Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Economic Development Committee - February 16, 2012

Village of Gurnee

Economic Development Committee Minutes

February 16, 2012


The meeting was held in Conference Room A, Gurnee Village Hall, 325 N. O’Plaine Road and called to order at 6:01 P.M.


Members Present:            Trustee Stephen Park, Randy Ebertowski, Rob Elbrecht, Bill Finn, Tom Henderson, Brad Jenks, Roneida Martin, Karen Thorstenson, Dick Welton


Members Absent:             None


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


  1. Approval of the January 19, 2012 Meeting Minutes

Mr. Jenks made a motion, seconded by Mr. Finn, to approve the January 19, 2012 meeting minutes. 


All voted ‘aye’.  Motion carried.


  1. Education Item:  Summary of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency of Planning (CMAP) GO TO 2040 Plan

Mr. Mentkowski presented the Committee with a short video from the CMAP website which highlighted and summarized CMAP and the creation of the GO TO 2040 Plan.  Following the video, the Committee members discussed some of the issues highlighted in the video, including the future of the bus system and new proposals like dedicated bus lanes, questions about the demographic break down of Chicago, Lake County and Gurnee, and the fact that the Route 53/120 Lake County Throughway Project is one of the top 5 capital project proposed by the GO TO 2040 Plan.


No formal action taken.


  1. Education Item:  Update on the Route 53/120 Lake County Throughway Project

Trustee Park provided a summary of the current proceedings taking place as part of the Route 53/120 Lake County Throughway Project.  The summary included the fact that the Tollway created a Blue Ribbon Advisory Council that is responsible for developing regional consensus on whether the Tollway should move forward with this project, the scope and configuration of the project, the design and elements of this project, as well as how to finance this project.  He also discussed the most recent design workshop held by the Blue Ribbon Council on February 9th which included an overview, traffic information, environmental information.  The design workshop was followed by a 1 ½ hour session with Blue Ribbon Panel members to discuss the results of the workshop. 


Trustee Park noted that the meeting documentation is located online at the Blue Ribbon Panel’s website and that there will be a briefing in early March about what happened at the meeting.  He noted that the intent of the Blue Ribbon Panel was to present initial recommendations to the Tollway Board in May 2012.  He also stated that if the tollway said “go” on the construction of the project, it would still be about 5 years before it could move forward with the project’s construction.


Additional Committee member discussion on the item included the following:  a general question as to whether a project like the Route 53/120 Throughway would increase people’s ability to “sprawl” further from Gurnee; that we will need a strong Waukegan to continue to be successful; and that this project would make it easier for workers to come in and out of the Lake County area.


No formal action taken.

  1. Education Item: Lake County Transportation Alliance Information

Trustee Park stated that he would provide the summary because he is the Lake County Transportation Alliance (herein reference as “Alliance”) Strategic Planning Chair.  He provided a summary of the Alliance which is a public private advocacy group originally created in 2005 to raise awareness and build consensus on development and implementation of short and long-term transportation goals and objectives in Lake County, Illinois.  The Alliance member include legislators, city and county officials, municipal planning and transportation businesses, allied fields, including engineering firms, surveyors, appraisers, trucking firms, road building and road building materials companies, contractors and architects, as well  as corporations.


Trustee Park stated that the Alliance is currently in a “refocus stage” which includes a new board of directors, new by-laws and a switch to more of a local project focus versus their previous State focus.  He stated the Alliance is currently looking for new members and the refocus would be more transit and road based.  He stated that they are looking to be more proactive on projects and that one of their purposes would be to educate people with their facts about road projects such as the Route 53/120 Throughway.


No formal action taken.


  1. Old Business:  Discussion of the List of the Village of Gurnee’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Mr. Mentkowski stated that during the initial EDC meetings, staff and the Committee have developed a list of items that were considered the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the Village of Gurnee in the future.  He stated that during this meeting, staff would like to focus more specifically on the strengths item of the Village of Gurnee.  


