Downtown area has been divided up into eleven different districts characterized
by major land uses and/or features in each district. The purpose in
defining these districts for this plan is to build upon the heritage,
commonalities, and strengths of existing conditions, or to move a district
in a specific direction by promoting a common theme.
The Canal District surrounds the I&M Canal with Superior Street
being the southern border and the CSX Railroad being the northern border.
The district extends about five blocks on either side of LaSalle Street.
The Arbor Residential District, River Residential
District and the Center Ottawa Residential District are areas comprised
predominately of existing single-family residential structures. There
are many multi-family structures and many businesses located within
these districts along with Marquette High School in the Center Ottawa
Residential District. In the future, these districts should move towards
an increase of single-family structures, with multi-family structures
appropriately mixed in, and with a concentration of commercial uses.
The Downtown Residential District is located at the
northern edge of downtown. This district is currently made up of existing
commercial and institutional uses. Existing viable businesses and established
institutional uses should be encouraged to remain, while opportunities
to increase higher density housing should be considered when and where
the opportunity presents itself.
The dominant feature in this district is the preservation
of Washington Park in the center with the historic buildings and civic
uses on the north and east edges. Most of the buildings around the Square
are on the National Register of Historic Places. The proposal for this
district is to preserve the character of the existing historic and architecturally
significant governmental, institutional, and residential structures,
which define the north and east park edges.
The West Main Street Business District is currently
comprised of commercial/retail uses serving the adjacent residential
districts and the transient traffic along Main Street. This district
should look to enhance the aesthetics of the entire district with an
emphasis on the Main Street corridor. The Main Street corridor should
become more pedestrian friendly and aesthetically pleasing. This can
be accomplished by adding street trees, landscaping where possible,
street furniture and civic art. Design Guidelines should also be implemented
to promote attractive business signage.
This district is comprised primarily of commercial,
retail, and institutional uses with some existing residential uses.
It includes a two-block section of LaSalle Street and Columbus Street
connecting to the Washington Park District to the north and the Court
House Business District to the south. The LaSalle Street improvements
should be consistent through the various districts.
The Civic Center District currently contains Ottawa’s
City Hall, the Ottawa Elementary School District administrative offices,
several financial institutions and many existing businesses. This district’s
eastern boundary is Clinton Street, which is proposed to be the southern
traffic flow for Illinois Route 23 as a replacement for the current
southern traffic movement along LaSalle Street. The Lateral Canal corridor
defines the west edge of this district.
The Courthouse Business District contains the LaSalle
County Courthouse structure, built in 1889. This district currently
contains several restaurants and existing commercial / retail establishments
with the attraction of the historic Courthouse, as well as the workday
activities centered around this structure. It is anticipated that new
dining establishments will migrate north along LaSalle Street. Additional
court support services and allowances for expansion of government related
services should be encouraged within this district. For example, additional
government office space could be created as an alternate to relocating
government uses outside the Central Business District.
The Festival Park Riverfront District contains the eventual terminus of the Fox River Walk, Central School, parking areas, the Ottawa River Rescue Squad building and boat launch, and a park area. This district is proposed to be enhanced by the addition of parks, trails, a multi purpose festival area as well as potential for a marina to increase boat access and docking. The overall goal is to strengthen pedestrian connections from the river into the Central Business District. An S-curve is being proposed at the north end of this district, connecting Clinton Street with existing southbound Illinois Route 23 and 71 (LaSalle Street). After intersecting the new S-curve, it is proposed that LaSalle Street will terminate in a large turnaround “Public Square” park that would feature a landmark such as a statue or pavilion. The north and west banks of the Illinois and Fox Rivers would include an increase of boat docks along with the improvements and extensions of the Ottawa Riverwalk
The expanded Riverwalk would begin at the I&M Canal Aqueduct and follow the west bank of the Fox River south and west to the proposed festival park area. Once the Riverwalk reaches the Festival Park area the Riverwalk will pass near Central School and traverse the former Lateral Canal located along Canal Street.