Glenview agrees help Shermer Road businesses pay rent
Business owners in the Wil-sher Shopping Plaza at the Glenview-Northbrook border, Jashwant Patel (left), owner of Subway, and Danny Goodman, owner of Mario's Pizza and Beef, say the road closure at Shermer Road where a train bridge collapsed in July has d
Updated: November 23, 2012 2:37PM
GLENVIEW — Business owners on Shermer Road have seen sales nearly cut in half since the fatal derailment that closed the road.
However, village trustees have agreed to fund an escrow account that helps them pay rent while the destroyed rail bridge on Shermer Road is rebuilt for the next 18-20 months.
“It’s a good deal. Yeah, this will help out,” said Dan Goodman, who owns Maria’s Pizza at the Wil-Sher Shopping Plaza.
“Normally, with new road construction you know 12 to 15 months out that it’s going to happen. This train wreck just happened.”
On July 4, a Union Pacific coal train heading north to Wisconsin derailed and fell on the Shermer Road bridge that collapsed and killed Burton and Zorine Lindner in their Lexus below.
Though business has improved since the accident, Glenview officials did not want them to close, choosing to assist the retail storefronts just south of busy Willow Road.
The escrow account is $360,000 that pays out $15,000 a month for three business land parcels – the Mobile gas station, McGovern’s Public House and six stores owned by Dynamic Properties of Rolling Meadows.
“This fund allows the tenants to reduce gross rent invoices. The village, property owner and tenants have been extremely cooperative,” said Don Owen, Glenview deputy village manager. “But this was a rare and unusual tragedy that impacted those businesses. The village felt it was important and necessary to keep them operating up to the next two years.”
Joseph Santucci, of Dynamic Properties, said his company spent time and money working with the village on the rent program.
“We know the importance of keeping those businesses open. Our tenants should not be burdened while a more robust bridge is built,” Santucci said, also noting the cooperation among the three groups.
“They worked in concert to strategically deal with a public project and not at the expense of these businesses.”
In detouring traffic around the area, Old Willow Road was extended to Patriot Boulevard near The Glen, specifically to relieve traffic flow on West Lake Avenue.
In October, Glenview trustees approved $275,000 in construction contracts for the extension that will be billed to Union Pacific Railroad.
A temporary traffic signal was installed at Shermer Road and West Lake Avenue on the Glenview-Northbrook border, also billed to Union Pacific for $57,000.
The railroad company also agreed to build the state-of-the-art bridge for $10 million over Shermer Road.
Owen said initially Union Pacific offered to build a bridge in only two months with the same design as the old structure without replacing the 100-year-old concrete bridge abutments.
Both Glenview and Northbrook wanted the safer, more expensive viaduct, he said.
A Union Pacific executive stated in a letter to the villages that Union Pacific was willing to compensate Shermer Road businesses if the old, current bridge was rebuilt, but not for up to two years while a bigger structure was put in place.
In addition to the 2012 and 2009 accidents, derailments at the Shermer Road viaduct occurred in 1993 and 1974. Only the most recent involved fatalities.