The Committee discussed amending or adding the following elements to the “Strengths” portion of the SWOT analysis which was attached as a staff report for the Committee members and labeled as Exhibit A:

  • Amend existing #4 to state “Located adjacent to the non-tolled Interstate I-94.”
  • Add “Warren Township programs and facilities, including the recently expanded center on the east side of the Village (Greenleaf Street).”
  • Add “Higher education for business provided by the College of Lake County”
  • Add “Village Center potential development, including the possibility of a train station off of Depot Road and Old Grand Avenue as reflected in CMAP’s GO TO 2040 and Lake County’s Master Plan.”
  • Add “The amount of private higher education in the Gurnee area (not necessarily in Gurnee) provided by private colleges and educational programs such as DeVry University, Columbia College–Lake County/Great Lakes, Computer Systems Institute, and Robert Morris University.”
  • Add “Gurnee’s proximity to large employers such as Abbott Labs, Cardinal, etc.”
  • Add “Gurnee’s proximity to the great lakes training center which graduates 40,000 recruits per year and a large amount of additional revenue per year.”
  • Add “Diversity of population: ethnicity, age, education, income.”
  • Add “Range of housing option and prices.”
  • Add “Industrial parks to meet a variety of business sizes and needs.”
  • Add “Safety”
  • Add “Gurnee has been around for a long time and provides a history, both long and recent.”


Mr. Mentkowski stated that he would add these items to the Strengths list and provide it to the Committee when they discuss the Weaknesses at the next meeting.


No formal action taken.


  1. Old Business:  Discussion of the Results of the Economic Development Readiness Survey

Mr. Mentkowski stated that there were no clear results from the survey that could be presented to the Committee.  He illustrated that the average scores of the survey taken by both Committee members and a select few Village Staff members were all very close to the middle of the range at a value of “5”.  He stated he was hoping for clearer or obvious direction from the results; however, results from this survey would have to be analyzed further to see if there is anything that can currently be taken from the survey. 


The Committee discussed the survey result discussion further and discussion included: concerns about the current road maintenance plan which a member felt should be changed from a 20 year plan to a 12 year plan; brief discussion about the total cost of public safety and the fact that it is the largest budget item; that access to information was limited, so some of the questions were difficult to answer with much merit; that some of the information on the website, or the method of a user’s ability to find information, needed improvement; question of whether any businesses had taken this survey [No]; and, where the Committee should go from here with the results presented by Staff. 


The Committee agreed with Staff and informally requested that Staff go back over the survey results to see if there are any trends or other results that can be extrapolated from the Economic Development Readiness Survey and that Staff should present their findings at a future Committee meeting.


No formal action taken.


  1. New Business:  Required State of Illinois Open Meetings Act Training

Mr. Mentkowski stated that Effective January 1st, 2012, all elected and appointed officials must complete a training program on the Open Meetings Act (OMA) no later than January 1st, 2013.  He stated that this includes the Economic Development Committee members.  He asked that they complete this prior to the next meeting in March, however, they technically had until the end of 2012 to complete the training.  He stated that it took him about an hour to complete the training & that it took Mr. Ziegler about 25 minutes to complete the training.


No formal action taken.


  1. Agenda Items for Next Meeting Date: March 15, 2012

The Committee informally proposed discussing the following topics at the next meeting:  comparison of different municipal websites, similar to member Karen Thorstenson’s example of the Village of Bedford Park, IL; discussion of the weaknesses section of the SWOT analysis; possible staff discussion regarding more detailed results on the economic development readiness survey questions presented tonight; information and presentation by member Roneida Martin regarding the Illinois Small Business Development Center; information and presentation by Lake County Partners regarding their organization; and to find a date in the near future where Village Administrator Patrick Muetz can be present at a Committee meeting.


No formal action taken.



  1. Adjournment

Trustee Park asked for motion to adjourn.


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


All voted ‘aye’.  Motion carried.


The Meeting was adjourned at 7:34 P.M.



Respectfully Submitted:


Ryan Mentkowski
Economic Development Committee Secretary

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