|The Galesburg City Council sure has had their list of big issues they've had to tackle this year, but none perhaps bigger than where to put a proposed new hotel in town.
And that's one of our top local stories of 2012. Aldermen eventually okayed a proposed new hotel and housing development, to be located essentially across North Seminary Street from the Seminary Square shopping center. This, after months of debate between residents, the city council, and the developer, Quad Cities-based Raufeisen Development.
While there's no actual construction going on just yet, owner Todd Raufeisen told the city's Planning and Zoning Commission in September that the spot near Costa Catholic School is virtually perfect.
"The amenities that the business traveler likes to walk to -- I'll be honest with you -- they like this part of town, the associated uses, the access to Semnary [Street], which hops on [U.S. Highway] 34, which is a mile-and-a-half from [Interstate] 74. People don't drive up and down the Interstate anymore and go 'hey, I am going to stay there.' People make reservations far in advance."
Residents near Costa Catholic Academy complained that the development was too close to their back yards, and that the property could be located somewhere else. They also expressed concern that housing planned for the development could end up federally-subsidized at some point.
Mayor Sal Garza urged the developer and the residents to continue to come together to make the development amicable to all.
(Developer Todd Raufeisen stands in front of a map of the proposed project September 11 during a public forum at Costa Catholic Academy.)