TCD3 One Step Forward, Comp Plan One Step Closer

North Star out, Houseal Lavigne very In: Naperville firm will coordinate extensive multi-year TCD3 and Comprehensive Plan effort.

This week council will vote on directing :

A motion is requested authorizing the Village Manager to execute a professional services agreement with Houseal Lavigne Associates of Naperville, Illinois, for consultant services for the creation of a “Comprehensive Plan” for the Village of Downers Grove and to facilitate a portion of the Total Community Development (TCD) 3 process, in an amount not-to-exceed $177,900.00 including expenses.

Paying over multiple years.

The General Fund will provide for all costs associated with the contract through completion, based on a not-to-exceed amount of $177,900. Within the current fiscal year, $67,000 has been budgeted. The General Fund budgets for FY09 and FY10 will reflect the expenses for all work not completed in the current fiscal year.

Even though it’s a sizable multi-year contract, it will not go out to bid.

The State of Illinois previously adopted changes to the state law that identifies the difference between taking competitive bids for the purchase of equipment or the process by which a government entity may take proposals for specific professional services. Under this law, the Village takes “bids” when purchasing but it may not take “bids” for professional services. The Village may take proposals that evaluate the professional capabilities of a professional services provider. However, if the Village has a “satisfactory relationship for services with one or more firms,” it is not required to take proposals. In considering proposals for professional services, the Village may consider the ability of professional personnel, past record and experience, performance data on file, willingness to meet time and budget requirements, location, workload of the firm and such other factors as the Village may determine in writing as applicable. Following a determination that the professional service provider meets the requirements of the Village, a price for services can be negotiated under state law.

In one sense, the village did evaluate both North Star Destination Strategies and Houseal Lavigne by the presentations they made. North Star’s concentrated on image, image perception, needs, branding, and receivables incorporating a unified strapline. Houseal Lavigne was more off the cuff and had a cold call feel, laying out what they have done, are doing, and can do to help DG move through TCD3 and an updated Comprehensive Plan to replace the 45 year old plan still in force as a guideline today.

That seems to be the winning idea; flexibility to help us get through a sticky process without bogging down, ending up with solid, valid, usable information from TCD3 employed to shape the Comprehensive Plan. They’ve done 21 community outreach and facilitation efforts with other communities, and specifically have Comprehensive Plan experience. Here’s an example of their work for River Forest.

The TCD3 contract is supposed to be done within 7 months of signing the contract, say April of 2009; the Comp Plan within 18 months, on or before March 2010. The time-lines are soft.

Unprecedented innovation and outreach.

This project will incorporate several lines of attack aimed at attracting and keeping the community involved. The planned TCD3 website will try and incorporate:

  • Surveys for both residents and businesses, both critical components for a healthy village.
  • Community issue mapping. This is cool as long as it doesn’t devolve into “Sound Off”.
  • Comments and questions area for how TCD3 is getting along, moderated by village staff.

In the real world, look for:

  • Workshops for residents
  • Workshops for commissions and boards. I assume this will include committees also, and for boards things like the Downtown Management, Chamber of Commerce, and Ellsworth Industrial Board (?). There is no indication yes or no at this preliminary stage for workshops incorporating community groups like Watch, Advocates, PDHA, Coalition for Managed Redevelopment, Housing Team, community groups that come to issues from different and often illuminating angles.
  • Interview and questions for other taxing bodies, like the PD, Library, Sanitary, and both school districts.
  • Specific business workshops, including even the small business owner. This will pull the EDC into the process in a significant way.
  • Student workshops, if for no other reason than to train a future group of taxpaying citizens to be active in the community. A wonderful component.
  • Neighborhood focus groups. I’m not sure how the village will define neighborhoods, but it will create them by who gets bundled where, and give a leg up to neighborhood conservation efforts by providing a rational basis for a neighborhood.

There’s plenty of opportunity to get things right. As this moves forward, whether or not it significantly moves DG into a sustainable rational future will unfold. You can yawn and say so what or you can roll up your sleeves and count yourself in on helping try and get it right.

It’s kind of lame it’s on the consent agenda. You’d think something this important, this expensive at $177,900 would get some free air time being vetted and voted upon by council as a separate item.

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