Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Thomas Sisul, Michael Gilbert; Village Manager Michael McCurdy; Village Attorney Daniel Blondin; Village Clerk April Holden
Absent:Commissioner Sue McConnell
Visitors: Press: Susie Gura, Downers Grove Reporter Residents & Others in Attendance: Eric & Lillian Munzenmay, 4904 Lee; Lura Kiesa, 5125 Cornell; Mary McNamara, Historical Society, 4625 Wilson; Bob Arehart, Historical Society, 4839 Pershing; Robert Batten, 1128 Oxford; Mark Zabloudil, 620 39th St.; Liz Chalberg, Coldwell Banker, EDC , Chamber of Commerce; Dick Gammonley, Gammonley Group, 322 W. Burlington, LaGrange; David Kennedy, PPKS Architects, 444 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn; Marc Cella, MDC Properties, 907 N. Elm, Hinsdale; Michael Davenport, Davenport Architects, 6636 Blackstone; Jan Kopis, 1240 Chicago; John Haine, 1110 Grove; David Reynolds, 4919 Bryan Pl.; Robert G. LeMay, 4825 Oakwood Ave.; Sean McMahon, Allen Morris, Teng, 205 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago; Phil Cullen, 4720 Middaugh; Jim Russ, Downtown Management Bd., 4915 Main St.; Marilyn Weiher, 4808 Wallbank; Heather Knight, PPKS Architects, 444 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn; Janene Cerulli; Marita Blanken, 4828 Bryan Pl.; Martin Tully, 3678 Venard; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Ken Lerner, 4933 Whiffen; Mary Ellen Young, 1821 Elmore; Mary Beth Lukin, 901 Meadowlawn Staff: Police Chief Rick Ginex; Tracy Adams, Records Manager, Police Dept.; David Hankes, Webmaster; Indira Sivakumar, Liangfu Wu, Information Services; Jack Bajor, Director, Public Works; Denise Williamsen, Community Events; Deputy Village Manager Jerry Sprecher; Dave Conley, Director of Operations, Public Works; Fire Chief Lanny Russell; Ann Priorello, Manager, Village Operations Center; Kerstin Von Der Heide, Forester, Public Works; Sue Brassfield, Grants Coordinator; Ken Rathje, Director, Planning Services; Amanda Browne, Planner, Planning Services; Steve Rockwell, Director of Economic Development; Fire Lt. Dan Mejdrich; Tom Doran, Trainer; Deputy Fire Chief Paul Segalla; Fire Lt. Jackson; Steve DiNaso, GIS Technician; Lisa Wisner, Visitors Bureau; Mike Baker, Assistant to the Village Manager; Brian Pabst, Director of Redevelopment; Dan Grecco, Engineer, Public Works.
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Manager McCurdy said there would be two items the Council would be asked to vote on this evening: 1) contract for executive search services; and 2) grant application for the firefighter related equipment. He also said there would be a change of sequence following the bids to include a presentation by the Historical Society, and a presentation concerning Station Crossing.
On-Call Street Light Maintenance . Manager McCurdy said staff recommends renewing the contract with Fulton Contracting from last year in the amount of $12,000.
Fireworks for the Heritage Festival . The Manager said staff recommends awarding a bid in the amount of $15,000 to Lumina, Inc.
Heritage Festival Tents . The Manager said staff recommends awarding a bid to Braun Event for a total of $28,154.90, which is higher than what was budgeted. They expect other items may be reduced to allow for this increased item.
The Mayor asked whether they will have adequate time to set up the tents. The Manager said that staff will provide assistance to them. They will not start earlier.
Cardiac Monitor for Fire Department . The Manager said staff recommends a contract in the amount of $12,274.20 to Midtronic to upgrade the cardiac monitors for the Fire Department.
Thermal Imaging Equipment for Fire Department . The Manager said staff recommends awarding a contract to First, Inc., in the amount of $16,800. The Mayor asked who provided the other two cameras.
Fire Chief Lanny Russell said both were purchased from First, Inc., and manufactured by Scott.
Heavy Rescue Squad for Fire Department . The Manager said this equipment is largely funded by grants, and thanked the Mayor for his assistance in obtaining those grants. Staff recommends awarding the bid to Pierce Manufacturing in the amount of $289,627 for the vehicle and to Amkus Rescue Tools in the amount of $41,336.63 for the tools.
Commissioner Gilbert asked whether this was a direct replacement of equipment they have. Chief Russell said it was replacing the Ford rescue truck that they now have which is to be sold. It is Unit #716.
Commissioner Gilbert asked if this apparatus was better than the current equipment. Chief Russell said yes, it was a much heavier design. It has a crew cab and all of the body parts will be used for storage of the various rescue equipment.
Commissioner Gilbert asked why they are replacing the unit. Chief Russell said it has close to 100,000 miles on it, and has cracks in the body. Fleet Maintenance has repaired the vehicle.
Commissioner Sisul asked the normal life expectancy on this type of vehicle. Chief Russell said they expect 15 years. The current unit is 10-11 years old. The new unit will have a heavier chassis.
Commissioner Gilbert asked whether the net cost to the Village on this is $100,000 and whether the remainder is being paid by grants. Chief Russell said that was correct. The Mayor said that Senator Dillard and Senator Roskam, Representative Bellock, Representative Persico have provided a total of $275,000 in funding from their districts. Commissioner Gilbert acknowledged that this funding would not have been possible without the assistance of the Senators and Representatives.
The Mayor asked the Chief to explain what the equipment does. Chief Russell said it is a big toolbox that carriers all auto extrication equipment, hydraulics, technical rescue equipment, air to fill air tanks, a generator, special meters, etc. The Mayor said he participated in a demonstration of the vehicle and was amazed at how quickly a car could be cut open to extricate an individual. Chief Russell said this vehicle is well equipped to take care of numerous types of emergencies. The Mayor thanked the staff for their work on this project. It was a long planning period, and staff worked together as a team. Chief Russell also thanked the Fleet Maintenance team, including Ron Kring and Mike Ludemann for their participation in planning for this vehicle.
The Mayor asked about a tool taken off the truck and Chief Russell said the combination tool has not been removed but put on the side of the truck so it is in the same configuration as the current truck. The committee recommendation was to put it on the front of the truck, however, the Chief said staff decided against that as the hydraulic pump is tied to the transmission of the vehicle; however, after further review it was determined that the $114,000 system was too expensive. Therefore it was reconfigured to be on the side of the truck, and the committee agrees that it will operate satisfactorily.
Eric Munzenmay , 4904 Lee Avenue, asked for more information of the uses of thermal imaging. Chief Russell said thermal imaging takes infrared technology and allowed the Fire Department to go into a building full of smoke, use the camera and see what is in the building. They can see people, furniture, and through walls for fires that might be behind the walls. The objects are differentiated by colors and brightness. This prevents damage to the homeowner’s residence, and primarily allows them to find a victim quickly and rescue them. The Mayor said he saw the operation of this equipment and how they can scan a room in zero visibility with the camera.
