Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Economic Development Committee - January 10, 2013

Village of Gurnee

Economic Development Committee Minutes

January 10, 2013


The meeting was held in the Community Room, Gurnee Police Station, 100 North O’Plaine Road, and called to order at 6:05 P.M.

 Members Present:            Randy Ebertowski, Rob Elbrecht, Tom Henderson, Brad Jenks, Roneida Martin, Karen Thorstenson 

Members Absent:             Trustee Stephen Park, Bill Finn, Dick Welton

Other Officials Present:    David Ziegler, Community Development Director; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

1. Pro-tem Chairman

Karen Thorstenson made a motion, seconded by Randy Ebertowski, to elect Rob Elbrecht as the pro-tem chairman for tonight’s meeting.

 All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

2. Approval of the November 15, 2012 Meeting Minutes

Mr. Jenks made a motion, seconded by Ms. Thorstenson, to approve the November 15, 2012 meeting minutes, with the changes as discussed for item #2 and item #5.

 All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

3. Education Item: Presentation by Gurnee Police Chief Kevin Woodside regarding the department’s Visitor Oriented policing program.

Gurnee Police Chief Mr. Kevin Woodside made a presentation to the Committee regarding the visitor oriented policing program, as well as the services offered by the Gurnee Police Department. He noted that the visitor oriented policing program was formed in July of 2012 and focuses on tourist attractions in the village which are vital to the economic health of the community and the county.  The goal is to increase police presence in those areas, providing a safe environment for the thousands of visitors in the village while allowing other patrol officers the ability to concentrate their resources in the neighborhoods.

Chief Woodside then discussed the other handout he provided which summarized the services offered by the Police Department and included, but was not necessarily limited to:

  • On-site physical security surveys;
  • Safety training for employees and/or managers;
  • Evacuation planning assistance;
  • Business-focused crime alerts and newsletters;
  • Disaster drills;
  • Connect CTY phone calls;
  • Nixle text-messaging notifications;
  • Village list-serve email notifications.

Chief Woodside then discussed the issues that often affect businesses: Burglary, Fraud, Robbery and Violence.  He noted that burglary is one of the most common crimes affecting businesses.  He noted that businesses often have to deal with Frauds in the form of Check Fraud, Credit/Debit Card Fraud and Counterfeiting.  He added that the Police Department can provide training/ group counseling for check fraud and counterfeiting.  He added some basic information about robbery, including that for businesses, robbery involves the least loss of money or other assets.  He then discussed the four broad categories of workplace violence as defined by OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the FBI.  He discussed the opportunity to have the Police Department do a training seminar on active shooters, including what to do and what not to do if a situation like that were ever to arise.

Chief Woodside also briefly discussed the upcoming Citizens Police Academy which starts on February 28th and provided an application should any of the members want to participate in the program.  He stated that there was also another academy in the fall.

Additional Committee discussion items related to this item included:

  • Questions about the current situations in the schools and whether they were going through the active shooter training;
  • Discussion about Gurnee Mills Mall having statistically nominal crime rates and the fact that the mall has more of a crime perception problem than an actual crime problem.
  • Discussion about Gurnee Mills Mall having a dress code to help with the perception problem.
  • That Gurnee Mills Mall is working to remove the perception problem with new marketing ideas and upgrades to the mall to bring new customers in and old customers back.
  • That the Police Station will be directly connected to the new Gurnee Mills CCTV technology that they are working on incorporating. 

 No formal action taken.

4. New Business:  Summary of the November 19, 2012 Village Board meeting regarding the Economic Development Committee Recommended Policies.

Pro-tem Chairman Elbrecht stated that he and Ms. Thorstenson attended the Village Board meeting regarding this item.  He stated that Trustee Park did a good job summarizing the 6 items the Committee forwarded to the Board for review.  He stated that his initial feeling from the Board was sort of a lukewarm feeling and they were not sure if they were supposed to endorse the proposal or if they were supposed to simply listen to what had been accomplished thus far.  

Ms. Thorstenson stated that she felt the Board was not sure what their call to action was for the item as illustrated by Trustee Morris in the meeting minutes.  She also noted that Cheryl Ross felt that #6 (partners/chambers) should be moved up the list of the EDC policies.  She stated that there were no negative comments made by the Board members on the policy. She stated that it was noted that the staff was the next step in the process and they were to start drilling down these items in more detail.    She said there was not really enough in our six policy statements that said we were talking budget or dollars, which was the intent because we really just wanted to float the idea by the Board.

Mr. Mentkowski stated that staff is working to put together work streams for the 6 policies and there are a lot of different paths that could be utilized that provide the Village with programs that were “win-win” or the “biggest bang for the buck” programs.  He stated staff will continually be putting this policy document together, which is currently 15 pages, and requested that any committee input or suggestions would be welcomed.

Mr. Jenks asked if staff had any feeling whether the Trustees intend on adopting the plan as a whole and then adopting their own priorities or are they accepting the work stream proposals from staff. 

Mr. Mentkowski stated that the current non-formal direction he had received was that they needed to see a proposal and a dollar amount before they would state whether to adopt the work stream or policy.

