The Kalo Foundation's Iannelli Studios Heritage Center Tuesday took another step toward opening to the public after the Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend a parking agreement to the city council.
Residents, who live near the center at 255 N. Northwest Highway, requested that the commission add parking stipulations to its recommendation to the city council.
"We aren't here to opposed the center's location and use," said Atul Karkhanis, who lives near the center and is a member of the Park Ridge Zoning Board of Appeals. "We are concerned about overflow parking in the surrounding neighborhoods."
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Many residents, who attended the meeting, told the commission that center patrons had recently used their side streets for parking instead of the center's designated parking areas.
While the center isn't fully open to the public yet, it has been allowing local groups to use it, said Judy Barclay, a board member of the Kalo Foundation.
On Sunday, the center held a luncheon there, and attendees parked on the side streets instead of the center's designated areas in municipal parking lots along Northwest Highway or St. Andrews Lutheran Church lots.
That event spurred about 20 residents to attended the commission meeting to complain.
"When Kalo has events, such as this past Sunday afternoon, their visitors park their cars solid along the 300 block of Root Street," said Bobbi Oschger, who has lived on the 300 block of Root Street for the past eight years. "This leaves no space for residents to park their own cars. This parking situation impacts our property values, the quality of our lives and creates a hardship, especially for those without a driveway since we are all seniors with physical ailments."
While center officials had agreed to follow residents' parking requests going forward, residents asked the commission to recommend that the center adopt parking stipulations:
- The center must publicize and promote the use of its parking lots.
- Groups that rent out the center for special events must be told where to park before attending.
After the commission's vote, Barclay said the center is happy to comply with the wishes of residents and pleased with the vote.
"We really do want to be a good neighbor," Barclay said.
To further accommodate residents, the center recently put on top of its homepage a message stating that visitors should use the municipal and church lots instead of side streets north of the center. It also provided a link to a parking map.
Barclay added that the commission recommendation to the council pushes the center's public opening date forward.
While the center still has a number of hoops to jump through, if all goes as planned, the center will open to the public as early as September.
The commission is a recommending body to the city council, which makes final decisions on such matters. The council could vote on this issue as early as its July 16 meeting, Barclay said.
Last year, the Kalo Foundation of Park Ridge, a nonprofit, designed to preserve and promote the arts, bought the Iannelli property. It's now in the process of rehabbing it.
The studio had been owned by renown artist Alfonso Iannelli, who helped design the city's Pickwick Theatre.