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 - Du Page shoots for Views mixed on county's By...
Du Page shoots for Views mixed on county's By Howard Witt "Silicone Valley." Ask Du Page County officials about California's high-technology high-technology high-technology high-technology region, which many hope to emulate along the East-West East-West East-West Tollway, and those words often form part of the answer. The mispronunciation of the name of the area Silicon Valleymay Valleymay seem unimportant. But it bespeaks how little Du Page planners have studied the rapid growth of other high-tech high-tech high-tech industry centers in the country and the traffic and housing problems that followed. , "Nobody's looking to see what happened out in California," California," asserted one county planner, planner, who asked not to be identified identified because his cautionary tone is so uncharacteristic of ' county officials. "So no one knows what the potential is for that to happen here." In fact, there appears to be little agreement on just what is happening along the East-West East-West East-West Tollway. Clearly, something big is growing along what has come known as Du Page's "research "research corridor." In Naperville alone, a score of major research research and development labs, including the Amoco Research Center, AT&T Bell Laboratories Laboratories and Nalco Chemical Co., are nestled in pleasing, campuslike campuslike settings flanking both sides of the tollway. Stretch the boundaries to the east and west, from Oak Brook to Aurora, and include the Ar-gonne Ar-gonne Ar-gonne and Fermi National Laboratories Laboratories to the north and south, and there is more than-20 than-20 than-20 million square feet of office and research space. What's more, there is ample room to spare. Only about a third of the available land along the tollway has been developed, developed, prompting some officials officials to estimate that the space could more than double, to 50 million square feet, by the end of the century, making it half the size of downtown Chicago. But is Du Page County truly nurturing a high-tech high-tech high-tech region to rival the nation's acknowledgedand acknowledgedand much larger centers centers of advanced computer and semiconductor research outside San Jose, Calif.; Boston; Raleigh, N.C.; and Austin, Tex.? The signs are mixed. Naperville Mayor Margaret Price, whose city is home to , the largest number of research and development firms, does not hesitate to declare that "Naperville is in the class with Silicon Valley and Boston." ; , Naperville off icials who have seen their population more than double in the last 10 years to 55,210, are so convinced they will continue to attract high-powered high-powered high-powered research firms and the scientists and engineers who fill them that they are expanding their municipal sewage sewage facilities to accommodate a population of 130,000. "If we continue as we are planning," said Jack Romine, executive director of the , Naperville Chamber of Commerce, Commerce, "we should reach 85,000-90,000 85,000-90,000 85,000-90,000 population by the year 2000. Ultimately, we could cap out at 100,000-110,000. 100,000-110,000. 100,000-110,000. If we go to more multifamily housing, we could go to 150,000." Others are more cautious in their predictions. "I don't think we can expect to see the kind of rapid growth they had in Silicon Valley or Route 128," the high-tech high-tech high-tech region region near Boston, said Clayton Kirkpatrick, chairman of a special Du Page County commission commission mapping economic growth. "These things have a tendency to grow quite slowly., We are probably at an early stage." Though the development of the corridor is generally dated from the late 1960s, when AT&T and Amoco moved in, it is unclear whether the region 7 has prominent land a and have just As mass who of a the

Clipped from
  1. Chicago Tribune,
  2. 17 Feb 1985, Sun,
  3. Page 45

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