Let us know what you think……
The Village held a public open house on July 16, 2013 at the Westchester Community Church. At the open house, the draft comprehensive plan was available for public review and comment. This is one of the last steps before beginning the formal review process with the Board of Trustees and other Village officials. If you were not able to attend the open house and would like to see the information presented, below are the boards that were on display.
Poster 1: Project Information & Planning Process
Poster 2: Land Use Information
Poster 3: Key Recommendations
If you would like to see the posters, they will be on display at Village Hall and various locations in the Community through the end of July.
If you have any feedback that you would like to provide, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Melissa Headley at 708-345-0199.
About the Comprehensive Plan
- What is a comprehensive plan?
- Has the Village of Westchester ever had a comprehensive plan?
- Why does Westchester need a comprehensive plan now?
- How will the comprehensive plan relate to other plans for Westchester?
- How is CMAP involved with the creation of the comprehensive plan?
- How has the community been involved with the comprehensive planning process so far?
- Meetings & Public Input
- What are the next steps?
- Existing Conditions Report
A Comprehensive Plan:
outlines the vision for the community and the policies that will help to achieve that vision;
provides a well-defined framework for the preservation and enhancement of community assets;
guides development and investment decisions in the best interest of community residents over a 10 to 20 year time period.
Yes. It was completed in 1955.
Although Westchester is built-out with few parcels available for development, there is opportunity to plan for the redevelopment of areas in the Village. Recognizing these possibilities, the Village embraces the need to create a shared vision that will help guide future land use and development decisions. An up-to-date comprehensive plan will serve as a guide for elected officials, municipal staff, community residents, business owners, and potential investors, allowing them to make informed decisions affecting the future of Westchester.
How will the comprehensive plan relate to other plans for Westchester?
Over the past decade, the Village of Westchester has commissioned six planning-related studies (listed below). The Comprehensive Plan intends to build off these planning studies and will highlight, where most appropriate, recommendations and implementation strategies, included in these plans.
Strategic Economic Development Plan for Commercial Corridors (Camiros, 2006)
Buxton Community ID Report (Buxton, 2008)
Sanitary Sewer Mitigation and Corrective Action Plan (V3 Companies, 2011)
Strategic Plan Research Report (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, 2011)
Cermak-Mannheim Commercial Corridor Revitalization Plan (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, 2012)
Roosevelt Road Redevelopment Plan (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, 2012)
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is assisting the Village of Westchester with the creation of the comprehensive plan. CMAP is able to do this through its Local Technical Assistance Program (LTA), which provides assistance to communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan region that are involved with projects aligned with the principles of GO TO 2040—the region’s comprehensive plan.
With the help of village staff, CMAP has organized a Steering Committee, who will provide input to the planning process. Also, stakeholder interviews have been conducted to gather more background information about the village. Other forms of outreach include various meetings and the gathering of input via an online, interactive tool called MetroQuest. More details about the meetings and results compiled from MetroQuest are below.
To date, there have been two community meetings held on Thursday, February 2, 2012 and Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at the Westchester Community Church. Residents were notified about these meetings via the village’s monthly newsletter; posters posted at local businesses, churches, schools, and other high traffic areas, including the Westchester Park District; flyers were made available to steering committee members for distribution; constant contact e-mails and phone calls went out to all previous meeting participants and stakeholders. To ensure the meetings were inclusive of all residents, there were Spanish-language materials created to promote the meetings and Spanish-speaking staff members were available to help facilitate discussion during the meeting.
Community Meeting #1 – Getting to Know the Community – February 2, 2012
Over 85 residents, business owners and community leaders were in attendance.
An overview about the planning process was presented
Residents worked in small groups to discussed issues, what needs to be preserved and what needs to be enhanced in the village
Top three issues: lack of a development plan for commercial areas, high school, and flood problems
Top three things that need to be preserved: parks, make Wolf Road Prairie more attractive, open space
Top three things that need to be enhanced: restaurant and shopping opportunities, correct past development errors, cohesive streetscaping
Community Meeting #2 – Visioning Workshop – May 30, 2012
A total of 36 residents, business owners and community leaders were in attendance.
An overview of Westchester’s existing conditions was presented.
Residents worked in smaller groups to create ideas for various aspects of the community including residential; commercial; transportation; parks and open space; community services, health and infrastructure; and community identity.
Big ideas included: revitalizing commercial districts with better visibility, attractive architecture, accessibility and diverse retail options; market Wolf Road Prairie along with complete restoration of the Franzosenbusch Prairie House as a visitor center; install a trolley system in the village; promote open spaces with better bicycle and pedestrian access; construct senior housing on vacant land; hire a community services person to coordinate with existing village entities and health and human services; become more green and environmentally friendly by using more natural materials and extending the Wolf Road Prairie path to the Salt Creek bike path; installing more visible gateway signs for the village.
