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updated: 1/22/2014 11:40 AM

'Envision Elgin' meeting at YWCA Jan. 29

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Elgin's Spanish-speaking residents will get a chance to help shape the city's new comprehensive plan next week.

Consultants from Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates will hold the third public meeting for the "Envision Elgin" planning process from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the YWCA, 220 E. Chicago St., Elgin.

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The first two meetings, one with residents and one with business owners, took place in late November.

The consultants also launched online surveys in English and Spanish about living in Elgin, from public services to housing and educational programs. The surveys are at www.hlplanning.com/portals/elgin.

Spanish-speaking residents must have a voice in government, Elgin senior planner Dave Waden said.

Spanish is spoken in 39.4 percent of households in Elgin, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008-12 American Community Survey.

"We need to make sure they are heard and that their opinion counts when it comes to guiding the policy decisions for the comprehensive plan over the next 15 to 20 years," he said.

"The city and consultant hope to receive candid responses to the questions in regards to the issues, opportunities and potentials of the city."

Elgin's last comprehensive plan was adopted in 2005.

The new plan -- which officials say will take about a year to be finished -- will serve to guide the city's land use and development decisions, including zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations.

The YWCA has hosted English as a Second Language classes for more than 30 years, and civics and community involvement are crucial components, said Rose Diaz, student success coordinator at the YWCA and a member of Envision Elgin's steering committee.

"I hope (participants) share what comes form their heart ... what they really feel as a community -- what they feel works, what doesn't," she said. "I think it's a completely different perspective because we're all different, but I think there's also going to be similarities. There's a lot of us who see issues that Elgin has, and we would like to see that change."

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