Solid turnout for remote Glenview Connect Workshop
Glenview residents had plenty to say during the Village Board's second Glenview Connect Workshop.
Or plenty to write, as the Nov. 18 follow-up to the first workshop was the board's 16th remote meeting under the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Oct. 21 debut workshop of Glenview Connect -- a process to identify future development in key areas of the village -- offered a mountain of data researched by Callison RTKL and Ricker Cunningham, the firms consulting on the project.
Workshop II saw the return of Callison's Angela Acosta, Erich Dohrer, Katie Sprague and Sarah Wicker. They led an announced 80 participants, including Village President Jim Patterson and the board, in a series of assignments primarily identifying perceptions of Glenview's strengths, weaknesses, desirable options going forward, and things to watch out for.
At last count, community members made 539 comments -- in the form of virtual Post-it notes or messages -- over the exercises' two-and-a-half-hour span, plus the three call-ins at the end.
"I've never seen such a high rate of participation and such a diversity of thought," Sprague said.
The centerpiece of the workshop was the "SWOT" exercises -- identifying the village's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Some 120 comments kicked off Glenview's strengths, aligning around certain core areas the village does right, such as providing regional attractions and food and beverage offerings.
Participants then saw six different "personas" of residents, three of which the village currently has and three others research indicated it's a little short of, such as millennials. They then suggested aspects those groups might find currently lacking.
The Callison group offered an exercise on people's perceptions of future opportunities for the village. They concluded with a section on things, like declining labor force, that are threats that negatively impact Glenview.
A poll at the end provided the top results of each section.
People thought the top strengths were open space, education and solid citizens. They believed weaknesses included few local entertainment options, retail vacancies and missing millennials.
They saw opportunities in increasing and incentivizing business development and increasing public programming. They saw threats including continued softening of brick and mortar retail and, thus, reduction of a tax base.
"It seems like everyone was pretty engaged," said Callison's Dohrer.
Acosta reminded workshop attendees that until Nov. 30 Glenview Connect self-guided tours are available of Downers Grove, Elmhurst and LaGrange, where various forward-thinking measures have been put into use; and the website's other components such as a community survey.
Acosta also noted a "highly interactive" upcoming open house on Dec. 17.
"The community will lead the feedback during the open house and then the board will follow as an active listener," she said. "We hope that tonight's Q&A feedback is going to be just the beginning of all of the commentary that we're going to hear during the open house."