Designing a Sense of Community
SJR 02 - 15 - 2010

My hometown of Arlington Heights lost its high school in 1982 when the school district decided to close one of the high schools in the district due to money constraints and declining enrollment. Arlington High School was the oldest school, so it was closed. Since then the students of Arlington Heights are divided between the other high schools in neighboring towns. Many people in the community feel that a sense of togetherness/community is missing in the town and point to the lack of a high school as the reason. The goal of my project is to try and bring that sense of community through a community center by pulling in children when they are young through connections with the Park District and then continuing to provide a place for children to meet and connect as they grow older. If children go, parents tend to follow, thus creating a whole community. The site is home to an old market and shopping area. The town had plans to build townhomes and had started the project. Roads were just beginning to be laid when the economy stalled. Now the site is just a fenced off area with large foundation holes and a few roads. The site is oriented north/south. The southern triangle was home to industrial buildings, now torn down. The diagonal road, which runs parallel to the railroad tracks that take commuters from the town to Chicago for work, is usually very busy as it runs through Arlington Heights, past the downtown area. Given this road condition and the existence of a large, successful Walgreens on the corner, I am planning to put commercial in this area, both retail and offices. The other areas will be residential (northern area) and then mix-use - commercial on the first floor, residential on the second, possibly third. (Diagram below)

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