Turf Maintenance Contract . The Manager said a good amount of time is spent by the Village’s grounds staff in the Central Business District for expanded planters and other landscaping maintenance. Staff recommends awarding a contract for lawn services in the amount of $27,353 for lawn mowing services to Competitive Lawn Service. The Downtown Management Board has contributed $12,000 to assist with the cost of this contract.
Commissioner Sisul asked whether they plan to keep Charlie downtown, and the Manager said they do. Commissioner Sisul said he has not seen a more dedicated employee than Charlie.
Additional Laserfiche Components . The Manager said staff recommends obtaining additional laserfiche components to further reduce the paper workload. The Police Department recommends awarding a contract in the amount of $18,090 to TKB Associates, Inc.
Commissioner Gilbert asked if this was already budgeted.
Tracy Adams , Manager, Police Records, said it was not originally in the budget. They will budget this from other areas in the Police budget. She said that Mr. Lyons is aware of this.
Commissioner Gilbert noted there was only one source recommended and Ms. Adams said they are buying it from Laserfiche, and the reseller in this area is TKB .
Commissioner Sisul asked for an explanation of what the equipment will do. Ms. Adams said the initial system dealt with handling police reports. The Records staff has already scanned five years of police reports, which equals about a half million documents. Five ceiling to floor shelving units and cabinets have been eliminated. Everyone can now access what was in those file units from their desks. The service delivery is much faster, and they have also added items they did not originally anticipate. Ms. Adams said the additional components are three more client licenses which allow them to do all maintenance, scanning, redacting, etc., and allows other divisions to use scanners from their divisions. She said they are using the system far more than they originally anticipated. Ms. Adams said the second piece they are obtaining is called Zoned OCR that allows scanning of specifically designated areas, which may not be typed text. The last piece is an upgrade to their audit trail system for tracking of document distribution, expungements, etc.
The Mayor asked why there is such a large discount on the audit trail. Ms. Adams said because they have already bought the basics, which is the same with the client licenses.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether the hard copies have been destroyed. Ms. Adams said they have. They have a backup in 801 in a locked vault. If everything were destroyed they could back up all records within 24 hours. The documents have been microfilmed which creates a double backup system.
Contract for Executive Search Services . The Manager said the recommendation is for a contract with Executive Search Services to recruit candidates to replace the Village Manager. He said they have received three proposals that have been submitted to the Council. The consensus has been to go with DMG Maximus.
2. Historical Society Presentation . The Manager introduced Bob Arehart from the Historical Society.
Bob Arehart , stated he and Mary McNamara represent the Historical Society, and are present to ask permission from the Council to move ahead with work on the cemetery. He noted that the Historical Society has served as overseers of the cemetery with the Council approval. Mr. Arehart said they have researched the cemetery and need to provide some monument repair. There are seven major monuments in need of repair both for aesthetics and for safety. The Society has located a firm to undertake the work. The cost for this Phase 1 will be $5500. This amount will be compensated by a Village grant of $3000 received in 2000, with the balance paid by the Historical Society. This will take approximately three days, with the exception of one monument that has to be removed and repaired. The company is Gast Monument of Chicago and has been in business for 100 years. Repairs to the monuments should last at least 100 years. Mr. Arehart then explained the monuments in need of repair referring to photographs of each item.
Mr. Arehart said that Phase II will include other monument repairs or replacement, as well as general work on the site. He asked for the Council’s permission to proceed with this project.
Commissioner Gilbert complimented the Society on the terrific job they have done in researching and putting together their proposal. He asked if any residents wanted to contribute to the repairs where would they send their contributions.
Mr. Arehart said they will need help for the upgrading and have made applications for another grant as well. They expect to have to eventually go to the residents for assistance, and said that donations could be sent to the Downers Grove Historical Society, P.O. Box 663, Downers Grove 60515.
Commissioner Sisul added his congratulations on the work the Society has been doing. He added that Richard and Mary Arehart, and Mike Gilbert are life members of the Society.
Mr. Arehart noted that he has included a copy of the Gazette and an order form for the Society’s videotape on Downers Grove.
Commissioner Sisul asked about the reconditioning and whether some of the writing that is very faint will be improved. Mr. Arehart said they will study each monument. In all likelihood the monument printing should be left alone. They are considering the possibility of a secondary plaque on or near the monument. He said eventually they would like to have some type of kiosk to identify the ground plan of the cemetery. Regarding the cemetery wall, Mr. Arehart said that some of those who were harsh in their criticism of the wall now appear to be pleased with the results.
The Mayor asked Mr. Arehart to put some of the booklets in the Library for resident review, and also to get some information to Mr. Kozlowski to put this information on Cable TV. Mr. Arehart said he would do that.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether they are using the Village grant writer to assist with the grants. Mr. Arehart said they are now applying for their third grant on their own. They have a grants committee within the organization; however, will accept any help they can get.
3. Station Crossing Proposals. The Manager asked Brian Pabst to introduce this matter.
Brian Pabst , Director of Redevelopment, stated that Station Crossing was formerly known as Block 117. He provided background of the project, which began approximately seven years ago when many businesses went out of business. To address the problem the Council at that time created the Economic Development Commission and a Task Force of citizens. One recommendation was to develop a master plan (the Lakota Plan) which was adopted in 1997. That Plan had three concepts: 1) to improve the business mix and demography; 2) downtown is the heart of the community; and, 3) revitalization and redevelopment of the downtown. One element of the Plan was Station Crossing. He said a citizens’ Task Force for this site met for more than six months and recommended a mixed-use development, including dwelling units. Mr. Pabst then asked Mr. Steve Rockwell, Director of Economic Development, to continue the presentation.
Steve Rockwell , Director of Economic Development, said that as a result of the Task Force recommendations, the EDC released a request for qualifications to over 90 firms, of which 12 responded. The Task Force presented its guidelines to the Council in April 2000. The RFP was released to nine developers in February 2001. From that, four proposals were received from HKM /Banbury Architects, Gammonley Group, Hamilton Partners, and Teng Developers. The review committee then proposed two developers to the Council: The Gammonley Group, and Teng Developers. He restated that this process for Station Crossing is part of what has been a seven-year citizen planning process.
Mr. Rockwell said that in November the EDC was directed to hire Gruen & Gruen Associates, a market strategy and research firm, to complete a comprehensive economic development strategy for the EDC and the Village.
Mr. Rockwell said the zoning commentaries of the two developers present tonight (The Gammonley Group and Teng Developers) are based upon the potential density authorized under Section 28-1008 of the Village’s Zoning Ordinances. The developer chosen must seek approval of the density increase which they may desire to develop as a special use by the Zoning Board of Appeals, or a Planned Development which would be reviewed in a public hearing by the Plan Commission. The procedure would be similar to that utilized by the Morningside Condominium Development south of Maple on the east side of Main Street. He stated that the procedure for presentation this evening would be to have one group present while the second leaves the room. There will be a 20-30 minute time limit with questions presented by the Council during the presentation. The questions from the public will be held until the end of both presentations.
