Development comes to Diamond

Courtesy image DIAMOND MAYOR TERRY Kernc announced this week plans for the construction of a Gas N Wash on the north side of Route 113 just west of the Interstate 55 overpass. The gas station, convenience store and car wash will include a Dunkin’ Donuts and possibly one additional fast food restaurant. Construction is slated to get underway after two natural gas mains and an abandoned pipeline are relocated within the property. Similar facilities are located across the area including one on Route 126 in Plainfield (pictured above). The project is being developed by Lenny McEnery and Leon Baine, who is also constructing the Diamond Indoor Trap Shooting Range with his wife, Christy Baine.

Ann Gill

As she looks back on 2019 and what’s in store for the Willage of Diamond during 2020, mayor Terry Kernc has a lot to smile about. Economic development is her top priority, it has been that way since she joined the town board back in 2006 as the village’s street commissioner. When first elected mayor she set out to ensure the residents had the services they needed. She often references “blue jeans, boots, food and pharmacy.” Those are products she continues to seek for the residents of the village, and with every new resident and retail establishment she inches closer to achieving that goal. In 2019, Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers began construction on a new 13,400 square-foot medical facility at the northwest corner of Route 113 and McGinty Street. “We are very excited, it’s been a long time coming so to have it come to fruition is really a wonderful and exciting thing,” Kernc said. The hospital invested around $7 million in the facility that will provide area residents with seven day access to primary care and physician specialists, along with laboratory, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy and occupational medicine services. The facility is expected to open in the coming weeks and Kernc said she can’t wait to see, “the paper pulled back from the name and the doors open.” Just a few blocks to the east, on a 5.36-acre site, a 70,000 square-foot building is under construction and it will be home to Diamond Indoor Trap Range. Located on the southwest corner of Route 113 and Daley Street, the business is being developed by Custer Park residents Leon and Christy Baine. “They are phenomenal people. When you work with developers you can tell who sets goals and who is high quality and they are definitely both of those things, I’m glad we’re working with them,” Kernc said. The state-of-the-art facility is being constructed with a clear span ceiling. The shooting area will be located on the south side of the structure. It has an asphalt floor and bullet proof glass panels that separate a gathering area from the shooting arena. A Hog Wild Express restaurant will be located within the facility, that will be open to the public year round, seven days a week. It was through discussions the mayor was having with Leon Baine about another potential business that led to the couple establishing their trap shooting facility in Diamond. As Kernc indicated at the start of 2019, she was in talks with a development group about plans for a large scale project on the Meredith property north of Route 113 just west of Interstate 55 (across from the Shell Station/Dairy Queen). Not only did those talks result in the village landing the Baines trap shooting facility, but a gas station, car wash and convenience store. Kernc announced this week plans are in place for the construction of a Gas N Wash just west of Frontage Road. The 24/7 stations offer fuel for cars and trucks. The facility will include fuel stations in the front for passenger vehicles and fueling areas for trucks and buses in the back. A stand alone car and pet wash will be located on the east side of the property. “It’s scheduled to go in with a Dunkin’ (Donut) and potentially one other fast food restaurant,” Kernc said. The Dunkin’ Donut would include a drive up window. “We are really excited about it,” Kernc said. The project has been in the works for about 1.5 years, and it required a lot of work with Nicor Gas and Buckeye Partners, who have a pipeline running through the property. “It is the most difficult parcel in Diamond to develop because of the 36-inch Nicor Gas main that goes through it, along with a 12-inch Nicor Gas main and an abandoned 12-inch from Buckeye,” the mayor said. Before construction can begin those lines need to be relocated to the perimeter of the property. Based on the amount of work necessary, Kernc said the village was looking for a developer who was passionate for the property and had the ability to do this kind of project. Lenny McEnery and Baine are the pair behind the gas station and car wash project. “Fortunately these folks have done enough projects and are big enough developers that they were not intimidated by the work and the effort they had to put forth to make this project work. I think your average developer would have been intimidated and walked away,” Kernc said. The mayor anticipates Nicor to begin the relocation of gas lines this spring, construction will follow. “It’s going to be a beautiful project when they finish it,” Kernc said. The project area sits outside the town’s tax increment financing district, but within the enterprise zone which allowed the village to offer the developers some incentives. Not only will the village benefit from the new business, but the development of the property will generate a few additional property tax dollars for the Wilmington School, Fire Protection and Library districts. “I know our residents will really enjoy this particular project. And, this is the gateway into Diamond and its going to make a dynamic statement for people coming into the village,” the mayor said. Editor’s note: There is quite a bit more on the mayor’s agenda for the coming year and we’ll share all of that with readers in the Jan. 22 edition of the Coal City Courant