East Dundee eyes position of downtown coordinator
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News June 28, 2013 12:10PM
East Dundee officials say tax increment finance districts like the one for the downtown are proving to be a boon for attracting new businesses to the village. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: July 9, 2013 11:18AM
EAST DUNDEE — There’s a lot of moving and shaking going on in East Dundee’s downtown lately.
So much so that village officials are looking into adding a downtown coordinator to the employee roster to help with marketing efforts, long-range planning and other activities.
Village Administrator Robert Skurla said he has put $20,000 in his budget this year to partially fund the position, with the intent of seeing if an area town such as West Dundee would be interested in matching the funds and making it a cooperative effort.
“Then we could have a full-time person planning events for the downtown Dundee area,” he said. “As we’re rebuilding and redesigning our master plan, we’re not just looking at buildings. We want to put in an active growing plan that will be surrounded by activities that are targeted to businesses.”
He said events will bring more foot traffic to the downtown.
“And, hopefully, that will help the atmosphere for retailers,” he said.
Along those lines, East Dundee officials also are discussing coordinating with West Dundee on its annual Heritage Fest, among other events.
“There are at least two or three annual events that East Dundee, along with West Dundee, can sponsor every year,” Skurla said. “And we want to start getting some annual events that people can identify with us that will bring people downtown.”
West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson said village officials have received a proposal about the downtown coordinator position from East Dundee.
“We’re currently discussing it internally,” Nelson said. “We certainly do see a lot of additional activity, not just in the future but also happening right now. I imagine we’ll be having additional discussions on in the next few weeks.”
With the help of OTTO Engineering President Tom Roeser, East Dundee officials have been moving forward on plans to make their downtown a notable Fox Valley destination. The focus will be on enhancing the Depot Plaza Square area, which includes concepts for public improvements as well as private development projects. Some proposed amenities for the area — which includes Barrington, Meier and River streets — are a children’s splash pad, removable ice rink, restaurant, retail and even an upscale apartment complex.
The downtown revitalization effort was helped further by the demolition in February of the large yellow building across from the Anvil Club. Part of the Doederlein Lumber Co. complex, Fred Doederlein’s widow, DeLoris, donated the warehouse and property to East Dundee.
East Dundee Trustee Kirstin Wood is excited about the downtown coordinator proposal.
“I think East Dundee’s game plan for the immediate future and long term is to have far more activities downtown reaching all groups of people,” she said. “So if we had one go-to person for that exact function as a starting-off point, that would benefit both villages.”
Wood said the downtowns of East and West Dundee have a lot to offer.
“I think with someone whose job is to focus on making the attributes of both villages well-known to other communities, it could only help,” she said. “And with budgetary concerns, I do believe that the salary of (the downtown coordinator) would be offset by what they can bring to both communities.”