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Total Community Development (TCD3)

Total Community Development (TCD3) is a process being used this year by the Village to identify and review aspects of community life important to all Downers Grove residents and business citizens, resulting in recommendations to guide long-range community planning over the next 10-20 years. The process has been ongoing since March and has consisted of several types of meetings to solicit community input including neighborhood meetings, sessions with school groups, community groups, businesses, and local governing bodies.

The results of these meetings can be found on the TCD3 Meeting Summaries page.

TCD3 Citizen Summit

The TCD3 Citizen Summit was held on July 29,2009 to offer community members a final opporunity to get in on the discussion that will help shape the future of Downers Grove. Click on 07/29/09 TCD3 Citizen Summit on the Podcast page for an audio recording of the meeting.

The TCD3 Citizen Summit Presentation summarizes the results of previous meetings and the online component of TCD3 . Questions and issues raised at previous meetings that were discussed at the TCD3 Citizen Summit include:

Will TCD3 result in better infrastructure in Downers Grove?

Participants in the TCD3 process have expressed the need to better maintain the Village’s major infrastructure systems, primarily related to streets and stormwater management, but also including the broader network that includes sidewalks and bikeways.

Stormwater Management: The Village has undertaken a substantial stormwater management improvement program, but it will take many years to make significant progress in some areas affected by flooding. In some cases, planned projects will improve drainage conditions in public streets and open spaces, but not necessarily in nearby backyards. Questions for discussion: How should the Village go about communicating with residents to let them know how this work will affect them and what their options are? Should alternative stormwater management practices (such as rain barrels and rain gardens) be more aggressively promoted to encourage residents to assist in solving these problems?

Streets: Limited funding for street maintenance along with severe freeze and thaw cycles experienced in recent years has accelerated the rate of street deterioration. Rapidly increasing construction costs over a period of several years has significantly increased the costs of street maintenance. Many residents are reconsidering how they get from place to place because of cutbacks in their personal spending and concerns about the environment. Questions for discussion: How will these trends affect us in the future? How can Downers Grove effectively fund these needed and costly repairs? How do bikeways and public transit alternatives fit in?

Sidewalks: With safety in mind, it has been a long-standing Village policy to construct sidewalk on at least on side of every through street. In recent years, some residents have questioned the need for new sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Questions for discussion: How does the Village reconcile the application of this policy, intended to benefit the community, with the concerns of local residents as well as funding shortfalls? Should the Village reconsider a policy that calls for the extension of new infrastructure, when it’s facing funding challenges in maintaining its existing infrastructure?

Will TCD3 lead to a business-friendly Downers Grove?

Economic Development was a hot topic in the TCD 3 meetings. Participants identified the need to fill commercial vacancies and attract a better mix of retail, beautify the Village’s commercial areas and provide opportunities to develop a more skilled workforce.

Attract Business Many participants commented on the need to improve the Village’s business atmosphere. While the Village already uses tax increment financing (TIF) and sales tax rebates as incentives, they only work for developments that include a retail component. There are other, more aggressive, economic development tools that the Village has traditionally not used. Questions for discussion: What tools are acceptable to use for more aggressive economic development approaches? Should the Village purchase land or use eminent domain to acquire key parcels? Is purchasing residential parcels for additional depth in commercial corridors acceptable?

Improve the Retail Mix Concerns regarding the mix and diversity of retail establishments were consistent among participants. Questions for discussion: What types of retail establishments should the Village target? What area(s) should be the preferred location for new retail developments? Other than a grocery store, what other retailers are desirable for Downtown? Would a national retail store damage the character of the Downtown? Would one or two national retail stores encourage you to visit Downtown more?

Beautify Commercial Areas Most of the Village’s major retail corridors were developed in the 1970’s and 1980’s. These areas are the gateways to our community. Qustions for discussion: How can the Village beautify its retail corridors (Ogden Avenue, Butterfield Road, 63rd Street & 75th Street)? Should design guidelines be mandated in the zoning ordinance? Is more public investment needed for the streets, parkways, sidewalks, etc. or should beautification efforts be more focused on private investments (i.e. buildings, signs, parking lots, etc.)?

Skilled Workforce The Village is home to many high-tech manufacturing and research and development firms. These businesses need high-skilled workers. Qustion for discussion: Should the Village, School District 99 and the Economic Development Corporation partner to develop a vocational training program with local businesses?

Will TCD3 result in a greener Downers Grove?

Participants in previous meetings have expressed the need to protect trees, expand recycling, improve energy conservation and raise public awareness of these and other environmental issues. Where should our attention be focused in the future?

Tree Preservation: Many residents have pointed out the need to better preserve trees in the Village, including students who strongly believe that more trees should be planted. Questions for discussion: Should the Village regulate trees on private property?

Recycling: Almost half of what goes into curbside recyling bins is not recyclable. Questions for discussion: What can be done to better promote recycling and the items accepted by the Village’s recycling program? How can we improve the public’s knowledge of recycling and reduce landfill waste? Have you previously taken part or plan to take part in the Recycling Extravaganza?

Energy Conservation: Did you know that 60% of the vehicles in the Village’s fleet use alternative fuels? Questions for discussion: What else should the Village do to save energy? What can residents do to conserve energy? Is it better to spend money up front to save energy later? Should all Village buildings be “green” at any cost? Should there be “green” regulations for new residences and commercial buildings?

Other Environmental Issues: Some people believe that storm sewers carry stormwater directly to the sewage treatment plant. In fact, stormwater run-off drains directly to local sources in the Village such as Lacey Creek and St. Joseph’s Creek. Questions for discussion: What can the community do to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in storm sewers? What would encourage residents to use rain barrels, rain gardens and other methods for reducing the flow of rainwater over their properties?

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