By Tamas Mondovics

Close to 40 Bloomingdale area residents took time out of their busy schedules earlier this month to once again join forces in a continued effort to halt the development of a giant retail store and a residential complex project within the neighborhood.

To be exact, the planned development includes 158,800 sq. ft. big box store—most still believe to be a Walmart or a similar retailer, five out-parcels as well as a residential complex with 261 apartments or condominiums. The plan calls for close to 1,000 proposed parking spaces.

Gathered at the neighborhood library, the small group—a far cry from earlier meetings, which has seen numbers of participants reaching four times that—brainstormed key elements of the fight for their community in anticipation of the outcome to a scheduled mediation session ordered by Circuit Judge William P. Levens, after he denied the county and Developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC’s motion to dismiss a law suit filed by Bloomingdale area residents.

Led by Can-Do (Coordinated Active Neighborhoods for Development Organization), which first took its fight to court late last year, attendees in favor of the battle to keep such development out of their community first focused on a possible action plan that the group will likely have to pursue following the mediation held on Tuesday, June 3.

At the time of the writing of this article, Attorney Pamela Joe Hatley, representing Bloomingdale area residents, said mediation was held on the scheduled day. Unable to share any details just yet, Hatley added that as soon as the outcome of the mediation session is official, which could take a week or two, residents will have a chance to decide on the next step.

Residents attending this latest meeting entertained fundraising ideas as well as the need for volunteers to replenish what has so far been spent. The topic of traffic continues to dominate each meeting as residents have to contend with the said reality of the fact that—as one resident said—“It is legal for a developer to come in and cause enough traffic to change a ‘failing’ road into a ‘failed’ road.”

Hoping to keep things on the right track, Bloomingdale area resident Fred Brown, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the county, addressed the small group loyal to the cause. “We have to be proactive as a group and not be caught sleeping in this process,” Brown said.

The hour-long meeting ended with the anticipation of what is to come as attendees hope for the best, including counting on government leaders’ support.

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