About 80 of us attended the “tracks to 63rd” meeting, which seemed to surprise John Lavigne and Community Development Director Tom Dabareiner. We were told we doubled last week’s two meetings.
There are still opportunities to provide general or focused input from any group by simply contacting the village. Lions, Girl Scouts, PTA’s, any group can arrange for meetings similar to those that just took place.
Results from the meetings will be posted. This is a different process than TCD2 or 1 in that the input is categorized, and the items forwarded by the groups are not necessarily action items. They do seem to be a list from which action items can be found.
We were asked for input /opinions on 7 main areas.
Infrastructure: It seems obvious but will warrant repeating as budgets get tighter and tighter the next two years; streets and stormwater/flooding are the most important things village needs to look after. Around here the south branch of St. Joe’s Creek is a royal PITA, from Brookbank where it now starts, all the way through to where it disappears underground over by Grand. Everyone knows it, but it’s not a top priority in the big scheme. Pity, it sure seems to be to those who live around here.
Economic Development: All the vacant condos downtown are starting to attract notice, as is the need for a grocery store people can walk to that live downtown. Residents are also noticing that most of our shopping areas are starting to look a bit beat and tired; redevelopment or simply freshening up in down times is a big order for private investers and owners.
Ogden and Lee being redeveloped almost fell off the map, but workingon incentives to bring in and keep businesses is a concern of residents, as is the need for more garbage corrals downtown, so the area is neater, cleaner, and nicer. Downtown Managment Group’s Linda Kunze has been diligently pushing for more than the single one. It opens up the backs of businesses to residents, and cleans up the downtown. Naperville and other communities have made their downtowns more attractive to shoppers, diners, and businesses by doing this.
Residential: Setbacks was the number one issue for thsi meeting. To misquote one woman ” If the setback is six feet, why can they make it less with window wells, fireplace bumpouts, AC units, eave overhangs?” Good question. Massively covering lots with impervious surfaces and creating flooding for neighbors with destructive run off’s are part and parcel to that discussion.
Neighbors are noticing empty homes not being kept up. Who’s going to mow the lawns? What happens if a window breaks? Sidewalks had both sides of the issue represented, and tougher code enforcement was seen as desireable. Tree preservation was also noted, and that’s a topic worth circling back to.
Public Services: Animal control moves to the top of the list. Get rid of the skunks and coyotes. If you take out some racoons too no one will mind.
Parks & Recreation: A public pool is still a two sided issue, but one intriguing item that made it high up the list was the concept of a spray park; no pool, but a place where kids can run around and get wet.
Educational: Board transparancy topped the list. People were not happy with the last 99 election and how board members acted. Residents also were looking for more clubs and groups for students to become involved at, and top heavy administration and teacher costs made the list.
Financial: This category, at least at our table, had the most positives for the village. The message that the village is being very careful is getting out. That said taxes are always a concern. Having the Park District be more accountable for their spending (not sure what that one means) was second on the list. Public bodies weening themselves off of defict spending (borrowing), or barring that getting public approval for major expenses and planning ahead and setting aside all were input points.
The full set of responses will be posted on the TCD website, and you can read through them there. Two ideas I personally like are the garbage corrals for downtown, and the municipal tree nursury, which I’ll be writing about more in the future after I get an idea of space requirements, costs, benefits, and maybe a rough sketch of a plan.
If you are a member of a group and would like to have input to this process-and the village is actively seeking this BTW- you can get instructions here.