Village Board to Considering Cal City Gaming Support, Strategic Plan

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(Photo: Wendy Heise)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Village Board will be very busy Monday evening, beginning with an executive session at 6:30, followed by a Rules Meeting at 8:00 p.m.

The agenda for the Rules Meeting includes a draft ordinance has been developed that would amend the Village’s Real Estate Transfer Tax Ordinance to include the transfer of shares in the local Cooperative Housing Community, a resolution supporting the granting of a gaming license to operate a gaming facility in Calumet City, a resolution approving a Public Works Emergency Mutual Aid Intergovernmental Service Agreement, discussion regarding the Thorn Creek Bridge replacement, and consideration of a resolution authorizing the approval of a lease agreement between the Village of Park Forest and Enterprise Leasing Company of Chicago.

The board will also discuss the Strategic Plan for Land Use and Economic Development.

Gaming License

The City of Calumet City called on the Village of Park Forest for support of its gaming license application as it seeks an available license through the Illinois Gaming Board. Village Staff attended an informational session related to Calumet City’s permit application on October 23. What was learned is that the region could gain as many as 1,600 – 2,800 jobs from this initiative. It was also learned that Calumet City’s application includes a revenue sharing agreement that would spread gaming proceeds across 26 southland communities and their respective school districts.

Conservative estimates project that Park Forest could receive in excess of $250,000 per year as part of the revenue sharing initiative.

According to a memo prepared for the Board by Village Manager Tom Mick, a letter of support was crafted by Mayor Ostenburg in October and forwarded to the Administrator and Chief Legal Counsel of the Illinois Gaming Board articulating the Village’s support and noting that a resolution of support from the full Board would be forthcoming.

The board will consider a resolution which expresses the support of the full Village Board.

Tthis support is non-exclusive and the Village can support other gaming applications (Rosemont, Country Club Hills, etc.). It is understood that the gaming license currently available is such based on it being relinquished by the City of Galena. Additionally, it is believed that the Illinois Gaming Board has as many as 7 applications before it seeking this vacated license.

It is anticipated that the Gaming Board will award the license in late-December or early-2009.

Strategic Plan for Land Use and Economic Development

The Plan Commission has completed a draft of the Strategic Plan for Land Use and Economic Development. According to Director of Economic Development and Planning, this Plan creates a future vision for seven areas within the Village, as well as goals, policies and implementation strategies for these areas and the overall future development of the Village. While the Plan Commission has discussed the need for a comprehensive plan for a number of years, this Plan focuses only on the land use and economic development elements of a comprehensive plan.

The Board of Trustees approved funding for this planning process in the FY04/05 and FY05/06 budgets. In December 2005, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity approved a $40,000 grant to assist with the planning process. The Plan Commission distributed a request for proposals in August 2006 and selected the consulting firms of HNTB Corporation and Economics Research Associates to undertake the Plan in conjunction with the Commission and the Economic Development Advisory Group (together they comprised the Steering Committee). The planning process was formally initiated in January 2007 with the Board’s approval of a contract with the consultants.

The planning process included a number of opportunities for public input. The Steering Committee met on five different occasions. The consultants interviewed 15 different “key persons” who live in Park Forest, own a business or property in the community, or are experts on commercial and/or industrial development in the south suburbs. There were two community workshops at which 35 to 40 Park Forest residents were in attendance to learn more about the Plan. The first workshop was held in June 2007 and was intended to get community feedback on the draft Inventory and Existing Conditions Report. The second workshop was held in July 2008 for the purpose of presenting the draft concept plans, policies, goals and implementation strategies to the community. Finally, the Plan Commission held a formal public hearing on October 7, which was attended by more than 40 residents.

The Strategic Plan for Land Use and Economic Development is intended to be used in conjunction with the Village’s DownTown Master Plan (adopted in 1997 and updated in 2002) and the 211th Street Metra Station Transit Oriented Development Plan (adopted in January 2008). Together these three plans constitute the Village’s comprehensive vision for land use and economic development. The Strategic Plan should be used as an ongoing planning tool for Village officials and staff to articulate a common vision for future development and redevelopment of key areas within the community. It provides a framework within which private sector proposals for the development of land can be evaluated. It establishes expectations for the quality of development, and priorities for Village action. The Strategic Plan does not propose specific development plans for individual parcels of property, nor does it create development entitlements for specific properties. The time frame for the full implementation of the Plan is envisioned to be a 10 to 15 year period, and the Plan should be periodically revisited and updated during that time.

The Plan Commission’s recommendations for implementation priorities are contained within the final chapter of the Strategic Plan. They include the following:

First Priority:

  • 211th Street Metra Station Transit Oriented Development

Second Priority

  • DownTown Park Forest (including Gateway site)
  • South Western Avenue Annexation Area
  • Eastgate Neighborhood

Third Priority

  • Residential Infill and Redevelopment

Fourth Priority

  • Norwood Square Shopping Center
  • Park Forest Business Park
  • Sauk Trail Corridor (including East and West Gateways)

During the upcoming discussion and consideration of the Strategic Plan for Land Use and Economic Development, the Board is asked to specifically consider the priorities for action and provide feedback to the Plan Commission and staff if modifications to the priorities are needed. Assuming that major changes to the Plan are not needed, the Board will consider the Plan again at the Rules and Regular meetings on November 24. At that time, it will be the goal of the Commission and Staff to present the Plan in final form to the Board of Trustees.

Source: VOPF