Gas station fuels uproar in ‘historic’ downtown district

McHenry’s plans to replace the vacated bank downtown with a gas station has frustrated citizens


Madison Harvey

Despite the complaints and protests from residents, McHenry still has plans to demolish a “historic” downtown bank and replace it with a gas station sometime in 2021.

Kaitlyn Wenzel, Staff Reporter

The city of McHenry plans to remove the vacated bank downtown on the corner of Green Street, Route 120, and Route 31 and build a gas station in its place.

This plan has angered many residents of McHenry and caused them speak out against the construction of a new gas station once again. Many of these residents see the bank as a historic connector to areas in downtown McHenry.  This gas station, which would include a fast food and convenience store, will take up the three street corners before downtown McHenry.

In The Northwest Herald, residents argue that this gas station will cause an increase in constant light, noise, and traffic. The traffic is an immediate concern for the Mchenry residents due to the planned gas station’s inconvenient location.

Since this is already a traffic-filled area, especially during the winter and rush hours, residents worry the increase of traffic delays could be quite high and will negatively affect citizens of McHenry trying to get to and from work.

Not only is traffic a large concern, but also the fact that there are already three other closed gas stations on Route 120 and a newly demolished gas station.

Residents argue that these other gas stations are in more convenient locations that could be utilized rather than demolishing and replacing the vacant bank. These gas stations need new buildings or to be bought and fixed up so they no longer look rundown.

By utilizing these other locations, it could help with the city’s budget considering there is no need to demolish any pre-existing buildings. three of these locations would not need to be demolished or build brand new but rather, fixed up and made functional . This will also help with keeping the matching historical scenic look for downtown.

Keeping downtown McHenry historic is another concern for residents. They argue that, since the bank is still in quite good condition due to it only being built in the 1990s, a better option would repourposing the building rather than demolishing it.They also say that this can drastically help with taxes and funding.

However, some other citizens say that the bank isn’t actually a historic building at all; it was built to look historic to fit in with the rest of the downtown scene. Other sources have stated that they do plan to build this gas station with a historic, similar to that of the bank.