Carrollton looks at Comprehensive Plan
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By Carmen Ensinger
Carrollton City Council used their monthly workshop on Thursday, Oct. 28 to discuss the city’s Comprehensive Plan that was drawn up when the city was contemplating creating a Tax Increment Financing District in 2019
This Comprehensive Plan was created by Moran Economic Development as a desired vision for the future of the community and to serve as a policy guide for decisions regarding the city.
One of the first goals discussed was concerning the city website.
“At last month’s meeting, I had mentioned that I had spoken to a young man who had said he would be interested in helping us set up our website since he was going to school for website design,” Alderman Larry Gillingham said. “Since then, he has gotten a full time job and is going to school so he doesn’t think he will have the time that it will take to devote to the job so we need to look elsewhere.”
The goal the aldermen had been discussing at the November meeting was making a user-friendly website with a wealth of information that citizens can go to to retrieve information about city government, city businesses, etcetera.
“With all the things we want to do to make it user friendly, it is not going to be free,” Alderman Tim Reif said. “I think we need to start looking at what other cities have and see how much it is going to cost us. We know we want to keep the domain name we have and develop it from there. It is going to be a multi-level process that we can expect to take anywhere from four to six months to complete.”
Another goal the city has been working on which is listed in the Comprehensive Plan is pursuing grant opportunities.
One specific goals is a grant to improve the city’s outdoor recreational facilities. The city has already obtained a grant to build a bike/walking path and most recently submitted for a grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and their Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program. This grant is to update the play equipment at Fry Park, redo the bathrooms, update the tennis courts and make other improvements to the park.
The city is also looking into the applying for the Rebuild Illinois Main Street and Downtown capital program. This program has allotted $50 million to help municipalities and organizations revitalize commercial corridors and main street areas statewide. This is a 100 percent grant meaning the city would not have to put up any matching funds as with the OSLAD grant.
Mayor Mike Snyder said he attended a joint meeting with members of the Carrollton Square Initiative (CSI) and Jaime Headon with Benton and Associates recently do discuss the Rebuild Illinois Grant Process and discuss some possible projects.
“We met, set down and just threw some ideas around,” Snyder said. “I’m just trying to do some PR work – I’m not making any decisions. I think the group we had got a lot accomplished as far as throwing ideas out there as far as what is the most visible and what is going to get the most bang for our buck.”
Another goal mentioned in the plan was to bring broadband internet to the area. While broadband is not yet available, earlier this year the city was one of 12 communities in the state to receive grant money to implement a broadband internet accessibility plan from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The city was granted $15,000 to create a strategic plan to build broadband capacity in its city limits. The grant program is aimed at some of the state’s most under-served areas when it comes to internet broadband access.
The money for the second cohort of the program was a 50/50 partnership between the state and philanthropic support from the Evanston based Benton Institute for Broadband and Society and other unnamed local entities. The city conducted a special committee meeting Tuesday morning regarding broadband.
Other goals included upgrades to the water and sewer system. The city broke ground this summer on its new water tower and once that is completed, work will commence on the new water plant.
“If you go over this list, we have accomplished eight of these goals listed on this plan,” Alderman Gary Witt said. “That is not too bad for just two years.”