Meeting with Divine Providence Over 50 Club
Over 100 club members were in attendance.
Their concerns were: the need for more sit-down restaurants and shopping options, streetscaping, street lights and traffic controls in residential areas for public safety.
The seniors viewed the community’s amenities as a strength.
This group was pleased with the quality of village services, and appreciated the variety of places of worship.
Sharing input online via MetroQuest (an online engagement tool)
MetroQuest Phase 1
Residents and village stakeholders were given the opportunity to rank issues in the community, based on the results from Community Meeting #1.
Priorities from Community Meeting #1:
Improve Main Commercial areas
Alleviate flooding problems
Improve public transportation
Restaurants and Shopping opportunities
Strengthen residential areas
Parks and open space
Wolf Road Prairie
The site received over 42 hits by residents and village stakeholders.
Participants ranked the following issues as their top three priorities: Village beautification; restaurants and shopping; and public transit and Accessibility.
Top concerns were Restaurants and Shopping, Flooding, and the need for a public high school.
Restaurants and Shopping. Majority of Westchester residents go outside for shopping, eating, and fun. They would like to see sit down restaurants and diverse shopping options in town. They suggest the upkeep of commercial areas, and redevelopment of vacant storefronts.
Flooding. Preserve green space and build upon that asset. Seek federal funds and resources to address flooding issue within Village.
High School. Participants are concern that many residents who cannot afford a private education move out of Westchester once their children are of high school age. They would like to see the community more involved with the public schools.
MetroQuest Phase 2
Residents and village stakeholders were the given the opportunity to rank various scenarios:
Scenario #1: Preserve
The “preserve” scenario focuses on preserving all parks and open space, encouraging the Village to continue to address flooding issues and making streetscaping improvements.
Scenario #2: Invest
The “invest” scenario involves enhancing Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve so that it becomes an amenity for the community; connecting the Village’s open space opportunities by way of a trail system; coordinating with the Forest Preserve District to improve trail connections outside of Westchester’s boundaries; and expanding the Pace bus routes.
Scenario #3: Reinvest
The “reinvest” scenario focuses on revitalizing all commercial areas with particular emphasis on creating a Village center at 22nd Street and Mannheim Road, where there will be a hub for Pace buses and outdoor plazas to foster community interaction.
The site received over 62 hits by residents and village stakeholders.
Participants ranked the following issues as their top three priorities: High School, Restaurants and Shopping, and Commercial Areas.
Top concerns were High School, Wolf Road Prairie, and Restaurants and Shopping.
High School. Residents feel they deserve to have school options for their children. If you are not Catholic or cannot afford a private education, you have no other option but to move out.
Wolf Road Prairie. Great community asset. Community needs to build off that strength.
Restaurants and Shopping. Residents feel they need something to do in town. Capitalize the walkable community that Westchester is by bringing local shops and sit down restaurants. Create a central area.
MetroQuest with Westchester Middle School Students
The group of eleven students participated in a visioning exercise, where they imagined what they would like Westchester to look like in 2025.
Students envisioned a modern Westchester with safer and bigger parks, restaurants with healthy food options, and jobs that contribute to economic growth.
Students used MetroQuest to identify: ideal locations for shops and recreation; areas that could be improved for pedestrian access; and where public transportation options could be expanded.
Students reported that their favorite aspects of Westchester are the parks, sports clubs, schools, tight-knit community character, and location to neighboring communities and shopping areas.
MetroQuest with St. Joseph High School Students
The group of fourteen students participated in a visioning exercise, where they imagined what they would like Westchester to look like in 2025.
Students envisioned a modern Westchester with vacant areas redeveloped to improve commercial gateways (Mannheim Road); and zero foreclosed homes with more street lights to create a safer community.
Students used MetroQuest to explore how their priorities where affected by different scenarios. Top priorities included Restaurants and Shopping, Commercial areas, Parks and Open Space, and Streets and Streetscaping.
Students reported that their favorite aspects of Westchester are the park amenities, community events (Westchester Fest), community size –not too small and not too big, tight-knit community character, and close proximity to neighboring communities and shopping areas.
Students envisioned a modern Westchester with sit down restaurants and diverse shopping options for teenagers –examples given were Hot Topic, Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings, Movie Theater, and a shopping center.
Village Open House (Winter 2013). Residents and village stakeholders will be introduced to the various components of the draft plan and have an opportunity to provide comments and ask questions about it.
Adoption of plan (Spring/Summer 2013).
 * Improving the high school was a top priority at the kick-off meeting. While comprehensive plans do not directly address education issues, we encourage the Village to continue conversations with their residents about creating a strategic plan to address this priority.