Industrial parts of Morton Grove are due for a face-lift, and fortunately for residents’ thin wallets, much of the diagnostic work will be free to the village with the help of a $50,000 grant.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) announced recently that Morton Grove’s “Industrial Areas Plan” proposal qualifies as a higher priority project in its Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program. Village officials submitted a proposal to CMAP in January; you can read more about it here.
This means the regional planning organization, with the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will give free consulting and technical help to enact new plans for Morton Grove.
According to Community and Economic Director John Said, this amounts to a $50,000 value for the village.
Pete Saunders, a senior planner at CMAP, said in an interview with Patch on Monday that Morton Grove officials asked for guidance with a new land-use plan in some areas of the town.
“Village officials identified a certain amount of obsolescence, and they felt that there are some properties that should be industrial and some that should not be,” Saunders said. “They want us to take a look at that, and figure out what would be the best mix of that.”
Saunders said the decision to include Morton Grove as a “higher priority” project was influenced by the real need in the community and the quality of the proposal submitted by village officials.
“This is an opportunity for Morton Grove to have a proactive plan for the future of our industrial properties, and to utilize the resources and expertise of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, said Village President Dan Staackmann.
Of 220 project proposals, CMAP chose 64 organizations’ plans as higher priority projects that require immediate funding. Nearby communities such as Niles, Des Plaines and Evanston were chosen as higher priority projects as well.
“The prioritization process was based on a variety of criteria including need, geographic diversity, and project readiness,” said CMAP’s Deputy Executive Director for Local Planning Robert Dean in a statement on March 10.
Dean also cautioned that CMAP may not start projects in every community immediately, but does intend to meet with village planners soon to “develop a scope of work and strategy” for the collaboration in the next few weeks.
“Like CMAP, we believe that communities such as Morton Grove with built-up environments merit more attention to address future trends and possible changes in their towns,” said Community and Economic Director John Said.
“This project will provide a valuable service to the community without cost to Morton Grove taxpayers. This is a key win for Morton Grove as a no-cost way to help the community determine how to best manage its industrial areas in the future," said Said.
Village officials intend to hold public meetings to hear any residents suggestions for the future plans, and Said noted that groups such as the Economic Development Commission, Planning Commission and Morton Grove Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be key participants in this process.
“I think it is going to mean a lot for Morton Grove because it really means we’re raising the bar for the land-use regulatory environment throughout the region,” said Saunders.
“This can lead to better development, better quality of life for residents, better ways to get to work, better places to work and better homes," he continued.
"It won’t happen overnight but Morton Grove has every reason to be excited.”