Friday, October 20, 2006

Elgin Community Network (ECN) Podcasts

The ECN Community Builder online show is a wonderful vehicle for Elgin. It is fulfilling ECN's vision of service to the community. The ECN has limited funds, and therefore the promotion of this show lies very much in the hands of volunteers and supporters. You can listen to or download programs at:

The September edition includes Norma Miess, Executive Director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. She discusses how the DNA focuses on cohesively bringing together the business community for a stronger downtown.

When you go to the website you will see a pod button next to the title of the show. Click the pod button and it will bring up your media player and play the program. Click the right mouse button to download the program so you can listen whenever and wherever you please. For information on the show or to help please contact Gary Joy at 847-628-9717.

The Elgin Community Network is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to:
- Supporting communication, education and collaboration between Elgin neighborhoods, city council and staff.
- Encouraging residents to be involved in their neighborhood and community.

The Community Builder covers useful topics, shares information and builds on our community's success.

2006 Illinois Main Street Conference

Don't miss the Illinois Main Street conference in Waukegan on November 14th and 15th.
Elgin's own Paul Bednar will be presenting a session on Block Walks.

Register Online for the Conference
Registration Sheet for Printing Out
Agenda and More Info (.pdf file)

This just in. Elgin is a finialist in the following four categories of the 2006 Illinois Main Street Awards:
  • Design Committee Project - Block Walk Report
  • Special Event or Festival - Gail Borden Library's GIANT Exhibit
  • Partnership Development - DNA & Judson College Partnership
  • Heritage Tourism Activity - Cinco de Mayo Festival & Parade
The winners will be announced at the Lt. Governor’s Awards for Downtown Revitalization dinner on November 15th in Waukegan.

You won’t want to miss this year’s awards event rivaling the Oscars and the Tony Awards! The sounds of the Harrison Bankhead Trio will serenade you during the reception with hors d’ oeuvres and cash bar. Then you’ll be escorted to your seat in the theatre where the celebration will continue. Lt. Governor Pat Quinn will present the Awards for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization and recognize new and outstanding Main Street communities. Everyone is a star this night when the curtain rises and dinner is served on the Genesee Theatre stage. Semi-formal attire requested. Dinner is $50 make your reservation at Register Online for the Conference Registration or Registration Sheet for Printing Out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

E. Chicago Down to One Lane for Two Weeks

Chicago Street, from Douglas to Spring, will be reduced to only one lane for about two weeks starting October 16th. Parking along Chicago Street will be prohibited, however, access to businesses will be available. The construction is part of the City of Elgin’s $1.3 million 2006 Combined Sewer Separation Project approved by Council last year. The Combined Sewer Separation Program will incrementally separate wastewater and storm water sewers over the next 15 years. For more info contact Steve Pertzborn, the City’s Senior Engineer, at (847) 931-5964.

Illinois Main Street Architects to Visit Downtown Elgin

The Downtown Neighborhood Association has invited IHPA architects to conduct a workshop, offer design advice, and lead a building maintenance tour for business and property owners.

Architects from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), working through the Illinois Main Street program, will be in Elgin all day on Tuesday, October 24 to provide businesses, agencies, and building owners design assistance through presentations, one-on-one sessions, and a walking tour. The state architects provide these services at no charge to Illinois Main Street communities like Elgin.

Downtown Neighborhood Association’s (DNA) Design Committee co-chairs Eric Pepa, Paul Bednar, Betsy Couture, and Dave Segel have worked with the Illinois Main Street architects to develop a full day of design assistance for Downtown Elgin.

8 a.m. - Sessions on visual merchandising and low-cost design improvements at the DNA offices at 2 Douglas Avenue. Coffee and pastries will be served.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - One-on-one design assistance sessions with downtown business and property owners. Any interested Downtown Elgin business owner, agency or property owner can schedule an appointment by calling the DNA in advance at (847) 488-1456.

12 p.m. - Lunch

4:30 p.m. - The IHPA staff will discuss proper maintenance and repair of historic downtown buildings. There are several maintenance issues that, if addressed early, can save building owners tremendous amounts of time and money in the long run. This well-illustrated presentation identifies common causes of deterioration in historic building materials and examines necessary and appropriate repair techniques.

