Elgin, IL

Opinion: Elgin a City in Need of Serious TLC

Sherry McGuinn

Take note, City Council.

Photo byWikipedia Commons

For over twenty years, I've lived in Elgin, which is thirty-five miles northwest of Chicago, along the Fox River. And, even after more than two decades, I sometimes find it hard to think of this sprawling suburb as "home." After giving it much thought I've determined that one of the reasons is my neighborhood, where no one is all that neighborly, in spite of my efforts to make connections.

Now, I don't want readers who are lifelong Elgininites to get riled up. I merely want to share what I've observed over the years, and sadly, that's not much in the way of positive change or growth.

I've learned that, unless you live along the Randall Road Corridor, there is precious little in the way of shopping. You won't find any Trader Joe's on my side of Elgin, where, not only does Joe have a Randall Road address, but there are also Super Targets, Super Walmarts, Ross stores, Marshall's, and the like, aplenty. You can also find ethnic and specialty groceries like Caputo's and Fresh Market.

Full disclosure: We have a lovely Fresh Market near our house but the one on Randall is stocked with even more goodies.

That said, I'm not particularly fond of that side of town as some of the drivers along Randall are lunatics. They think nothing of cutting you off if you're going five miles over the limit instead of fifteen. And, if you're lost and looking for an address, forget it!

As far as dining goes, restaurants on Randall are all chains, which doesn't make them bad, but why can't we attract more fine dining establishments as well as indie, "mom and pop" places? Perhaps we who live here are thought of as unsophisticated bumpkins.

And, here's a tip for you folks who own Asian restaurants: Some of us actually prefer brown rice. It's just as affordable as the nutritionally bankrupt white rice so why not expand your horizons and offer it?

I've also noticed that, when businesses close down here, they stay closed. I've lost count of the dead strip malls that have remained undeveloped for years. Again, what does this signify? I realize that our economy is in the toilet, but when I pass through neighboring suburbs like Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates, I see startups everywhere.

Years ago, there was a Super Walmart on Route 25 that was kind of a shopping "destination" because it was the only store of its type around. And then it closed and the actual brick-and-mortar store is still there, surrounded by a giant, empty lot. That, I find depressing. And a testament that real estate developers don't see the potential in building here.

Too, Elgin's roads and residential side streets need serious work. Potholes and cracked pavement abound. Route 25, especially, is like driving through a war zone. If this is the case, how are our tax dollars being appropriated? Certainly not on any beautification projects. Perhaps in the more affluent areas of Elgin, which, admittedly, I'm not familiar with.

One more thing: Is it too much to expect the Elgin PD to have more of a presence in our neighborhoods? Especially when street racing and fireworks are routinely shoved down our collective throats? The other night, some idiot just had to shoot off a few at around nine p.m. In March.

Again, I apologize if anyone here takes umbrage to my comments but as a taxpayer, I believe I have a right to my opinions. And I also believe that Elgin could be one of Chicago's coolest suburbs if only the people who run it gave a damn. Because at the end of the day, it is my home.

Thank you for reading. and, As always, I welcome your (respectful) comments.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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Chicago, IL

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