As an independent citizens’ group that exists solely to support the downtown business district, we have watched with great interest as the board has examined the various proposals for change downtown. Our members have participated in each step of the process and will continue to engage with the board and consultants as the process evolves.
A downtown is more than a collection of buildings. Downtowns are where the community can gather to share common interests and celebrations. Downtowns reflect the character and ambitions of the community. A great downtown supports the Village with successful businesses and amenities for residents. Glenview already offers diverse neighborhoods – and a more activated, vibrant downtown completes the picture.
The Glenview Connect process has been intensive and covered a wide range of considerations from desired density and building heights to community costs and financial participation. Friends of Downtown Glenview endorses a balanced approach that provides sufficient incentives to create change at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer. As an organization, our main focus is support for the downtown businesses and events for the community.
To these ends, we would like to emphasize the following elements for the final Report:
- We endorse the concept that the Downtown must be treated as a single entity. The district has its own unique challenges and opportunities. Past efforts have focused on regulation and zoning in the hope that market forces would be enough. A focused, proactive approach is needed to spark change.
- To facilitate a more coordinated approach, we encourage the Village to create a position of Development and Marketing Advisor within the Village government to coordinate marketing efforts, fast track event approvals, and conduct outreach for business development.
- As suggested in the Development Blueprint, the Village should enter into a formal association with a not for profit partner to support marketing and events for the Downtown. The not for profit could be an existing entity such as Friends of Downtown Glenview or the Chamber of Commerce. Alternatively, the Village could create a department within Village government with the same purposes — or a “MainStreet” approach (used by other successful downtowns).
- In addition to the larger scope actions being considered, we ask the Village to implement simple immediately actionable ideas such as facade improvement programs and design grants.
We are greatly encouraged by the Glenview Connect process. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide input in a meaningful way and look forward to your conclusions.