Allen Morris, of Development Operations of Teng Development, said he would provide a brief overview of their organizations. Mr. Sean McMahon who handles leasing for the company is also present. Mr. Morris said Teng is a 42-year old company with three operating units (planning, architecture, and engineering) and is a $225 million/year company. It is designer/planner based. They have been awarded contracts for Lake Bluff, Lincolnshire, Freeport, and Berwyn. They expressed interest in the Station Crossing site about four years ago.
Mr. Morris said if Teng was selected by the Village, he would be the development manager and Mr. McMahon would be responsible for the leasing. Teng and Associates is the architectural engineering arm of the company, and Teng Construction is the in-house construction firm. He noted that everything would be done in-house.
Sean McMahon then presented the project program and development proposal. He stated they want active feedback from the community to refine their design. They envision 13,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor with a 5,500 square foot restaurant at the corner of Highland and Warren. The restaurant would have an enclosed outdoor café that could be used year-round. A courtyard would provide the 30% greenspace required, which would be visible from Rogers as well. The 2nd and 3rd floors of the development would be condominiums. The opening on Warren is 12’-14’ in width and is a pedestrian entrance to allow passing through a security gate with access to elevators for the 2nd and 3rd floor.
Commissioner Schnell asked about greenspace. Mr. Morris said they will landscape the edges of the site. They see it as an urban hardscape with tree-planting wells as opposed to parkway-grass areas. It would be consistent with the approach of the Lakota Plan and the existing streetscape. There would be surface parking for the retail and restaurant use to be distributed around Rogers, Highland and Warren. Resident parking would be below grade with access off Rogers. There would be 64 cars in the basement, and 49 on grade. Condominiums would be one and two bedroom ranging from 1000 to 1600 square feet for a total of 34 units at $204,000-$296,000. The retail rental cost would be about $18/square foot. It is based upon current lease rates in the Downers Grove downtown area, as well as speculation for national retailers.
Commissioner Schnell asked how far into the site the parking will be. Mr. Morris said they will have parking on the street and in the site. They would go in ten feet in some areas, so as to solve retail parking demands right at the block.
Commissioner Sisul asked whether they have discussed parking with potential tenants. Mr. Morris said they have not taken the plan to tenants, although they are confident to go to the market with the arrangement as presented. Commissioner Sisul then questioned the potential evening conflict for parking needs. Mr. McMahon stated that per the Zoning Ordinance, for the restaurant and retail, they meet the parking requirements. There is still an opportunity for providing valet service for nighttime restaurant customers. Mr. Morris said they have not discussed this with Willis Johnson, and that would be something to go into further.
The Mayor said that the requirement of 30% greenspace appears to be at Rogers, and there would not be a greenspace view for people getting off the train. Mr. Morris said that was correct. The plan was to soften the approach to Rogers as this would be the transitional block between the downtown retail and residential area. They also prefer the short “glimpse” to see through the gate to the structure. They have the flexibility to bring the greenspace forward. Their general philosophy is that this is a cooperative design effort that will develop over the life of the project. The Mayor asked whether they would envision dining on the side of the courtyard as well. Mr. Morris said it would not be the first choice as they see that as a quiet area. The Mayor said that it seems as though the greenspace is blocked off, and Mr. Morris said that was correct. Commissioner Sisul said for clarification, the 30% is open space.
Commissioner Sisul asked about access to the courtyard to the public. Mr. Morris said there would be access with trees and benches. He said there would be a gate on the Rogers side, and they could discuss the dimensions of the gate so as to maintain a sense of openness.
Mr. Morris discussed the 2nd and 3rd floor plans and the lower level parking area. They anticipate the 3-story wall to be along Warren Avenue. He said they must be able to provide secured enclosed parking for the residents on the site. He described how they would break up the mass of the building using outdoor terracing effects on the 3rd floor. They plan a gabled roof architecture with the mechanicals hidden behind the interior configuration of the roof.
Commissioner Sisul said there are two considerations, one being the aesthetics. He asked what materials they plan for the roof and how it would blend into the community. Mr. Morris said they would use a turned metal roofing that would take on a green patina as it ages as their first choice. The building material would be red brick to blend in and correspond with the train station.
Commissioner Sisul said that many people are looking at this to be a focal point of the downtown area, and they would like some texture to the exterior of the building. He asked about the archways. He is concerned about the flatness of the upper levels. Mr. Morris said that they do not see the archways being carried up to the 2nd and 3rd floors. On the Warren side there is considerable variation and character as it is broken up into two modules with a connecting link. On Rogers it appears as two much smaller buildings with a courtyard in the center. On Main Street and Highland there is a more straightforward approach that may need further study. They have complied with the 48’ height expressed in the RFP .
Commissioner Schnell asked about the overall density. Mr. Morris said there will be 34 units in under one acre. Regarding the stormwater requirements, Mr. Morris said because they will be under the one-acre requirement, the 30% greenspace will be sufficient.
Mr. Morris then reviewed the proposed schedule they placed in their proposal. If everything were to move smoothly, they could begin construction by next spring.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the design, stating the Task Force wanted to see something that would blend into the traditional character of Downers Grove and complement the Village. She sees this as having a European feel to it. Mr. Morris said they exerted their designer’s point of view showing no overriding predominate architectural character to downtown Downers Grove. This recalls a different period and adds to the diversity of the town. He stressed that this is their first pass and could be redesigned. He said if there is an opinion that this character does not fit into the Village they can present a different character. They came up with this design as an opportunity to present a different character and provide aesthetic diversity.
Commissioner Gilbert said conceptually they have done a good job of breaking up the big box look. He asked how they would determine what tenants would go into the building and the mix of the retailers. Mr. McMahon responded that this is a big commuter city and the focal point is the train area. They need to look at the needs of those getting off the train and what they need. This is the Village’s development and the Village needs to tell them what type of tenant they want. He said they see it as a commuter retail location, such as food, quick pickups, bookstores, etc.
Commissioner Gilbert asked what their analysis shows in regard to need for the residential units. Mr. Morris said they watched the absorption of Morningside and are satisfied that Morningside is on track for selling out their units. At about 20-24 units per year the downtown can continue to absorb new products. There is a value for empty nesters to stay in the Village. The double-income no children market is good also because of the proximity to trains. He noted that Elmhurst is ahead of track on their sales.
