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A Local Development Journey
 

A Local Development Journey

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A presentation summarizing the evolution and trends of development in the Elmhurst community, with a specific focus on Downtown Elmhurst. Slightly modified versions of this were presented to the ...

A presentation summarizing the evolution and trends of development in the Elmhurst community, with a specific focus on Downtown Elmhurst. Slightly modified versions of this were presented to the communities of Overland, Missouri in November, 2007, and Woodson Terrace, Missouri in March, 2008.

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    A Local Development Journey A Local Development Journey Presentation Transcript

    • Elmhurst, Illinois: A Development Journey November 2007
    • First, a few disclaimers..
      • These are not new ideas! Many communities do downtown redevelopment; ALL communities CAN do things to make BETTER PLACES.
      • Each community has its own set of circumstances and OPPORTUNITIES; this journey is UNIQUE to Elmhurst.
      • MANY people and institutions acting as a TEAM help make it successful.
      • Each place defines SUCCESS differently.
    • Presentation Summary
      • --Downtown background
      • --Downtown slowdown
      • --Downtown turnaround
      • --An all-around Downtown
      • --TOOLS to USE
      • --Perspectives and Reflections
    • Downtown Background - Historical Perspectives
      • Downtown developed around rail line (1 st major stop outside Chicago in DuPage County)
      • Institutions contributed to area growth (Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Hospital);
      • Traditional downtown development from early 20 th century onward (including some higher density residential development);
      • Traditionally, the commercial center of eastern DuPage County;
      • Retail center (including department stores) into the 60’s and 70’s.
    • Historical perspectives (1900, 1937, 1964, 1965)
    • A Downtown Slowdown..
      • Early 1970’s through early 1990’s
      • Malls arrive (Oakbrook and Yorktown); department stores close or relocate;
      • Lease exclusivity at malls (no same store locations within 5-mile radius);
      • Downtown auto dealers move to outlying locations (more land = more inventory)
      • Transition to service uses and a less-intensive retail business environment.
      • Resulting climate? More storefront vacancies and some marginal uses.
    • 1970’s through early 1990’s
    • A Downtown Turnaround begins (1990’s)..
      • BACKGROUND
      • City commits to address Downtown area; Mayor/City Council create Special Commissions for Downtown; DuPage County Planning Dept. provides consultation and assistance.
      • BRIEF TIMELINE
      • 1980’s: Central Business District Plan efforts
      • 1986: Downtown Tax Increment Finance District created
      • 1990-91: York Theatre (upgrades and expansions with City $ help)
      • 1992: Special Service Area (Elmhurst City Centre) begins
      • Contributing Resources:
      • Commuter train line
      • Cultural and institutional facilities (Wilder Park, museums, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Hospital)
      • Chamber of Commerce
    • A Downtown Transformed..
        • Plaza area
        •  1990
        • 1996 
        • Police Stn./
        • Schiller deck &
        • res. units
        •  1982
        • 1993 
    • An All-Around Downtown Emerges (1990’s-2000’s)..
      • FACTORS
      • Public/Private PARTNERSHIPS: use of City property & City purchase and use of properties; Public/Private agreements for redevelopment (TIF $ assistance)
      • Parking decks and zoning change (downtown parking goes public)
      • City Centre Plaza (a SPACE is created)
      • Elmhurst City Centre promotions/marketing/events
      • Chamber of Commerce promotions/events
      • Creative use of dollars:
      • Metra (regional rail agency) $  parking decks
      • TIF $  streetscape, lighting, other improvements
      • TIF $  retail grant program, façade grant program
      • Business community…The INVESTORS!!
    • An All-Around Downtown Emerges (1990’s-2000’s)..
      • MORE FACTORS
      • Commercial property improvement and redevelopment (private sector and public/private);
      • York Theatre upgrades and expansions (from 1 screen to 9 screens);
      • Focus on “entertainment”; restaurants (complement movie theatre), boutique bowling, movies, fun;
      • Commercial space upgrades – focus on independent and boutique retail - Retail Grant Program support;
      • Residential development – over 500 dwelling units added (condos and townhomes) (“retail follows rooftops”);
      • Emergence of a “Cultural Campus” (museums, Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst College), with connection to Central Business District; and
      • School District 205; excellent unified (K-12) local school district  “desirable” community  home ownership/investment  property values.
    • Some Key Downtown Components:
    • Recognition!!
    • A few TOOLS to consider..
      • Employ Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Special Service Areas (SSA’s), Business Improvement Districts (BID’s). Use financing to attract retailers (like Elmhurst’s retail grant and façade programs).
      • Community promotions:  real estate luncheons with guest speakers
      • (1) Commercial broker luncheons:  testimonial speakers: local business people.
      • (2) Residential broker luncheons: invite school superintendents to promote schools.
      • Join ICSC, APA and ULI. Network with real estate brokers, planners, developers.
      • “ Guerilla marketing”: pizza parties, strolling musicians, jazz festivals, battle of the bands, celebrate ANYTHING---even mistakes!! (a “Pardon our Dust” party during/after construction), Taste of Overland, street fests, farmers markets, etc.
      • Celebrate identity!: Conestoga wagon sculptures around community, annual cardboard Conestoga wagon race on Woodson Road.
      • Encourage entertainment uses—restaurants, theatres, bowling alley (or open one yourself)
      • Create great spaces such as downtown plaza (vacant site on sw corner of Woodson & Midland). Entry sign monument, fountain, landscaping, outdoor seating, café, amphitheatre.
      • Create “Overland dollars” gift certificates, dollars for scholars, or other such promotions.
      • Encourage condominium development and public parking through zoning; utilize public/private agreements.
      • Develop shuttle from downtown, employment centers, and Metrolink.
    • Some Perspectives and Reflections:
      • PEOPLE with VISION, CREATIVITY and PASSION; the JOURNEY requires ADVOCATES for the LONG HAUL;
      • Encourage CREATIVITY of both local officials and the private side;
      • Reinforcing existing DRAWS (anchors) or develop NEW ones;
      • Thinking LONG TERM and remembering the BIG PICTURE;
      • Building/maintaining/enhancing local support (OBA and City);.
      • Pursuing a “well-rounded” approach; using ALL possible programs and LEVERAGING with non-financial incentives;
      • Addressing activists with FACTS and EDUCATION;
      • Use technical assistance – regional planning groups, area government agencies, universities, community colleges, tech. centers, workforce bureaus, etc.;
      • Downtowns do not function on foot traffic alone—need other reasons to go there (very FEW downtowns survive on foot traffic alone—only ones in USA? New York and Chicago); 
      • Continue to use recommendations from the Comprehensive Plan.
      • YOU CAN DO IT!
    • If You Dream It, You Can DO It!!
    • THANK YOU!
      • John D. Said, AICP, Director
      • Department of Planning, Zoning and Economic Development
      • City of Elmhurst
      • 209 N. York Street
      • Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
      • 630.530.6016; [email_address]
      • Visit www.elmhurst.org for retail and façade grant programs info., Downtown Plan, etc. Also visit: www.elmhurstcitycentre.com and www.elmhurstchamber.org for more information.