On Monday, August 29, the public got a sneak preview of Winnetka's new Downtown Master Plan. Following the Preview Party, the Steering Committee conducted its final review of the Plan. The Plan was formally kicked off last October, and took less than a year to complete, thanks to the hard work of Teska Associates and Village Staff and the stewardship of the Steering Committee and community stakeholder groups.
At the September 13 Regular Council meeting, DMP Steering Committee Chair Meg Benson gave an overview of the development process. She noted that things moved at a very good pace and resulted in a plan that the Steering Committee unanimously approved. Community engagement and the Working Groups provided valuable information from all corners of the Village, and the DMP envisions everyone in the Village working together – retailers, building owners, businesses, the Village and residents.
Teska Project Principal Michael Blue acknowledged that the one-year timeline for developing a DMP was very aggressive, and meeting the deadline is an extraordinary feat. He commended the Steering Committee and Chair Benson, Teska Planner Erin Cigliano, and Village staff for their focus and hard work. He reviewed the process, which included extensive public and stakeholder outreach, development of vision statements, development of a market assessment, an urban design study, a review of land use and zoning principles, and a study of parking requirements and challenges. A key learning from the public engagement process is that Winnetka needs to attract visitors from outside its boundaries in order for its downtowns to thrive.
It is anticipated the Village Council will formally adopt the Downtown Master Plan in October as a component of the Comprehensive Plan. Discussions will be held in the upcoming budget sessions for Fiscal Year 2017 to determine which recommendations can be programmed for implementation next year and beyond.
To see the draft Master Plan click here.
Interested community members enjoyed a preview of the finished Downtown Master Plan,