Commissioner Sisul asked about the retail tenants they have obtained in recent times. Mr. Morris said that have an on-going relationship with the Gap which has expressed interest in Downers Grove, Kinkos, Crate & Barrel, etc. Commissioner Sisul asked if the Village provided a list of retailers they would like to see, at what stage would they be able to obtain leases from tenants. Mr. McMahon said because the Village has control over the site they can approach the retailers. It should take 3-4 weeks to get to a letter of intent and another 3-4 weeks to negotiate a lease, which is a two-month plan that would take place during the course of development. Retailers are interested in the market share and whether the Village can support their product. It will be swayed by people and traffic counts and not just by the architecture. They must also identify the services that are lacking and approach that type of retailer. Mr. Morris said in submitting their schedule, they took the conservative approach and would be looking at negotiating leases around January 2002. They could go out faster with letters of intent if the process moves smoothly. Mr. McMahon said that timing is important. The retailers want to see the construction beginning.
Commissioner Sisul said that if they were selected, he would like them to consider any suggestions they might have that would help the process and the success of the project.
Dick Gammonley , President of the Gammonley Group, stated his firm specializes in downtown redevelopment in established communities. He noted that downtown redevelopment is a much more sensitive issue today as it impacts all of the residents of a community. His firm has worked in LaGrange, Oak Park, Oak Forest, Clarendon Hills, Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn. Their project in Glen Ellyn recently received the Green Growth Award from the Campaign for Sensitive Growth, and it is a similar project to what they designed for Station Crossing. It reuses properties that are not green in nature, or recycled property. He then displayed a model of what the project would look like. Their goals for Station Crossing aimed at maintaining height, density and the balance between retail and commercial, while having the project blend in with the surrounding businesses. They approached Willis Johnson of the Tivoli to incorporate Highland Avenue and the Tivoli to provide continuity to the project. Mr. Johnson agreed with the concept as they would benefit both properties. Mr. Gammonley said they also felt this project would be the gateway to future development in Downers Grove, and will raise the bar and set standards for other developers to maintain. He then introduced the Gammonley team.
David Kennedy , architectural representative for Gammonley, referred to the packet provided to the Council by their team and reviewed the process. Their primary goals were 1) emphasis on the retail frontage on Main Street and Warren, 2) segregation of the residential and retail parking and pedestrian access point, 3) creation of an active plaza on Warren Street, 4) maintenance of setbacks on all sides of the property for pedestrian/landscaping use, 5) incorporation of the theater, 6) creation of a new drop off area, and 7) enhancement of the traffic flow. They wanted to have the residential floors set back from the retail area to allow for taller floors for the retail area. Mr. Kennedy reviewed the site plan and floor plan. There is approximately 14,500 total square feet of retail on the west and south sides of the property. The residential entrance and drop off point are centered on Rogers Street. Residential parking is off Rogers in a lower deck, with the retail parking entering on the east side from Highland. This provides for circulation on the site and for security. Lower level parking provides for 50 spaces, with 30 spaces at the retail level, and 6 spaces on the front side. They have designed an L-shaped residential area with 13 units per floor for levels 2 and 3, and penthouse units on the 4th floor.
Commissioner Sisul asked about the roofing materials. Mr. Kennedy said there will be pre-cast or poured decks which the tenants will look down upon. Mechanicals are on the roof, with terraces for the penthouses and limited terraces on the other areas. He explained how the terraces for the penthouse units would be designed. Mr. Kennedy described the top elevation along Highland Avenue, stating there were traditional elements in the design including small balconies for each unit. He displayed the various elevation drawings explaining how each side would look. Retail spaces are all on one level, and there will be a lawn area sloped toward the building to allow for more landscaping. There will be planted trees in the grass area as well. He indicated that they would like to see a restaurant in the retail area and would have to address parking for that use. He used the model to show how the building is set back to allow for flexibility of retail design, and to open to the Tivoli theatre.
Commissioner Schnell said that the design of this building comes across to her as very modern. She asked for a description of the type of materials that would be used. Mr. Kennedy provided a handout of the materials and of the artist’s renderings for projects under construction. He said they envision traditional cornices, banding of masonry materials, stone lintels, brick and stone detailing around the windows as well as at the base of the building. They would have red brick and historical detailing incorporated into the design. The shape of the pediment around the retail area is traditional.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the plaza area on the Warren Avenue side, which appears to have a majority of paving. Mr. Kennedy said there is proportionately more hardscape than greenspace; however, there is flexibility in that area as well.
Responding to Commissioner Schnell’s inquiry as to the stormwater issue, Mr. Gammonley said that the mandate is that anything over an acre should provide it’s own detention system. Using that criteria they would incorporate an underground detention system.
Mr. Kennedy then distributed a drawing of the Rogers Street facade to the Council.
Mark Cella of MDC Properties addressed the issue of retailing for the site. Mr. Cella works with Gammonley regarding the commercial portion of their properties. About 9500 square feet of retail is planned for the west side of the Station Crossing site, with 5,000 square feet on the east side. On the west side, the majority of space is pushed out from the building, while on the east side almost the entire 5,000 square feet represents the first floor of the building. They anticipate spaces from 2,000 to 9,000 square feet with as few as two tenants or as many as six or seven. They anticipate software uses, a restaurant, coffee shop, candy store, or other traditional retail users. He noted that parking for the retail is directly behind the retail area. Retail tenants will be required to park elsewhere. He said they have contacted several potential tenants and have received a good response. There is strong interest in this development and they feel they will lease the site before the construction is complete.
Commissioner Gilbert asked about the kind of tenants appropriate for this type of site and how would they select those retailers. Mr. Cella responded that they anticipate the site to be vibrant in the mornings and evenings given the train station and movie theatre. A restaurant should be open at all times. They see the restaurant on the eastern edge as there would be good play off the theater. Mr. Cella said they have contacted some clothing retailers, as well as some local retailers that are smaller tenants looking to expand into vibrant communities. They anticipate rental rates at $18 per square foot to $20 per square foot.
Commissioner Gilbert asked if the engineering, architecture and sales/marketing are from different companies. Mr. Gammonley said they are a full service real estate company. PPKS Properties and MDG Properties have worked closely with Gammonley for a long time.
Commissioner Sisul asked for a list of the tenants with whom they have developed a relationship. Mr. Cella said Fannie May, a plumbing company, Starbucks, restaurant, seafood store, etc., are all tenants of buildings with which he has been involved. He has recently been selected to develop the Hinsdale train station. He stated that suburban downtowns and train stations are his specialty.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether they incorporate the public in the various phases of the development process. Mr. Cella said that typically the market will drive the need. He said that they would like to receive public input through the Village and the EDC .
Commissioner Sisul asked how they would go about handling public hearings and involvement of the public input as to the design of the development or other development characteristics. He said it is often helpful to conduct public hearings with study groups to gain public input and support for the project.
Commissioner Schnell said the Village has done some surveys of its own with regard to what they would like to see downtown. She thinks it would be beneficial for the developer selected to look at that information and meet with the residents to determine what they see as the community needs. Mr. Cella said it would be beneficial to them and they would look forward to that type of input.