Mr. Ziegler stated that there are currently six broad policy items recommended by this Committee.  He stated that staff would put together a list of 10-15 action items that implement each of the policy items.  He stated we would then bring this back to this committee and discuss which ones are most effective, most effective per dollars spent, or as otherwise determined.  He stated the Committee will either make a recommendation to the Board on the action items or if Board action is not necessary, start working on the item as soon as possible.  He stated that now that we have the policies, we need to narrow down how to implement them.

No formal action taken. 

5. New Business:  Discussion and recommendation on the content and organization of the Village of Gurnee website as it relates to Economic Development.

Mr. Mentkowski stated that this item is on the agenda because staff felt that this was a possible action item to address the Committee’s recommended Economic Development policies.  He noted that the website item had been on the Committee agenda two previous times, but the item was not discussed due to time limitations.  He stated that he had talked to the IS Director informally about the website update, but he needed more direction on what exactly needed updating.  He stated that he is looking for the Committee to recommend what areas of the website should be updated and what basic principles should be utilized for any update to the website.

Mr. Mentkowski stated that once we know this, then we can look at how many hours it will take to do the update and/or the cost to do a website modeled similar to the communities of Bedford Park, Schaumburg or Naperville, as a couple of examples.

Mr. Mentkowski then made a PowerPoint presentation on the subject.  The topics of the presentation included the following:

  • Important Aspects of a website / priorities of the website per the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
    • Ease of Use
    • Ease of Accessing information
    • Clean
    • Effective messaging & ID of services
    • Connectivity to other media
  • Important Aspects of a website / for the Economic Development Portion of the website.
  • Demographic reports
  • Labor force
  • Sites and buildings inventory
  • Maps; among others.
  • News
  • New Residents, “Living in Gurnee”, etc
  • Business or “Economic Development”
  • Government
  • How do I or FAQ
  • “Economic Development” / “Business” link clearly illustrated for users
  • Scrolling – limit
  • Limit clicks
    • Do not want people aimlessly going on the website.
  • Clean & Organized
  • Community Pictures (which can be changed every time you go to the site)
  • Village info/tag line (some basic information about who the Village of Gurnee is)
  • Louisville, Kentucky (City #1)
  • Arvada, Colorado (City #2)
  • Orange County, Florida (County #1)
    • Ms. Thorstenson stated that the search tab should not be in the middle of the page.
    • Ms. Thorstenson discussed looking for a no cost option for a website update for someone that would live locally in Gurnee and could help guide our update to the website.
  • Chesterfield, Virginia (County #5)
  • Bedford Park, Illinois
  • Oak Park, Illinois
  • Naperville, Illinois
  • Northbrook, Illinois
  • Austin, Texas
  • Elgin, Illinois
  • Libertyville, Illinois
  • Park Ridge, Illinois
  • Bend, Oregon
  • Schaumburg, Illinois
  • Gurnee, Illinois current website and Staff suggested some areas for improvement:
  • The middle area and the multiple layers of content on the home page – 4 pages.  This clutters things up on the web page.
  • Right side image:  Good information here, but need to scroll down to find it.
  • Left side - same titles as at the top – space that could be otherwise used for different purposes.
  • Noted the other top Economic Development Regional Websites around the United States as referenced from a 2012 LinkedIn Economic Development group discussion.
  • The importance of Organizing important information into consolidated links such as:
  • Home Page features that are important
  • Discussed the top city websites and the county websites for the following communities:

Throughout the presentation, the Committee noted that they “liked” the following features on the websites presented: 

  • Blocky tiles similar to the smart phones
  • Doing business tab
  • Should be illustrating our taxes –in a positive way
  • “Mouse over” with a drop down feature
  • Links at the bottom of the page
  • Calendar
  • Liked what Lake County government has done with their website.

Mr. Jenks discussed the importance of the website and more importantly the search engine optimization (SEO) for the website to get as many hits as possible.  More hits to the name or website equal a higher rating on Google’s search engine results.

Mr. Ziegler stated that the website re-development is a low priority for the Information Systems Department but only because they have not been directed to make it a high priority and as such do not have the staff time to fully dedicate to the update of the website.  He stated that an outside developer would probably be the most efficient way to get a complete update to the website due to the staffing time constraints with the existing IS members.

Mr. Jenks suggested that staff sit down with him and the Gurnee Chamber of Commerce to see if there was a way to coordinate the update of the Village website and the updates that the Chamber is in the middle of.

Pro tem Chairman Elbrecht asked what the Committee could do to assist staff in direction with the website update.  It was stated that at the next meeting, the Committee members need to take a look at the important aspects of the websites illustrated on slide 2 & 3 of Staff’s PowerPoint presentation.  The committee members should modify the lists of priorities, content and organization/ layout and indicate items that they feel are important to include in an update to the website.  This homework will provide more direction to Staff and the Board on the recommended content and layout of a future website design.

6. Old Business:  Identification and Discussion regarding the areas of vacant land, land that may be underutilized or land that could benefit from future redevelopment in the Village of Gurnee.

Based upon limited time available, this item was tabled until a future meeting.

No formal action taken.

7. Agenda Items for Next Meeting Date: February 21, 2013

No meeting items discussed.

8. Chairman Comments

No formal comments.

9. Adjournment

Pro-tem Chairman Elbrecht asked for motion to adjourn.

Mr. Jenks made a motion, seconded by Mr. Ebertowski, to adjourn.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:47 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted:

Ryan Mentkowski
Economic Development Committee Secretary


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