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Clarendon Hills hosts second workshop for downtown master plan

Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:21 p.m. CDT

CLARENDON HILLS – More than 50 Clarendon Hills residents shared their visions for what their community should look like in the future during a recent community workshop.

It was the second meeting for Clarendon Hills residents and officials to discuss what the future of their downtown will include. Some of the designs call for improvements to the downtown area served by the commuter train, and better ways to attract and retain business, increase tax revenue and enhance the character of Clarendon Hills.

"This is a long-term plan, not something that happens overnight," said Dan Ungerleider, director of community development, who led the April 24 workshop. "We need everybody's input."

To start the workshop, Ungerleider had residents vote "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"-style using touch key pads to answer a series of questions about what was most important to them when designing the downtown.

Some of the most popular answers included making sure the new downtown was inviting, business-friendly and kept a careful balance of modernization, but with a small-town feel.

Residents then got together in groups to write down words describing the future of downtown Clarendon Hills and presented them to the crowd. Words such as "accessible," "traditional" and "modern" were the some of the most popular.

Resident Jason Lewis said he would like the town to be more photogenic and have displays that attract people there, much like that of Chicago, where he used to live.

"I envisioned Prospect Avenue to be the Michigan Avenue of the suburbs," Lewis said. "The downtown should be the epicenter of the community."

The information Ungerleider obtained during that meeting will now go to a series of committees for review before putting together a final downtown plan. A recommendation will be brought to the Village Board for approval.

Village Manager Randy Recklaus said it will be the responsibility of these committees, as well as residents, to put the ideas expressed during the workshops into finer details.

"If you want an impact on this downtown, this is the time to speak up," Recklaus said to the crowd. "The less people involved, the less meaningful this project is going to be. Stand up and be a part of this process."

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