Commissioner Gilbert noted the Ruth Carlson study that was done as well.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the ground floor site plan and their logic for the corner of Warren and Highland. Mr. Kennedy said after discussions with the Tivoli owner, they wanted to do something special because of the special architectural feature of the theater. They propose a one-way northbound up to the point of the parking lot entrances to prohibit people from going south beyond that point. They propose a curvature to the street to provide additional space. Commissioner Schnell asked how they propose to keep people from going south, and Mr. Kennedy said they would use signage.
Commissioner Sisul asked how they intend to soften the Rogers Street view to the residential area. Mr. Kennedy said from the grade level the building is set back far enough to incorporate a bermed landscape element from the sidewalk to the building which reduces the overall effective height from the exposed portion of the stone wall up to the cornice element. They have also used the corner bay with recesses and projections for balconies to help soften the façade. Regarding the brick, Mr. Kennedy said they have chosen a deeper red, with a slightly lighter red that is a simulated limestone.
Mr. Rockwell asked that the Council select one group by the next business meeting if possible, and asked that the developers turn over their materials to the Manager so it may be placed on public display.
The Mayor then opened the floor for discussion from the public.
Vincent Barrett , 4921 Highland, asked whether both firms were property managers. Mr. Gammonley said regarding the retail and commercial area, they would prefer to manage it. Regarding the condominiums, traditionally the developer would be the manager until the people move in and assume ownership. At that time there is a homeowner’s association with a professional property management company. When there is 75% occupancy the property is turned over to the association by state law. Mr. Morris said they have the same approach as Mr. Gammonley indicated.
Mr. Barrett asked the Gammonley group about their one-way street concept on Highland Avenue, given the fact that there is considerable two-way traffic during the day. He asked what studies they have done to validate that design outside of their conversation with Mr. Willis. He also said he wasn’t aware that the scope of the project went beyond the boundaries of Highland Avenue to close that street. Mr. Gammonley said they took some liberty in creating the one-way street. They did so to coordinate that property with Mr. Johnson and the Tivoli project to integrate it into the Warren corridor. They were instructed not to do any formal traffic studies, so they relied heavily on Mr. Johnson’s expertise regarding traffic on that street.
The Mayor noted that these are first drawings, and there are certain to be modifications during the process.
Dave Brown , 1508 Gilbert, asked the developers what they saw the finished value of their development to be. Mr. Morris said he anticipated it to be in the $12-$13 million range, which is consistent with some other projections they have seen.
The Mayor said they will be using Phil McKenna to analyze the data from both developers for the Village.
Mr. Gammonley said they expect about the same dollar figure as Mr. Morris quoted. Mr. Morris said in Lincolnshire they worked with Mr. McKenna.
Ken Lerner , 4933 Whiffen Place, asked the Council what the process of selection will be, how they will determine the parameters of design, and what opportunity there will be for the public to provide input.
The Mayor said there will be a number of public processes throughout the development. The Village will have Phil McKenna and Aaron Gruen evaluate the financial offerings of the developers. Staff has asked the Village Council to make their recommendation within a month. There will be revisions made to the plans to fit in with what the Council and public would like to see on that site.
Mr. Lerner asked about a public forum. The Mayor responded that this has been a seven-year process and continues to evolve.
Commissioner Schnell asked that they put the drawings in public places and get the information out to the public. She asked that the public e-mail the Council with their thoughts and suggestions. They need to make a decision as to the developer within the month, and it is important to education and solicit information from the public.
Mr. Lerner said he hoped for a public forum prior to the selection as to the public interest in the development. He would also like some forum devoted to the issues of design and open space for the public to make their wishes known.
Marty Stern , 4709 Oakwood Avenue, said he was a member of Block 117 Task Force. He challenged the Gammonley group to address the parking on the site if they bring in a restaurant. Regarding the Teng Group he said they should not double count the spaces that already exist on the block as satisfying the retail parking for the site. He said that they should take heed of the Rogers Highland corner and bring the height down. For the Teng group he also recommended they look at the roof form. There is a huge mix of architecture in the Village; however, their roof form would be definitely different and maybe not appropriate to the Village. He asked that the materials be made available for the public to review.
The Mayor asked that the developers leave their drawings for public display.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether it is possible to include a brief discussion period at the May 8 Workshop. The Manager said that could be done.
Commissioner Gilbert said that the Council must narrow down the field to one and put the other developer on standby. They will not be making a final decision until there is a developer’s agreement. Village Attorney Blondin said that is the next step. Commissioner Gilbert pointed out that the next step is not necessarily the final design. They have to understand the financial issues and then move ahead to the architectural and engineering design.
Commissioner Schnell said that this is the beginning of the development of the downtown area. The designs are very different. She needs to have more opportunities at the next Workshop meeting for further study and public input.
The Mayor agreed that it would be discussed at the regular workshop on May 8. He said the materials will have to be placed in the Library as well.
Commissioner Gilbert agreed with the idea of the public providing their suggestions to the Council by e-mail. Commissioner Sisul asked that the developers provide brochure materials and highlight the addresses of other projects with which they have been involved.
The Mayor then thanked the participants for their presentations.
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Application. The Manager said this relates to a FEMA grant application to fund a fire project for a new fire network in the amount of $121,607. The grant would fund 90% of this amount, with the Village providing the other 10%.
The Mayor said he was at Congresswoman’s Biggert’s office for a meeting concerning assistance to fire departments. He said he thought there were six different items mentioned for funding assistance. The Mayor said he thinks FEMA will be looking primarily at safety issues, and they believe the radio is a unique area. The grant should emphasize the current problems with radio communications. Fire Chief Russell said that Ms. Brassfield has emphasize the safety factor into the grant.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the Village’s chances for the funding. Chief Russell said that only 250 applications were received. There is a very short period of time to submit the applications, and they are hoping to receive 10,000 applications. The Mayor asked how much is in the fund, and Chief Russell said there is $100 million segmented by units. The grant request is due May 2.
Technology Commission – Information Report. The Manager asked Dr. Wu to make this presentation.
Dr. Liangfu Wu , Director, Information Services, said there are 207 PCs in the Village, and the computer system plays a great role in the Village’s daily operation. He said staff will discuss the Technology Commission report in terms of networking, GIS operation, and Internet web construction.
Indira Sivakumar , project leader for the network conversion process, said that the primary focus has been to get the network infrastructure ready to accept new technology. They interconnected all of the Village facilities. It is a wide area network and standardized.
The Mayor asked whether all firehouses are networked and Ms. Sivakumar said they were.
Dr. Wu added that training classes have been provided in-house to individual groups. In addition, they have provided the technical support in-house. He noted the Village has been on the Internet since late 1995 and the Village relies heavily upon it. He introduced Webmaster Dave Hankes who designed the website. He said there is the Internet site, extranet and infonet sites.
