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September 29, 2012
City budget discussions are being discussed at neighborhood meetings with the Mayor and will be held throughout the month of October. Information is also available on our "know your city budget" city website and our budget page.
Greentown Highland Park is coming October 17-19 and hope you will take part in this great three day event. Greentown Kicks off on October 17th at 7pm at Ren. Place with the movie Waste Land. Learn about the conference from HP Greentown press release and learn about the schedule of events and register at the Highland Park Greentown Website.
Recycling containers are on the way to our Central Business District and Train Stations soon. They are the same design as trash containers but will be a dark green color with different lids...long time coming!!
Bike Walk Plan (draft form) was passed unanimously creating benchmarks to get folks out of their cars and in non-motorized modes of moving. The Greenways Plan and Greenways Brochure does barely survive this new policy document but needs revision to update connections and importance of the Lakefront and other natural destinations.
PTAD Parents the Anti-drug work with our High School parents to help educate on best practices of informing our children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. In response to recent events and tragedy within our communities the following letter was released. As parents, we can't make choices for our children but can continue to push good information and demonstrate good choices.
Along with a presidential race, congressional race, state senator and representative race, there are a few Lake County races including mine for Lake County Board. I am running in the new Lake County Board District 11 which is about 85% of Highland Park, Highwood, and one Moraine precinct in Deerfield. The district area is currently represented by Anne Bassi and Michelle Feldman which have both decided not to run for re-election. The responses I have received has been all good and am very excited to move my public service to the County level.
The three main bullet points of my campaign are as follows: First, I want to continue my quest on creating a new government model that shares services, creates efficiencies, and reduces the overall tax and fee burden on our public. Second, work on a more regional methodology to promote our sustainability and environmental work creating partnerships and stakeholders. Third, push for transparency, open government, and more integration of citizen involvement.
If you want a sign for your lawn or want to send friend to friend cards to voters please contact me at email@example.com or call me on my cell at 847.456.6933.
In 1998 we passed a law that gave authority to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to put a hold on a tear down of a historically significant home when the demolition permit is requested. If the residential structure is shown to be significant, the petition is reviewed by the HPC for determination of a demolition delay. To put a demo delay on a residence is serious business and rarely used. The HPC can impose a six month or one year delay on a demolition to give more time for a buyer to emerge to live in the significant residence.
This past week a resident and his buyer appealed a decision of the HPC to put a one year demolition delay on a residence described as a poster child for preservation by the Chairman of the HPC. The City Council upheld the HPC decision by a 4-2 vote under the eyes of a full Council chamber.
As property values have dropped significantly it becomes much harder enforce these delays. I do however believe we should still attempt to get folks to buy and maintain these historic significant structures and not let them simply be torn down without a second chance.
It seems like a century ago we bought the Highland Park Theater after 100's of hours of meetings with business leaders, citizens, theater and marketing professionals, and in depth talks with Writers Theater moving into the space. Then the recession hit . . . . . Now several years later the theater is now closed, dark, unused, and a current blister on the greatest Central Business District on the North Shore.
About a year ago Our NEW City Council put out an Request for Proposal to redevelop this property so that it again could be a contributing part of our great downtown. The market is showing signs of improvement and there is interest from a company called Alcyon, LLC to revitalize the theater property into a 500-600 seat mixed-media theater and mixed use development. The development includes a 45 unit leed gold residential and 10k commercial use component along with the NEW Alcyon Theater. Funding would include folding back some of the tax money from the proposed development back into the project costs.
The City Council will be voting on a MOU to give this developer an exclusive right for six months to propose a development on this property. The property is the HP theater and the lot to the East. The plan is to build a multi deck parking structure on the North side of Central. Along with parking within the new structure, the entire project will not only replace the parking where the development would go, but proposes adding 90 spaces.
Now understand this is just a proposal and not a done deal. The City Council will be vetting this proposal through our commission process which will include many public meetings prior to any final action from the City Council. We also have engaged Gruen Gruen & Assoc. to analyze the economics of the proposal before we get started in earnest.
I am very excited about this project and to work with these folks to bring the Highland Park Theater back to life, providing more living alternatives in our CBD, and adding to the economic engine that imports tax dollars from outside our city to REDUCE our property tax burden.
Remember, over the past 20 years we have grown our sales tax revenues (many $$$'s from outside HP) almost two fold while lowering our City Tax rate by about 50%. We have done that by investing in our business community and cultivating the entertainment/restaurant culture we now see thriving in our downtown and I am excited to add to that mix. I am sure there will be many different opinions as we move forward and get the facts.
HOPEFULLY all good stuff from this new proposal for our community
I just attended the 2012 Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative annual conference where I represented our Honorable Mayor Nancy Rotering as I had represented our two previous Mayors since 2003.
The United States and Canadian representatives have joined on a mission to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence waterways. Some of the big issues discussed were invasive species, Asian Carp barriers, shale gas, runoff, and water diversion.
Asian Carp is considered a major threat to the Great Lakes and movement has grown from temporary electric barriers to permanent land barriers of the water ways. Several options have been floated and discussions are occurring.
Water diversion was discussed as a request of the City of Waukesha of Wisconsin is ripening and the GLSLCI will have to weigh in on the facts of the case producing more concrete standards for this and future judgements. The Compact, passed by the US Congress and signed on by all Great Lake States prohibits New water diversions outside of the watershed. There are exceptions like the US Supreme Court ruling that allows 2.1 Billion gallons per day for Illinois. Recently allotted Lake County water diversions, I assume, fall within this Supreme Court Case allocation. Questions arose like do we allow diversions to increase sprawl or just in the case of health concerns of existing inland water supplies? Much more to come.......
Many people look out over Lake Michigan and just don't understand the need for a comprehensive and restrictive plan for the future. With Billions of folks on our planet and over 40 million currently depending on this water supply (Great Lakes= 21% of fresh water), we better look hard at the water quality and existence. Bottom line is that preserving our waters, restoring our waters, and ensuring those efforts in a sustainable fashion forever is the mission here and we need to keep our eyes wide open to continue to develop an action plan to fit the mission and support human life.