tuesday night's Grayslake Economic Development Commission meeting."It's approaching 10 years since that property has been sold and it's in the worst shape it's ever...

Grayslake panel questions lack of development at old fairgrounds

Concern about a lack of development at the former Lake County Fairgrounds surfaced at Tuesday night's Grayslake Economic Development Commission meeting."It's approaching 10 years since that property has been sold and it's in the worst shape it's ever...

Grayslake panel questions lack of development at old fairgrounds

Concern about a lack of development at the former Lake County Fairgrounds surfaced at Tuesday night's Grayslake Economic Development Commission meeting.

"It's approaching 10 years since that property has been sold and it's in the worst shape it's ever been," said Phil Harris, chairman of the advisory commission.

Grayslake Business Partnership managing director Michael Stewart, a commission member, said a problem in getting retailers or other potential users to commit to the property is that no one wants to make the first move. The group Stewart heads is a nonprofit, public-private initiative seeking to lure new businesses to Grayslake.

In 2009, the Lake County Fair left its longtime home at routes 45 and 120 in Grayslake and opened a new facility on Peterson Road on the village's south end. The Grayslake village board approved a retail project in August 2007 that was supposed to replace the old fairgrounds.

The recession was blamed for the demise of an 807,000-square-foot retail plaza that would have been built by Deerfield-based SKW Capital Management and Developers Diversified Realty Corp. of suburban Cleveland.

SKW's Sid Wiener appeared before the Grayslake village board in December with a tentative plan for the 106 acres.

Wiener, who maintained ownership of the land since 2007, said the retail component in the tentative plan would be joined by single-family houses, medical offices and an assisted-living facility.

Stewart said at some point SKW will be responsible for making something happen on land the company owns.

"For a large site such as the former fairgrounds there, there is a tremendous opportunity because of the amount of acres there to still potentially get two junior anchor (stores)," Stewart said.

Wiener has not made a return appearance before the village board since making the presentation on the new fairgrounds plan in December.

Harris said the Economic Development Commission should make it clear to the village board that the advisory panel is open to suggestions for the old fairgrounds.

"This is the Economic Development Commission's position: Bring us anything and we'll discuss it," he said.

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