David Hankes , Webmaster, displayed the present web site, which has been up since last February, and was modeled after CNN . It is a web portal. He thanked all the departments for their assistance in maintaining all of the pages on the website. A web portal refers to a website or service that offers a broad array of resources and services. He has brought some of the aspects of a portal into a design the Village can incorporate into its site. He explained how the website is set up and described the page design, using a screen display. Information in the Palm edition includes the METRA train schedule for community stations, upcoming Council meetings, the commuter bus schedule, top stories, etc. They eventually will include a monthly community calendar. Mr. Hankes said the design is based on the feedback he received from Council, staff and others. He described e-services to include e-permitting, e-directory, e-payments, RFPs, etc. The Technology Committee will issue a report to the Council on e-government. Mr. Hankes said the primary goal is to provide accessibility to meet everyone’s needs.
Dr. Wu said the Village’s website audience is everybody in Downers Grove, and not just one segment of the community.
Mr. Hankes said portal design is a centralized location for brief information through use of hyperlinks.
Mr. Hankes then discussed the Intranet on which all employees find and consolidate paperwork of various departments, post items of interest, retrieve Village templates, human interest documents, etc.
Dr. Wu said that the GIS products will be produced on-line.
Steve DiNaso , GIS /GPS Technician, said the GIS system is a means to collect data and produce it into a map form. He explained how the system works. Should there be, for example, a watermain break, the information in the GIS system enables staff to update the information. He gave a further example of the availability in the system of current data on each of the 26,000 trees in the Village, their location, condition, and maintenance record. The system provides a timely solution to maintenance in the field. It provides a new way to access information and applies to all of the Village’s assets.
Dr. Wu then briefly discussed e-government. He sees e-government as a new way to do business through an open process. The Manager’s memo, Council packet, policies, minutes of meetings, etc. are presently on-line. This provides a true 24-hour process which is more effective for the community as a whole.
Relocation Expenses – Aurelio’s Pizza. The Manager said that this concerns consideration of payment to Aurelio’s pizza to relocate from their present Station Crossing site to the Tivoli Theater building. Under the agreement, the Village agreed to pay relocation expenses up to a cap of $50,000. Aurelio’s Pizza has had in excess of $182,000 for relocation expenses which qualifies them for the maximum amount of $50,000.
Pro-Criterium Bike Race Agreement. The Manager said that the Pro Criterium race is scheduled for August 18 and 19. It is the 11th year and is under the sponsorship of Chicago Special Events. The Village expects over 800 competitors and 30,000 spectators for the event.
The Mayor asked about the economic impact figures memo. Ms. Lisa Wisner said that should be included in their packet. She will e-mail the document to the Council members.
Annexation Agreements – DG Estates and Meadowlawn. The Manager said this concerns annexation of the Downers Grove Estates and Meadowlawn areas.
Ken Rathje , Director, Planning Services, said that in 1985 when the Village was involved with the DuPage Water Commission with Lake Michigan water connections, it recognized that there were certain unincorporated territories in the Village that would eventually need to be served with water. The Council at that time decided to make the transition of annexation occur over a period of time. The first area to be considered is Meadowlawn/Downers Grove Estates located south of 63rd Street, east of Saratoga, along Main Street. Watermains were installed in that area and residents were given an opportunity to connect. Petitioners for annexation had a provision for annexation after January 1, 2001. The annexation will take place in two phases. First annexation would be for those properties signed by the current petitioners. Proper notification has been made.
Mr. Rathje then pointed out drawing #1 which represents all lots where some form of annexation agreement has been signed, but where the lots are not contiguous or have had petitions signed by other than the current owner. Mr. Rathje said that once Phase 1 is annexed the Village will have approximately 50 acres of land to annex, and when annexations are completed the Village will act as petitioner for rezoning of the area into three different zoning designations to be considered. Upon annexation the properties will become R-1 single family zoning. There will need to be considerations for B-2 commercial zoning, R-3 for the Meadowlawn area with its larger lots, and R-4 for the Saratoga and Main area. He indicated that staff has sent an informational packet for Phase 1 property owners. A similar packet will be sent to the Phase II property owners. The Village will be required to publish the legal notices for Phase II properties.
Commissioner Schnell asked if there has been an impact study conducted as to what this annexation will mean to public services such as street maintenance, snow plowing, public works services, police and fire services, etc. The Mayor said a map was available for public works at the budget discussions. Commissioner Schnell said she would be interested in an analysis of the economic impact over the next ten years.
Mr. Rathje stated that they need to act on some of these petitions by June of 2001. Phase 1 is time sensitive.
Village Attorney Blondin said the next step is to adopt an Ordinance to annex the property. That can be ready for the May 15 meeting. Following that meeting they will move ahead to Phase II.
Robert Batten , 1128 Oxford, asked about the phases. Mr. Rathje said Phase 1 is for all people who have signed petitions for annexation. Phase II is for people who have signed but are not contiguous, properties which are signed by not by the current owner, and those who have not signed at all. Mr. Batten asked whether this will cause confusion with the public works department. Mr. Rathje said everything will be addressed and sent to VOC .
Mr. Batten said that Oxford Street on the west end has no sanitary sewer. The Mayor said the Village will check that with the Sanitary District as it is a separate government entity. Commissioner Sisul said this is not the Village’s decision. It falls to the Sanitary District. Mr. Batten said they would like to have the sanitary sewer lines installed.
Mary Beth Lukin , 901 Meadowlawn, said she is waiting to hear about a permit for an addition to her house, and asked who has jurisdiction. Attorney Blondin said once the property is in the Village, it would fall under the Village’s building codes. The annexation would go into effect after it is recorded after May 15. Mr. Rathje said if the County issued a permit for the addition, the Village will coordinate with the County. Ms. Lukin added that her property is in Phase 1 annexation, and also is on a septic system.
Commissioner Sisul said it might be necessary for the Sanitary District to meet with these property owners. The Manager said he would pass this information on to the Sanitary District and encourage their cooperation.
P&T Recommendation – 2001 Sidewalk Improvement. The Manager asked Jack Bajor of Public Works to make this presentation.
Jack Bajor , Public Works Director, said that the P&T Commission reviewed the 2001 sidewalk improvement program. The sidewalks span six different areas with a total budget estimate of $580,000.00 and $600,000 budgeted. He pointed out that Downers Drive, Earlston and Lee Streets remain within the matrix; however they have been removed from this year’s activity. Staff would like to do more research on these streets. In response to Commissioner Sisul he said that on Lee Street, there is a lot of topography and consideration for the trees and road width. They are interested in finding alternatives to concrete for this area. He was unaware if studies were done on alternatives prior to his joining the Village.
Dave Conley , Director of Engineering, Public Works, said a quick study was done on the use of an asphalt path versus concrete. He said environmentally it was an issue of what was more compatible with tree roots. They have only looked at asphalt, but have not looked at it for long continuous distances. The Mayor said that in October some residents came before the Council and presented information to the Village Manager that listed six alternatives. Mr. Conley said they only looked at the asphalt. He never received the packet to which the Mayor referred.
