The six-point action plan has some easy things that can be done to make Lake Zurich’s downtown a more marketable, vibrant area.
There are other things, like developing a façade improvement program, may take longer. The fact Lake Zurich has developed an action plan is notable since it's something the village has never had.
“Our goal has been to build momentum and continue to keep momentum going to create a vibrant downtown environment,” Village Manager Jason Slowinski said.
Slowinski outlined the Moving Lake Zurich Forward action plan to the Board of Trustees and residents Monday. The plan pulls together cost effective strategies to meet that goal of building on the momentum, he said.
Demolish detiorating village owned buildings
- Replace maintain grass
- Aggressively enforce property maintenance standards
- Develop façade improvement program
- Implement minor streetscape/landscape
Explore public funding/grants for streetscape improvements
Developing a façade improvement program may take some time since it would require the village to add it to its budget. Lake Zurich partnered with Mainstreet Art Centre by contributing a small dollar amount to help the owner made improvements, Slowinski said. “We now have a more functional, better looking building on Main Street,” he said.
“If we don’t have a program like that, we are missing on an opportunity to have property owners fix their property,” he said.
Develop and promote special events in downtown Lake Zurich
- Support and expand Rock the Block.
Assist in promotion of Alpine Fest
- Continue to support weekly classic car show during summer months
- Consider new special events opportunities.
Rock the Block drew thousands of people downtown last month while the Lake Zurich’s Main Street Cruise Night, sponsored by Fuzzy Dice Productions, drew crowds all summer long. Lake Zurich needs to support the events and create new ones to bring people downtown, Slowinski said, adding he doesn’t think there’s limit of what types of events can be organized.
Engage in a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote investment.
- Place attractive signs on available lots
- Develop inventory of available properties and make it easily accessible
- Retain commercial real estate broker to market property
- Develop a downtown Lake Zurich brand
- Create user-friendly webpage devoted to downtown redevelopment
Downtown Lake Zurich needs a brand because at this point “what we have is the tired Alpine village. I think we’ve outgrown that, a lot of our development has gotten away from that. Yet the downtown seems to hang on to it. We need a new theme….so that Lake Zurich is something more than a tired Alpine village.”
Slowinski wants to put downtown Lake Zurich on the map.
“There are people in this area, Chicagoland, who don’t know where Lake Zurich is. I think there are people in Lake Zurich who don’t know where downtown is,” he said.
Focus onsite specific redevelopment prospects
- RFQ/RFP process for Block A
- Identify opportunities and negotiate for other key downtown sites
- Support completion of Summerset townhome project
- Support private developer of Bank of America building
Strengthen the long-term fiscal outlook of the downtown TIF district.
- Pursing extension of the overall life of the TIF district
- Continue to assess TIF budget and identify opportunities for expenditure reduction
Pay attention to the intangibles
- Celebrate our success
- Manage expectations of those interested stakeholders in the community
- Reinforce and leverage existing partnerships
“We’ve done a lot of things well,” Slowinski said, adding those things should be celebrated.
Slowinski is planning to bring back the action plan at a November meeting.
The Board of Trustees had a few comments, asking for a timetable on some of the points and asked Slowinski to flag those that will require funding.
“Thank you for pulling this together. It is very concise, it gives us a good foundation to work from,” Trustee Jeffrey Halen said.
Village President Tom Poynton said he doesn’t know if Lake Zurich has ever had a fundament action plan of any sort. He thanked village staff for developing the plan.
“I look forward to moving forward,” Poynton said.