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The 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.

LaSalle Street and Main Street corridors have been highlighted on the Downtown District Map to emphasize their importance as primary activity corridors traversing various districts. First floor retail uses should be emphasized along the LaSalle Street corridor from Washington Park to Festival Park, and along the Main Street corridor from LaSalle Street to Sycamore Street. In the following pages are descriptions of each district. See Exhibit 2


Location Map


Canal District

 


Riverwalk

 


Rigden Park

 


River Residential District

 

 

 

 




Reddick Mansion

 

 

 

 

 


Washington Park District

 

 

 

 

 


West Main Street
Business District

 

 

 


Clinton/Jefferson Business District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


LaSalle County
Courthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 


Renovation & Improved Facade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Festival Park Riverfront District (Riverwalk)

Canal District
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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 Canal District is currently comprised of a mix of residential and business uses. The route of the I&M Canal corridor is proposed to be enhanced into an attractive amenity and trail system. Upgrading the structures immediately adjacent to the corridor, and throughout the Canal District should further enhance this amenity, which has significant historic meaning to Ottawa. In the future, this district should move further towards a residential area (especially south of the canal corridor) with the revitalization of existing architecturally contributing residential structures, replacement of noncontributing structures, infill opportunities on vacant lots, as well as the replacement of functionally obsolescent commercial buildings. Locations with existing viable commercial establishments within the Canal District should remain in place especially along busier vehicular transportation routes.

The Canal District should allow for business retention or creation which will provide local residents and tourists access to cultural and entertainment establishments along the canal corridor. The Canal District presents an opportunity to utilize the historic I&M Canal corridor as a greenbelt to define a unique neighborhood in close proximity to Ottawa’s Central Business District.

Arbor Residential District
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River Residential District
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Center Ottawa Residential District
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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 existing commercial areas should be evaluated for compatibility with the proposed increase in single-family uses in these districts. Opportunities for new infill and/or replacement of single-family and multi-family uses should be considered in these districts. Additional housing created by new construction or adaptive re-use projects will increase the population near the downtown.

Downtown Residential District
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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.

Adaptive re-use of existing architecturally contributing structures should be considered as well as opportunities for new replacement / infill structures. This district could also provide diverse housing opportunities to increase the population of residents living in very close proximity to the Central Business District. Opportunities to provide residential use above retail or office uses are strongly encouraged. This can be accomplished through new construction or adaptive re-use projects.

Washington Park District
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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 park’s west and south edges along LaSalle Street and Jackson Street, have opportunities for infill development and/or adaptive re-use projects, which should orient new or modified structures to take advantage of the proximity to the park as well as views into the park. New infill development or adaptive re-use of existing buildings should provide for new housing opportunities on the west and south edges of the park.

West Main Street Business District
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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.

Opportunities to provide residential use above retail or office uses are strongly encouraged. This can be accomplished through new construction or adaptive re-use projects. The West Main Street Business District should take advantage of the close proximity of residential areas to the north, south, and west, which include a significant population within close walking distance to this district. Pedestrian linkages between residential areas and businesses need to be assessed to allow for safe and easy access. For example, narrow sidewalks, sidewalk obstructions, uneven pavement and difficult curb crossings diminish pedestrian activity.

Clinton/Jefferson Business District
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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.

This district should encourage business retention and new businesses addressing aesthetics and streetscape design when changes are made. This district should also encourage mixed-uses including offices and residential uses above the street level along LaSalle Street. In other areas, it is appropriate to include office uses on the first level.

Civic Center District
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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.

An increase of civic uses and the retention/enhancement of existing viable business uses should be encouraged within this district. The Civic Center District includes a two-block section of the Main Street corridor, which< connects to the Court House District to the east, and connects to the West Main Street District on the west.

Courthouse Business District
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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 Courthouse Business District also contains an area known as the “Jordan Block” named after the Jordan Hardware store on Main Street. The Jordan Hardware store was located immediately south of the courthouse, and burned down in March of 1998. The Jordan Hardware building site, as well as several adjacent structures, currently remain vacant.


Aerial of Jordan Block


Several concept plans have been proposed or studied which all call for a unified plan for this development area. This area which is bounded by Columbus Street and LaSalle Street, Main Street to the north and the bridge approach on the south is a primary gateway entrance into Ottawa’s downtown. Proposed uses for this development block to be renamed “Lincoln Place” include entertainment, hotel/ convention center and restaurant uses. Any new development proposals will need to address views from the bridge looking north, respecting the proximity to the historic LaSalle County Courthouse, and providing strong visual and physical pedestrian access from the courthouse to the Festival Park area and the rivers..

Festival Park Riverfront District
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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

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Riverfront Illustrative Concept Plans
(Smith Group JJR)


Riverfront Illustrative Concept Plans
(Basalay Cary & Alstadt)

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.


If the Central School property should ever become available, it should be incorporated into the Festival Area. The school building could be redeveloped into restaurants, a cultural civic center, corporate offices, or a combination of each. The track area between the west side of the school building and Walker Street could be converted into multi-family residential and/or singlefamily residential developments. The area along the north bank of the Illinois River could be redeveloped into a marina. Several concept plans have been completed and they illustrate preliminary designs for the Festival Park. See Exhibit 3.