Sixth Street residents want to keep brick

Several Sixth Street residents said if the village truly is committed to historic preservation, plans to repave their brick street with asphalt should be abandoned.

“These plans as presented are a huge disappointment and frankly unacceptable to most of us on the blocks,” said former village trustee and 144 E. Sixth St. resident Bill Haarlow at Tuesday’s Hinsdale Village Board meeting.

Haarlow detailed village efforts to encourage homeowners to preserve historic homes in the village.

“I find it ironic if not hypocritical to encourage and indeed implore residents to preserve historically significant homes if we, as a municipality, are unwilling to save our common, historic public assets,” he said.

His wife, Laurel Haarlow, also a former trustee, noted the emphasis placed on brick streets in the village’s application to have the Robbins Park Subdivision added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“These two streets (Sixth and First) are being viewed with the same weight as the contributing architectural structures,” she said.

She also reviewed the six criteria the village has put in place for adding a home to the village’s new Historically Significant Structures Property List. Sixth Street meets five of the six criteria, she said.

Jen Reenan, who lives in the American Beauty home once owned by Orland Bassett at 329 E. Sixth St., said several other communities have decided to continue using brick to pave streets.

“I would like to understand why Hinsdale came to different conclusions,” she said. “I believe that all of Hinsdale’s brick streets, including Sixth Street, are village treasures and should be protected by the village.”

Melissa Kinzler, who lives at 218 E. Sixth, agreed.

“I think this is just the prime example for the village to do their part and save this for historic preservation,” she said. “It’s not just our 30 people — it is a village treasure.”

Village President Tom Cauley said trustees have not voted on the materials to repave Sixth and that contractors will be asked for the cost for a full brick street when the project goes out to bid in January.

“That is one of the options we are going to bid out no matter what,” he said.

But if the estimates are correct, and it will cost $2 million more for a full brick street than it does to have brick only at intersections, Cauley said he can’t support it.

“My personal view is that we shouldn’t do it,” he said. “I’m very much in favor of historic preservation. If money wasn’t an issue, I’d be in favor of doing an all-brick Sixth Street.

“If we had an unlimited amount of money, we’d all be much happier about the situation. Maybe we’ll come back with numbers from the contractor that will be a pleasant surprise for us,” he added.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean