Park Forest, IL--(ENEWSPF)-- Village board members began a discussion at the Tuesday, January 2 board meeting, on a proposed contract for a Strategic Planning Study. Director of Planning and Economic Development Hildy Kingma reported to the board in a memo dated December 20, "The Plan Commission has been working for a couple of years to develop a scope of work and identify a planning consultant to conduct a planning study for the community. The initial effort,which included a request for proposals issued in November 2004, resulted in proposals that exceeded the funds budgeted for the project. Therefore, in early 2005 the Plan Commission began the process of revising the scope of work for the study and applied for a grant from the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity. A $40,000 grant was awarded from ILDCEO (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) to supplement the Village funds already allocated to the project."
Kingma indicated that the intent of the study was to ensure "that the Village is taking the best economic advantage of the land resources that we have, and is positioned to participate inthe growth that is occurring throughout the Chicago Southland." The final scope of the work includes the following key study areas:
- Downtown Gateway – including the 3.5 acres currently for sale and property along Western Avenue that is currently part of the Thorncreek Apartments
- Western Avenue Annexation Area – to develop a strategy for annexation of the area tothe south of the Village’s current limits
- Park Forest Business Park
- The Eastgate Neighborhood
- Sauk Trail – west gateway into the Village of Park Forest
- Sauk Trail – east gateway into the Village of Park Forest
- Sauk Trail – in the vicinity of Rich East High School
- Norwood Square Shopping Center
- Residential Infill and Redevelopment
She also noted that there would be several means by which public input would be sought throughout the planing process. "The consultant will work closely with a Steering Committee to review documents and provide detailed feedback on conceptual plans and implementation strategies.The Steering Committee is proposed to be made up of the Plan Commission, key staff members,and other community representatives. In addition, the consultant and Steering Committee will conduct two Community Workshops designed to obtain public input on the preparation of preliminary development scenarios and on the more refined development scenarios and implementation plans. Finally, the Plan Commission will conduct a formal public hearing on the complete draft Strategic Plan prior to making a recommendation and forwarding the Plan to the Board of Trustees."