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City of Warrenville
28W701 Stafford Place
Warrenville, IL 60555
Ph: 630-393-9427
Strategic/Economic Development Plan
Overview
As the economy and real estate market evolves into a “new normal” and municipal government revenue sources are continuously challenged and stretched, it is vital that Warrenville plans to ensure the long-term stability of the City. One of the most significant ways to affect positive change is through economic development. Warrenville has proven that clear, well thought out, and integrated plans and policies are more likely to lead to positive outcomes than when such planning is not performed. This is evident by simply comparing the successful Cantera Development against the lack of new development along the Route 59 corridor. Developing an economic development component with the City’s Strategic/Economic Development Plan will be vital to ensure that staff, appointed officials, and elected officials have the proper policy tools to respond to Warrenville’s ever-changing economic base.

The objective of the strategic/economic development planning process is to provide the City with a Strategic/Economic Development Plan that identifies and prioritizes the issues, initiatives, and projects the City will focus its resources on in the coming years. The final plan will include clear and concise action steps designed to achieve the City’s desired outcomes. The overall planning process has been structured to include a focused economic development component that will drive the development and implementation of City policies and activities intended to enhance the economic health of the community. The planning process will provide opportunities for input from resident, business, City official, and otherstakeholders. Planned input opportunities include a citywide survey of residents, and interviews and focus group meetings with representatives of the business community, community organizations, City Council, City staff, and other specialized stakeholders. 

Focused Economic Development Component
While the City has made a more concerted and coordinated effort to focus on economic development related issues over the last several years. This effort, at times, has lacked structure and focus. As a result, the City’s economic development strategy has been more reactionary than proactive. Although the City has been faring well in the current economy, it does not have a clear vision of what its economic development policies, activities, and objectives are or should be. In order for the City to maintain current service levels long term, proactively maintain and replace its infrastructure, and address the evolving concerns and desires of the community, it is essential for the City to clearly define what it can and should do to support existing business growth and attract new businesses into the City.

Economic Development was consistently rated throughout the community outreach activities as one of the highest priorities for the City to address. The strategic/economic development planning process will address this concern by incorporating a detailed and highly structured economic development component designed to enhance citywide awareness and institutional knowledge on the subject and obtain detailed resident, business, community organization, and City input on economic development.

Final Strategic Plan
The final Strategic/Economic Development Plan will be a practical guide that will include action steps and the resources required to complete those action steps and achieve identified, desired outcomes. The Strategic/Economic Development Plan will include the following: 
  1. Goals: Broad and general end results that the City envisions, plans and commits to achieve.
  2. Objectives: Measurable, concrete end results accomplished by following a certain number of steps.
  3. Action Steps: Specific steps to be taken to achieve specified objective. Action steps will be clear, incremental, practical, and will resemble work plans.
  4. Resources Required: List of human and financial resources, as well as tools, knowledge and other inputs required to complete each action step.
  5. Timeline: Each objective will have a timeline that identifies when the action steps required to accomplish each objective should begin and the expected time of completion for each objective.

City Council Workshop
Council Workshop
Council workshop.
On February 24, 2014, the City Council engaged in a special Economic Development 101 workshop as part of the Strategic/Economic Development planning process. This workshop involved a discussion on what economic development is and what it might look like in Warrenville. It was the Council’s first step in thinking about priorities and goals as it relates to economic development for the community. The City Council workshop generated lively discussion and united the group in a common goal – plan for economic development. This meeting was open to the public and several observers did attend.

Resident Input
The City’s second community survey was mailed out in late August 2013. A total of 1,378 surveys were mailed and 325 were returned. The objective of this survey was to help the City assess satisfaction with City services, assess residents’ desire to pay for additional services, and gain insight on resident desire for type and amount of development.

The survey indicated that while citizens are generally satisfied with the quality and level of services provided by the City, there are two areas that stand out in both the data and commentary that respondents feel require additional attention: economic development and lowering taxes. Both data responses and commentary proved that these two were linked in that respondents believe that generating economic development will lead to lowering taxes.

The next two issues in which residents feel there is a need for improvement are flooding and/or stormwater control and maintaining or even enhancing public safety, and in particular, addressing gangs and drugs. From a property maintenance perspective, citizens generally do not see a need for change, except in the area of vacant and foreclosed properties, and over occupancy. These sentiments were evident in both the data and the commentary. Listed among the advantages to living in Warrenville were Natural Settings, Location, Trails & Paths, Friendliness of Residents, Safety, and Small Town Character. The detailed report can be viewed at the link to the right under Quick Links. Also available under Quick Links is a report regarding the 2012 Neighborhood Dialogues.

Specialilzed Stakeholder Input
Following the initial step of gathering resident input, the City collected perspectives and insights from specialized stakeholder groups and synthesized it into this Specialized Stakeholder Strategic Plan Input Report. The purpose of this Specialized Stakeholder Strategic Plan Input report is to augment information used to draft the initial priorities and goals originating from the Resident Strategic Plan Input Report. This information will ultimately help the City flush out objectives and determine the resources needed and the action steps to be taken to achieve each desired outcome.

In April 2014, the City met with the overlapping taxing bodies and then in May, the City hosted two input meetings; the first with representatives from the City’s various boards and commissions as well as the Emergency Management Agency (EMA). The second, for community organizations, which included invitations to the Warrenville Historical Society, all churches, homeowners associations, youth groups, and community volunteer groups. In early June 2014, the City’s consultant met with of each of the City’s departments.It should be noted that participant turn out for both the appointed officials group and Community Organizations group was low. Therefore, the feedback provided in the input meetings for both groups is representative of a relatively small number of people.The detailed report can be viewed at the link to the right under Quick Links.

Economic Development White Paper and Input Report
The next step in this process was to focus efforts on the economic development component of this plan. The City's consultant was tasked with the responsibility of developing a white paper that examined the economic conditions and opportunities in Warrenville and the surrounding area. They also met with the local businesses and the development community. This work yielded two documents; the Economic Development White Paper and the Economic Development Input Report. Both were presented to the Public Safety Committee on October 13, 2014. The City Council subsequently endorsed the Economic Development Input Plan on October 20, 2014. Both documents can be viewed at the links to the right under Quick Links.

City Council Input
In October, the City's consultant conducted one-on-one interviews with each member of City Council to get their input on the evolving Strategic/Economic Development Plan. This input was collected and presented in the final input report - the City Council Strategic Plan Input Report. The detailed report can be viewed at the link to the right under Quick Links.

On December 8, 2014, the City Council met as a whole to do their closing workshop. During this meeting, they divided into groups of three, in which they reviewed the draft goal statements that were formulated throughout the process (and can be found in each input report). They also reviewed and prioritized the objectives for each goal statement. This information will be used by the consultant and assigned staff to develop the first draft of the Strategic/Economic Development Input Report, which will be presented at a Committee of the Whole meeting.

Final Approval
At the March 9, 2015, Community Development Committee meeting, staff presented the final draft of the 2015 Strategic Plan and the Economic Development Plan. City Council asked several questions and made suggestions for edits and clarification. At the March 23, 2015, Finance Committee meeting, those edits were presented to the Committee and both plans were recommended for approval by City Council. At the April 7, 2015, City Council meeting the 2015 Strategic Plan and the Economic Development Plan were approved. To view either plan, use the Quick Links feature to the right.