Elgin council plots strategy with goals for future
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2012 8:40PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 8:52AM
ELGIN — At its committee of the whole meeting Wednesday evening, the Elgin City Council found itself in the midst of what former President George Bush once called “strategery.” That’s to say the council briefly reviewed a report on the city’s strategic planning workshop and discussed the next steps to be taken in coming up with such a plan.
In late February, the city council and senior staff participated in a workshop — overseen by Professor Gerald Gabris of the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University — that established priorities for the document in the works: economic development, downtown revitalization, education, image enhancement, creating a more diverse workforce, neighborhoods, community engagement, and public safety.
To that end, the council Wednesday approved accepting those goals as it moves on with the process.
“This set of priorities attempts to look at community on a larger scale,” Councilwoman Anna Moeller said.
The process also resulted in a preliminary, lengthy vision statement for the city, which is set to be revised and, as the report points out, should be used “solely as a starting point or template for future discussions.”
The 139-word statement reads, “Elgin is an authentic community that engages its citizens in crafting a better future. That future builds on a rich heritage of outstanding neighborhoods and quality of residential life with a thriving local economy grounded in many vibrant small businesses that not only provide jobs to local residents, but offer retail opportunities that can satisfy every need. Elgin prides itself in being a safe place to live, visit, and do business, and continues to offer an ever expanding array of recreational, entertainment, and educational opportunities not usually found all together in one community. Elgin is a welcoming place, a community for families, a place where people can become involved and know that they make a difference. Come, live, work, play, and enjoy the new Elgin. Once you learn what the new Elgin has to offer, you will be impressed.”
According to supporting documentation for the meeting, the next steps include coming up with initiatives and objectives that define the priorities and developing projects and plans tied to them. That may involve forming further citizen task forces, similar to the one used last year for putting together the city’s current budget.
City Manager Sean Stegall noted that public input would be part of the process, with a committee made up of members of other commissions as well as those from the community at large.
Performance and accountability measures are yet to be determined as well. And all of this is expected to be done by August so that the efforts can be incorporated into the city’s next budget process. Past that, the five-year plan would be reviewed annually.
Liquor suspension, fine
Prior to the committee of the whole meeting, the council — in its role as the city’s liquor commission — levied a $2,000 fine and a suspension of the liquor license for 30 days starting next Tuesday for La Quebrada, 50 N. Spring St., in downtown Elgin.
Councilman Robert Gilliam said these were the toughest penalties he has seen put in place in the 25 years he has served on the liquor commission.
And Mayor Dave Kaptain warned that any violations in the next 12 months more than likely would result in the restaurant and banquet facility losing its license altogether.
Documentation for the liquor commission session stated that the penalties came about because of issues from the last 15 months that included several instances of serving alcohol to minors this February and now-former employees being arrested for selling cocaine to undercover officers in February and April 2011.
The spot occupied by La Quebrada at one time was a mansion, the Gail Borden Public Library, and Ackemann’s Department Store, which moved out in 1985. Past that, the spot has held the restaurants The Library (with The Annex below), Bookbinder’s, Facaccia’s, Marlene’s, Luxur, and finally La Quebrada, which opened in 2006.