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Village of Island Lake Commercial Areas Strategic Plan

Visioning Workshop Summary


June 15, 2010

On Tuesday, June 15, 2010, a Visioning Workshop was held with the public at the Island Lake Senior
Center in Village Hall. The purpose of the workshop was to work with elected and appointed officials,
Village staff, business owners, property owners, and residents to establish a strategic vision, goals, and
objectives for the Village’s commercial areas. Approximately 20 people attended the workshop to
provide feedback on a range of issues and concerns as they pertain to these areas. This workshop was
the first outreach activity geared toward the creation of a Commercial Areas Strategic Plan.

Workshop Events
Workshop Questionnaire

The workshop began with a four-question workshop that focused on issues and concerns in the
Village’s commercial areas, as well as key future projects. The following is a summary of the thoughts,
comments and opinions recorded on the questionnaires and voiced verbally during workshop
dialogue.

1. Identify five (5) issues or concerns confronting the Village of Island Lake’s commercial
areas.

Although a cumulative list of over 40 unique issues and concerns was generated by attendees, the
following are the broad areas of concern expressed during the meeting:

Economic Development & Lack of Retail Options. Many workshop participants identified a
concern for the economic health of the Village and its commercial areas. Attendees
acknowledged a need for new commercial development as well as filling existing vacancies and
improving the appearance of existing businesses. There were specific concerns over the lack of
big box retail, restaurants, entertainment uses and a destination shopping center. Many
participants desired more retail uses and big boxes to generate additional sales tax in the Village.

Additionally, attendees expressed a concern over non-tax-generating uses being located along
major transportation/commercial corridors. Workshop participants felt that parks and open
space, and residential areas should be reserved for other locations in the Village, and commercial
uses should be located along major transportation/commercial corridors.
Many also identified a need for development incentives or the potential creation of a TIF District
along Route 176 to entice developers to the area. Attendees ranked identifying a strategy to
attract new commercial users/development, and making information regarding development
easily accessible to developers and business owners, as priorities for the Village.
Transportation & Circulation. Several issues and concerns voiced at the workshop dealt with
traffic flow and pedestrian activity (or lack thereof). Overall, community members cited issues
with high traffic speeds, uncoordinated curb cuts and discontinuous sidewalks.
Recommendations for improvement included the construction of new sidewalks and
infrastructure upgrades.

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Village Identity. Several attendees were concerned about the lack of identity for the Village,
particularly the lack of any true Downtown commercial district. Others stated the need to
improve the overall appearance of the Village, particularly along the Village’s commercial
corridors.

Community Apathy. Several items mentioned as concerns by workshop participants related to


general apathy amongst Village residents. Attendees felt a need to rally support for
improvements to commercial areas amongst residents, and that a stewardship to the plan must
be fostered throughout the Strategic Plan planning process.
Update Zoning Codes and Development Regulations. A specific area of concern identified by
attendees was the current state of the Village’s Zoning and Development codes and regulations.
Participants believed that these codes, as well as the overall development review process, need
to be updated to accommodate modern development practices and efficiency.
2. List, in order of importance, the three (3) most important issues discussed thus far.

While a diverse list of issues and concerns was generated in response to question one, a general
consensus indicated three specific items were considered most important:

Lack of Village Identity. Workshop participants cited the lack of a Village identity as a key
concern within commercial areas. They noted that there is no gateway that defines Island Lake
to motorists traveling down IL 176, and that, combined with high travel speeds, causes potential
consumers to pass through the Village. Participants felt that an overall beatification or
streetscape enhancement program should be pursued to make Island Lake and its commercial
areas more attractive and desirable.

Taking Advantage of Water Features/Natural Geography. An abundance of natural water


features and lakes are one of the characteristics that make Island Lake so unique; however,
waterfront property and views are not being utilized to their full potential. Workshop participants
noted that existing development patterns virtually block views of the lakes and make them
inaccessible to the public. New development/redevelopment should capitalize on the Village’s
water features.

