Elmhurst seeks thoughts to shape future of 5 parts of town

Elmhurst residents and businesspeople are being invited to share their thoughts about the good, the bad and the future of five intersections or corridors being studied as the city develops a guidebook for improvements and development.

The five regions selected are business zones that last were reviewed when the city made its comprehensive plan in 2009. They include the business district at York and Vallette streets, the Lake Street corridor between Route 83 and York Street, a one-block area at First and York streets downtown, several blocks of Butterfield Road west of York Street, and the intersection of North Avenue and Route 83.

Eight years later, Assistant Planning and Zoning Administrator Eileen Franz said it's time to take a fresh look at those selected regions, called subareas, and form a new vision for land use, transportation, infrastructure, character and sense of place.

The city council this spring entered into a $74,500 contract with consultant Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago to lead the planning process, expected to take about six months. Now Franz said it's time to seek public input, especially the voices of people who live or run a business in the affected sites.

"Any feedback is helpful," she said.

Residents and businesspeople can log onto to access surveys that ask questions to evaluate each subarea's current conditions and seek ideas for the next 10 to 20 years.

Participants are asked to share how often they shop in each subarea, what they like and dislike about it and what types of businesses, services, offices, recreation, entertainment, hospitality, industry or housing they would prefer to see.

The surveys are expected to take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete, and give plenty of fill-in-the-blank fields for respondents to share their thoughts.

Next steps in the subarea planning process include a visioning workshop to be scheduled for later this summer, and the release of an online mapping tool that Franz says will allow users to input ideas for development and see where they would lay out on a map.

Elmhurst may study development choices at 5 sites

  The intersection of Route 83 and North Avenue is among five subareas in the city of Elmhurst that are being studied as a consultant helps the city develop plans for the next 10 to 20 years. Daniel White/