About three years ago, the wooden welcome signs on Lakemoor's entries were becoming tattered. Rather than commission new signs, the old ones were shored up and painted, with the thought the message could someday change.
That time has come as the village is looking for fresh ideas as it proceeds on several fronts in revamping its image from a backwater whose officials met in an old garage to a go-getter with big aspirations.
Among the various works in progress is a village-sponsored contest for a new logo design and motto, with $500 separate cash prizes for each. A lone fisherman on a lake and "Progress Through Planning" were the choices about 20 years ago.
While an ongoing overhaul of the town's comprehensive plan will become the guide to what village officials envision as a bountiful future, they are searching for an identity to lure business and become the face of the village on correspondence.
"We had the motto 'Progress Through Planning' but we haven't really made any progress," Mayor Todd Weihofen said. "We're trying to find something that fits the community." So far there have been about 20 suggestions and officials are considering extending the deadline from Friday to the end of November. Visit www.lakemoor.net.
But a new logo and motto are just one piece of a bigger picture in Lakemoor, with a population of 6,017 that spans Lake and McHenry counties.
On Nov. 13, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and village officials will present for public review a draft of a revised comprehensive plan, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the police station community room, 27901 Concrete Drive.
The plan, which has been about a year in progress, is intended to guide decisions in areas such as residential and commercial development, parks and open space and transportation.
"We're going to try and revamp Route 120," Weihofen said. "We're going to have new commercial development coming in the spring and hopefully that will help us move ahead with some other ones."
This past week, Weihofen appointed a consultant as village planner. Normally an annual action, the position had been unfilled the past few years because of a lack of activity, Weihofen said.
A new part-time parks and recreation coordinator position also was recently added as the village looks to further involve residents.
"We don't have a park district," Village Administrator David Alarcon said. "It's the beginning of a parks department where we will have structured events geared to all the community, not only kids, but adults."
Besides commercial prospects, the village wants to enhance its position amid a bounty of natural resources, including Lily Lake, which stretches south from the heavily traveled Route 120 through town.
Whether there will be a spot for a new village hall in that area is being determined. Village offices for the past few months have been temporarily housed in a small rented office space and village officials are nearing a decision on where to build a new one.
Whether that will include the police department, which was relocated from a double-wide trailer fronting Lily Lake is also a consideration for a multimillion dollar facility.
Weihofen said the village has been building reserves for a new village hall, which one estimate pegged at about $3.2 million.
"We'll be guided by our funding," he said. "It would be nice to be able to do it without burdening the taxpayers."