Traffic Circulation Improvements. Discontinuous sidewalks, uncoordinated curb cuts and high
traffic speeds currently characterize the Route 176 corridor. Workshop participants believed that
traffic circulation improvements would be an important component in the future of the Village’s
commercial areas.

3. List three (3) new private-sector projects or developments you would like to see
undertaken within Island Lake.

When asked to indicate specific projects or actions they would like to see undertaken within the
Village, workshop participants reiterated issues and potentials from the previous questions including:
the creation of a destination shopping center; family restaurants; a retail/entertainment district around
the Island Lake waterfront; enhanced pedestrian and vehicular circulation; and, the addition of a
theater and large employer to the community.

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In general, a consensus was reached identifying a need to generate additional tax revenue in the
Village. Participants believed this could be achieved by developing the waterfront with commercial
uses including restaurants, entertainment and retail, and attracting a “big box” employer to anchor
commercial development along Route 176. It was also mentioned that better circulation will be
necessary for improved safety and traffic flow that encourages passersby to stop and patronize Island
Lake establishments.

4. List three (3) new public projects or improvements you would like to see undertaken
within Island Lake.

A general consensus was reached amongst workshop participants regarding the top three new public
projects or improvements they would like to see undertaken within Island Lake. Leading these
improvements were streetscape enhancements and beautification, increasing visibility and use of
Island Lake, improving/installing sidewalk connections, constructing a new Village Hall/Police Station
facility, and general infrastructure improvements. Each of the items identified would help make Island
Lake a more desirable location for developers/businesses to locate in the future.

Interactive Visioning Session

The group was separated into four (4) smaller working groups. Each group worked together to
develop “visions” for the future of the Village’s commercial areas. Attendees were encouraged to
discuss any issue desired, and to illustrate their ideas on a large commercial areas base map that was
provided.
In addition to the map, each group nominated an official “note-taker” who wrote down the groups
ideas. At the conclusion of the workshop, a spokesperson from each group briefly presented key
ideas and concepts that their group created.
The following is a summary of the thoughts, comments, and opinions recorded by each of the four
groups.

Group 1
Group 1’s discussion appeared to focus predominantly on exploiting water features in the Village and
capitalizing on their potential to create unique, waterfront commercial developments. The group
envisioned removing single family homes along Route 176 and the Island Lake waterfront to attract
new commercial development, as well as taking control of/annexing Lake Griswold and other lakes on
the Village’s periphery. The group also believed it would be desirable to annex Golden Oaks before
the Village of Wauconda does.
In addition, Group 1 recommended relocating the Village Hall/Police Department/Public Works
facility to Converse Road or behind the existing Walgreens, as well as improving Roberts Road so that
the intersection functions better.

Group 2
Group 2 envisioned commercial development to be concentrated at the intersection of Route 176
and Darrell Road and at the intersection of Route 176 and Roberts Road. The group identified
commercial development in these areas as priorities, and commercial development near Island Lake
as a long term goal.
Group 2 recommended converting existing residential uses on the north side of Route 176 to
commercial uses and making development on the south side of Route 176 more uniform in
appearance. They emphasized installing sidewalks on the south side of Route 176 from River Road to

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Darrell Road, with pedestrian connections to Veterans Park and Congress Park. Sidewalks were
desired on Greenleaf Avenue as well.

Group 3
Group 3 divided commercial areas along Route 176 into two categories: older and newer. Rather
than identify specifics projects/actions to occur, the group proposed development strategies. Parks
were recommended to locate off of major commercial corridors, and new commercial development
was recommended to occur in areas where adequate infrastructure already exists to “get more bang
for the buck.” The group recommended using the transfer of property rights as a tool to attract
commercial development to Route 176 and encourage non-tax-generating uses to locate elsewhere.
Group 3 identified the “Shiner” project moving forward as a priority for the Village and believes that
new commercial development will follow.

Group 4
Group 4 identified specific redevelopment/development projects to take place along the Route 176
corridor, including: infill development between Beech Street and Rogers Road; relocating Island
Foods and constructing an attractive development with a waterpark in its place; moving the Shiner
development project forward; and, relocating the Village Hall. The group also recommended a left
turn lane be installed on Roberts Road.

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