Commissioner Sisul said if there was not a question of the type of material for the pathway, what would Lee’s rating be in the matrix. Mr. Conley said it is a priority 4 rating on the existing matrix system. It would not have been on the list for this year. They would have been on the alternate list and would have the same priority as the alternates.
The Mayor said there were some changes in the matrix since last year, and asked whether the points changed. Mr. Conley said the points did not change. It is the same criteria as last year.
The Mayor said last year they deferred Belmont, Hitchcock, Curtiss and Cornell because of the proposed underpass at Belmont. He noted, however, they are doing the streets north of the tracks at Pershing and Woodward. The Manager said he would not recommend Hitchcock all the way to Belmont as he thinks the underpass project is still in design. He said Hitchcock, Curtiss and Cornell are beyond the project area.
Commissioner Schnell questioned Glendenning and Sterling between 39th and Ogden in Area 1. She said the Village owns some floodplain land there. There has been criticism for the design of the sidewalk. She asked if they look at the topography for flooding problems and take that into account for the sidewalks. Mr. Bajor said there will be special consideration given to that, and it will be addressed. He said a topographical inventory was completed. Commissioner Schnell said she does not want the criticism to be raised again.
Commissioner Sisul said he would expect staff to explore alternatives for solving the problems. Mr. Bajor said he has relied heavily on staff’s input and has attended the P&T meetings to get a better understanding of procedures. He said he will follow up on Commissioner Sisul’s concerns.
Commissioner Gilbert asked about the priority ratings as he was not clear why some are scheduled and others are not. He noted some that are scheduled while others with a higher priority are not scheduled. The Mayor said he thought some of those connect existing sidewalks. There was some discussion as to other streets such as Herbert, Osage and Webster. Mr. Conley interjected that these are continuations for school routes. The Mayor asked why they deferred Webster and Clyde Place and Mr. Conley said they were deferred due to negative public reaction. Commissioner Gilbert asked whether public sentiment is now part of P&T’s criteria. Mr. Conley said it is not. It was deferred based upon last year’s discussions. He said they can be added back in. In past years they did defer based upon public sentiment.
Commissioner Sisul said he thought they decided to do this on a strict criteria basis. Mr. Conley said Earlston is a priority 3 and was deferred. Commissioner Gilbert said he understood that Public Works would design the matrix based on criteria and then the Council would decide on the projects to be completed. It concerns him that every year they have the same problem where streets are deferred before they come to the Council. He said he wants to see purity in the process. Things are being deferred before they get to the Council.
Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, said she has been at the P&T meetings of the past few months. She said the March minutes of the P&T meeting will show that they are trying to work with the neighbors to keep some focus. She said the criteria needs to be objective criteria. While resident opinion is valuable and necessary it has to be at the right place at the right time. Ms. Fregeau said that Elmore residents who were opposed to sidewalks have come around. All deferrals should come from the Council. She said that alternatives on Lee were for alternates to sidewalks, not materials. They were interested in other options such as wider shoulders, etc., and not pathways. She noted that IDOT has a list of alternative materials to be used in the State.
The Manager said staff would review the suggestions with regards to Hitchcock, Curtiss, etc.
Ordinance Creating Two (2) Additional Class B-2 Packaged Beer and Wine Liquor Licenses. The Manager asked Attorney Blondin to make this presentation.
Village Attorney Blondin said that the packaged beer and wine liquor licenses are all out at this time. Therefore, they are requesting that the Commission have the ability to issue a license if requests come. The request is to increase the licenses from 8 to 10 licenses.
Commissioner Gilbert said the Liquor Commission did a good job of bringing this up to the Council.
Proposal to Restructure Community Events Commission and Visitors Bureau. The Manager said this came up as the result of discussions between the Manager, Chair of the Community Events Commission and the Chair of the Visitors Bureau. The recommendation was to restructure them by merging them into a Tourism and Events Commission. There would be two subcommittees, one related to tourism and one to events.
Commissioner Gilbert said he has been asked why the Community Events commission doesn’t handle the bike race, and other complex issues regarding Heritage Festival, hotel issues, etc. He said that staff handles many of the details of Heritage Festival, to the point where the Board in some ways inhibits the project. Staff would have to wait before they could move forward on an issue. Concerning the Visitors Bureau, they could be looking at bigger and better things. He believes merging the boards could enhance one another. He believes the two are considerably dovetailed, particularly with duplication in staff roles. He said one advantage for doing this is the need for a single point to review public sentiment. One example is the Brew Fest. The Commission could determine the need for one body to review and make the recommendations regarding all the events. Issues such as closing streets could be reviewed by one central body.
Commissioner Gilbert said the recommendation would be to have 11 members with five on the events side, and five on the hospitality side. It would be chaired by a member whose vote would be only to break ties. The concept would be to allow the Board to elect their own chairperson.
Commissioner Gilbert said that by combining them into the Tourism and Events Commission or vice-versa, it would provide Economic Development with the ability to establish corporate sponsors for various events. He explained that Community Grants was a subdivision of the Community Events Commission. It has been his proposal for some time to separate those two groups. He thinks it is a good thing for them to have a separate identity, and independence.
Commissioner Schnell said that the consultant used originally was firm in their belief that the hotel dollars should be used to support hotel “heads-in-beds” philosophy. The purpose was to support hotels. She is concerned that combining these is losing the integrity of the Visitors Bureau in supporting the hotels. In going through the proposed Ordinance she asked about the tourism component setting a budget, and the Community Events Committee setting a proposed budget. She asked if the proposal is to use the $320,000 to fund just the tourism subcommittee, or is it to be used to support the events. The Manager responded they would continue to support the services they are providing.
Commissioner Schnell said by combining the two she is concerned that something will get lost. She is concerned that the support to the hotel community will get lost. She would like to know how the funds will be divided. She asked if 40% of the tourism budget will go to tourism or to the joint commission. She said there is a joint budget review committee that reviews the budget. There is a reserve fund in the community grants fund which is designed so that a Visitors Bureau member and EDC member have to agree to the use of the reserve fund.
The Mayor said that the Manager, Commissioner Gilbert and Mark Ravenscraft who represents the hotel industry all had input in this proposal. Commissioner Schnell said she has been there since the beginning and just wants to make sure that what is on paper actually works correctly, and that is why she is expressing her questions and concerns.
Commissioner Sisul said he does not understand her objections. He does not understand if these are just technical aspects of how the funds are distributed.
Commissioner Schnell said she wants to assure that the integrity of the Cumings McNulty report is maintained. Hotel representatives were told that they would be supported and would receive 40% of the funds brought in to support the heads-in-beds program. The rest would be for the Community Grants and Heritage Festival. In reading the Ordinance it has raised a budgeting question. She asked whether they are diluting a Visitors Bureau by combining it with the Community Events. There are certain parts of the Ordinance that tell her they are diluting it.