5:30 p.m. - IHPA staff will lead an hour-long tour of buildings in downtown Elgin, focusing on positive aspects of storefronts and areas where conditions might be improved. The public is welcome to attend the morning and afternoon sessions and tour. Packets will be available that discuss the various grants and tax credits available for downtown buildings from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and from the City of Elgin. In addition, information will be available regarding design assistance from the IHPA, the City of Elgin, and the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

To RSVP for any of these sessions please contact DNA at (847) 488-1456 by October 20.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lao-American Organization Open House

I had the pleasure of attending the Lao-American Organization of Elgin Open House on Saturday. They have opened an office in the Professional Building. Their mission is:

"Unite and provide assistance to all people of Lao national origin, living in the Greater Elgin Area and it's surrounding cities, with emphasis on educational and Social-cultural factors as a focal point."

The organization has been in existence since 1996. They plan to use the office to hold classes and workshops to fulfill their mission. After learning about the group it was time for lunch so we went up to the top floor of the Professional Building for a buffet prepared by the members of LAOE. What could be better. Good food, great company and a spectacular view.

Lao-American Organization of Elgin, Inc.
164 Division St., Suite 508
Elgin, IL 60120

(847) 695-4505

Downtown Elgin Blog on the Front Page of the Courier News

New media profiled on old media, "Elgin wired up on the Web". The Downtown Elgin and Elginite blogs were on the front page of the Monday, October 16th Courier News. I was interviewed by Kent Green several weeks ago. It's good to see the story, but I didn't expect the placement it got.

Nothing like vistors to inspire you to straighten up. My posting has been very light lately.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Downtown Streetscape Meeting

When: Tuesday, October 17th at 7 p.m.
Where: The Centre of Elgin
100 Symphony Way
Elgin, IL 60120
What: Elgin business owners and residents are invited to attend a third informational meeting about proposed sidewalk and street improvements for the downtown.

“The CBD Streetscape Improvement Project will enhance the appearance and condition of sidewalk areas and street resurfacing,” said John Loete, Elgin’s Public Works Director. “There have been two meetings with the community that have helped direct our efforts and we’re now ready to present a preliminary plan.”

The project’s utility work has been completed on Grove Avenue, Fulton Street and part of Spring Street and includes water system replacement and repairs to the sanitary and storm sewer systems.

To oversee the CBD Streetscape Improvement Project, the City of Elgin has engaged the services of TranSystems Corporation and DLK Civic Design to provide design services for water main and water service replacement, streetscape amenities construction and street resurfacing.

“The CBD Streetscape Improvement Project is in the City’s current five-year master plan with $15.5 million budgeted for utility and streetscape work,” said Loete. “Another $2 million is expected to be budgeted when the City’s new five-year master plan is completed in 2011.”

Following completion of the Streetscape Master Plan, the sidewalk, curb and gutter and street reconstruction/resurfacing on sections of Grove, Spring and Fulton will be completed in 2007. The balance of the proposed phasing is as follows:

2007 Underground, 2008 Surface: Chicago Street from State to Center, Spring Street from Chicago to Highland, and DuPage Street from Spring to Center.

2008 Underground, 2009 Surface: Douglas Street from Chicago to Symphony, Symphony Way from Douglas to Dundee, and Division Street from Douglas to Center.

2009 Underground, 2010 Surface: Highland Avenue from State to Center, Grove Street from Highland to City Hall, and Center Street from Dexter to Kimball.

2010 Underground, 2011 Surface: Spring Street from Highland to Kimball and Dexter Avenue from City Hall to Center.

“The nature of the underground and streetscape construction will create certain challenges in the downtown area,” said Loete. “As a result, construction will be planned and executed in order to maintain reasonable access during construction, and minimize disruption to the extent possible.

“Residents, business owners and other stakeholders will be kept informed about the project through including public meetings, newsletters, updates, and project status reports via mailings/handouts and on the City’s website,” continued Loete. “We want to ensure everyone knows what to expect.”

For more information, contact Loete at (847) 931-6001.