Public Participation

The development of this plan began in 2003 when the Village hired S B. Friedman and Company, The Lakota Group, and Metro Transportation Group to develop Downtown 2020, an analysis of existing physical and transportation conditions, a commercial and residential market analysis, and a concept plan for Downtown with highlights of key elements and land use policies addressing strategies needed to carry out projects described in the plan.

Interviews


The consulting team conducted individual staff and stakeholder interviews with key Village staff and community leaders and conducted focus group meetings in December 2003 with 29 community members and leaders, which included Village trustees, Plan Commission members, business owners, and civic leaders, who participated in an open discussion about strengths and weaknesses of Downtown and potential project ideas.


Workshop


Combining this information with other demographic, economic, market, and land use data, a community workshop was conducted in May 2004. The consultants worked with participants to get feedback on different redevelopment scenarios. Focus group members received specific invitations to attend and a press release, formal legal notice, and signs posted in Downtown storefronts invited all members of the community to the event. Over 70 people participated in the community workshop.


Presentation


Downtown 2020, which included an analysis of existing conditions, a market analysis and development program, priority projects and actions, and land use policies and regulatory issues, was presented to the Plan Commission in December 2004. The Plan Commission considered that plan and agreed in principle with many of concepts presented. Ultimately, the Plan Commission decided further study was needed to make the plan more flexible, and in some areas, more general.

Committee on Downtown Development (CODD)


The Committee on Downtown Development (CODD) was created by the Mayor, consisting of three Plan Commissioners and three Village Trustees. The committee held seven public meetings in summer and fall 2005 on the plan for Sector A. Included in this process was the Independent Merchants of Downtown Skokie (IMODS), which presented a comprehensive report and recommendations to CODD in fall 2005. Many ideas and comments from IMODS were incorporated into the committee's formal comprehensive report, which was presented to the Village Board in December 2005 and allowed for public discussion following the presentation. The Board directed the Village Manager to present an Action Plan within three months based upon the committee's listed recommendations.

Significant Recommendation


The most significant land use recommendation of CODD is that "the Village should envision development of a downtown area that deviates from the traditional view of Oakton and Lincoln where one-story storefront businesses have been the dominant land use ... [and] that the Village should take advantage of the Forest City technology park and the new CTA transit station to encourage more mixed-use developments.

Technology Park (IS+TP)


"Concurrently with the public meetings conducted by CODD, the master plan for the Illinois Science+ Technology Park (IS+TP) was being developed during 2005 and 2006, reviewed by the Plan Commission, and ultimately approved by the Village Board in January 2007. The IS+TP plan establishes an employment center that was to be integrated into the fabric of Downtown, makes substantial traffic, stormwater control, and streetscaping improvements, and provides a significant amount of open space available for public use.

Downtown Task Force (DTF)


The Village Manager created the Downtown Task Force (DTF) in January 2006 to provide an action plan to implement the various recommendations of CODD's report to the Village Board, and in 2006, delivered that Action Plan to the Village Board. Included were recommendations about:
  • Aesthetics
  • Funding
  • Incentive Programs
  • Land Use and Scale of Buildings
  • Marketing
  • Methods for Continuing Communications Between Groups
  • Parking
  • Redevelopment Objectives
  • a Wi-Fi District

Site Selection


The DTF then worked to implement a major redevelopment project Downtown. After evaluation of nine potential redevelopment sites, the block at the northwest corner of Oakton Street and Lincoln Avenue was selected, requests for qualifications were issued, responses were reviewed. In May 2007 a developer was selected by the Village Board.

Adoption


The focus of the DTF shifted to combining the work of Downtown 2020, CODD, IMODS, and IS+TP into this plan. This 2020 Plan for Sector A: Downtown was available for 30 days of public comment and review in July 2007, the subject of public hearings before the Plan Commission and Village Board in August and September, and finally adopted on October 1, 2007.