Commissioner Sisul said he is not sure they are talking about substance or semantics. He said if the function will be the same and they will be isolating events that took up an inordinate amount of Visitors Bureau time, perhaps these things could be better handled by others. He asked what part of the structure is problematic.
Commissioner Schnell said that right now there are members of the Board to provide an exchange of information. She has given a series of questions to the Manager. She is not looking for answers this evening.
Commissioner Gilbert said it seems as though the Commissioner is concerned about the budget changing. There is no proposal that would change the mix of the budget. Commissioner Schnell said that is not clear.
Lisa Wisner , Director, Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, said they are changing the structure of the board, not the functions. Staff will perform the same functions.
Commissioner Gilbert said they would be combining the boards for synergy.
Commissioner Schnell said she would like to receive answers to the questions she gave to the Manager, as well as minutes of the last meeting. Currently the Visitors Bureau and the Community Events Commission have Council members represented. She asked whether the Council would be involved in this combined committee.
Commissioner Gilbert said he initiated a proposal to not have a Council member sit as Chair of any Boards and Commissions.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the 11th member. Attorney Blondin said it would be “at large”.
The Mayor said the Chair would be a non-voting member and vote only in case of a tie. He asked if that was correct. Commissioner Gilbert said they might want to change the wording to read 5 and 5 with one at-large. The Mayor said the Board cannot decide a Chair at its first meeting as they won’t know each other.
Commissioner Gilbert said there could be a problem with the initial board, but after that point it would probably not be an issue. They could hold preliminary meetings before the September date. Attorney Blondin clarified there would be eleven voting members.
Commissioner Sisul said he had reservations about the board electing its own chair. There is a high turnover in hospitality. This puts people in the position of running for chairperson. Commissioner Gilbert said he is comfortable with the Council appointing a chairperson.
Martin Tully , 3678 Venard Road, questioned the third part of the Ordinance that creates the Community Grants Commission and the Community Grants Program. He asked whether he understood that the purpose of the Community Grants Program was to solicit funds from outside organizations for the benefit of community events. Commissioner Gilbert said there is a possibility to do that, but up to now it has not been. Technically there is no reason why the subcommittee of Community Grants could not do that. He thinks having it as a separate board provides more flexibility to make those decisions. Instead of being a subcommittee, it would be a stand-alone board.
Mary Ellen Young , 1821 Elmore, said everyone knows she is friends with Commissioner Schnell and shares with Commissioner Schnell a passion for the Visitors Bureau. Commissioner Schnell chaired the original Hotel Tax Advisory Board 8 or 9 years ago. She gave some historical perspective, stating she chaired the Visitors Bureau for about six years. She said a study was made in 1994 and she hates to see them stray from that study. She volunteered to be on the original Hotel Tax Board because she worked in the hotel industry for ten years. She said there is a potential for abusing the hotel tax, as has been done in some communities. The Village always made its commitment to spend the funds on tourism. She said the Village needs to keep a focus on the bed tax. When the Visitors Bureau was established they decided they needed a Joint Review Committee to decide how the budget would be established and how it would be spent. She said there is obviously conflicting interest with how the money is portioned between the EDC , Visitors Bureau and Community Grants.
The Mayor asked if it isn’t ultimately the Council’s decision as to how the money would be spent, and Ms. Young said that was correct. She continued that her concern was that the budget could be eroded. The Cumings McNulty study recommended spending a minimum of 50% on tourism, 25% on economic development and 25% on local events and grants. In 1997 they were down to 43%, and last year to 34%. Slowly the visitor and tourism portion has eroded over the years. Ms. Young agreed there are areas of duplication; however, she asked why the two boards are not being merged evenly. The tourism portion is being cut out. She said if they change the structure they should have two or three members of Community Events join the Visitors Board. She also disagrees with changing the name. She said a board of equal representation will invite problems as well. Ms. Young said she believes tourism should have a higher representation on the Board. The Mayor said he did not see that as a concern. He sits on the DuPage Water Commission and has not found it to be a problem.
Commissioner Gilbert said that ten people represent the concerns of tourism and ten people represent the concerns of community events. He said that when they meet as a whole they will meet on both issues. He said Ms. Wisner is capable of representing tourism.
Ms. Young said that turnover is a big problem in the hotel industry. It is the nature of the industry. Ms. Wisner could choose to leave at any time. Ms. Young said there needs to be something written that the person in the job has tourism as a background and not just events background. She said the Board plays a big role in recommendations to the Council. She does not think the new name represents the work of the board. She is concerned with what could happen down the road.
The Mayor noted that Mark Ravenscraft represented the hotels in this plan to revise the Ordinance. He asked if this was discussed at the Visitors Bureau and Community Events Commission meetings. Commissioner Gilbert said it was, and there were very positive comments.
The Mayor said that five members from the hotel industry have all looked at this proposal. Commissioner Gilbert said this provides a larger board to address the issue of high turnover. They are not talking about changing the budget or the allocation of the budget.
The Village Manager said what is important is the service delivered and the use of the tax for the purpose for which it was established.
Ms. Young stated that the Visitors Bureau has an events component. Hotel taxes should not be supporting local events. She does not want to see local events being represented 50-50 on the Board.
Ms. Wisner said that the Bike Race and the Ice Sculpture event generate overnight stays.
Commissioner Gilbert said that they are changing the structure from more detail-oriented issues to policy setting issues.
Attorney Blondin said the Ordinance allows for ten members of five and five from each subcommittee with one member at-large. He asked if the at large member should be from one or the other of the subcommittees or a member at-large. Commissioner Gilbert said he will talk with Attorney Blondin further on the wording.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Attorney Blondin said there were two items on which the Council should vote this evening: 1) Executive Search services and 2) grant for the firefighters program.
Commissioner Schnell moved to waive the one week waiting period for new business. Commissioner Sisul seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Schnell, Sisul, Gilbert, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried.
Commissioner Schnell moved to authorize a contract for Executive Search services with DMG Management. Commissioner Sisul seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Schnell, Sisul, Gilbert, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried.
The Village Clerk read the Resolution Authorizing Submittal of a Grant Application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING SUBMITTAL OF GRANT APPLICATION TO THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOR ASSISTANCE TO FIREFIGHTERS GRANT PROGRAM
RESOLUTION 2001 -40
Commissioner Schnell moved to approve the Resolution as read. Commissioner Sisul seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Schnell, Sisul, Gilbert, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried.
Commissioner Gilbert pointed out that this would be the last meeting of this Council, with the new Commissioners joining the Council at the next meeting.
Commissioner Schnell moved to convene to Executive Session under Section 2©(2) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to discuss collective negotiation matters and Section 2©(3) to discuss personnel matters. Commissioner Sisul seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Schnell, Sisul, Gilbert, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 12:02 AM.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh/