Antioch wants to hear from residents about downtown improvements
Residents are being asked to help create a vision for downtown Antioch and a nearby property recently acquired by the village.
Village officials say residents' opinions of what the area should look like are critical to the success of the Antioch Downtown Beautification Plan.
"Getting as much input as feasible will help solidify and drive the decision making," said village Trustee Mary Dominiak, the board's liaison for economic development, planning and zoning.
To take the online survey, visit the link under 'News' on the village's website, https://www.antioch.il.gov/.
An eight-month process to create concepts for streetscapes, open spaces, pedestrian areas and parking lots began in February, when the village hired The Lakota Group, a Chicago-based firm specializing in urban design, landscape architecture and related aspects.
In addition to the traditional downtown area, the $49,250 contract with Lakota also includes the vacant 2-acre Pittman property bounded by Main, Depot and Orchard streets on the north end.
The village acquired the property in December and are seeking proposals for an environmental review before determining a preferred use.
A "meaningful, all inclusive" public participation program involving community members, residents, property owners and interested stakeholders is part of the Lakota initiative.
Lakota also will collect and review data; prepare maps; analyze land-use and physical conditions; and identify issues and opportunities.
Multiple stakeholder input sessions and a community pop-up session have been held, leading up to the online survey.
"Following this phase of the planning process, design concepts for the downtown area will be crafted and made available for the community's feedback," said Village Administrator Jim Keim.
Dominiak said public input will be important in the final product "rather than having something driven from the top down."
In a related action, two firms called All Together and The Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group were contracted in March for $37,520 to develop a village marketing strategy.
The idea is to portray Antioch as a vibrant community with opportunities for year-round entertainment, shopping and dining and good jobs, according to the agreement. In May, the firm spoke to residents, business owners and village trustees for insight into Antioch's character.
"The core characteristics that we've established through these conversations are relaxed, welcoming, storied, nostalgic, and evolving," said Rachael Smith, principal with All Together.
The firm is working with a photographer to capture those descriptions. It also is working with the village to assess community events and improve communications with residents and potential visitors, she added.
Dominiak said past village promotion efforts haven't involved a cohesive marketing strategy.
"What I'm excited about is the momentum," she said. "We've kind of labored over the past several years on how to improve downtown."