Council Plots Naperville's Course

Article excerpt

Byline: Jake Griffin Daily Herald Staff Writer

Figuring out what to do was easy. Deciding how to do it was the hard part.

Naperville's city council spent two-thirds of its four-hour workshop debating the best course of action to tackle the upcoming fiscal year's strategic plan initiatives and the remaining time determining what those goals should be.

Almost every word in the city's strategic plan was combed over during the meeting. Every three years, the council picks over the document to make sure it is up-to-date and clear.

Some councilmen believe it has become unwieldy over time.

"I wish we would shorten the heck out of this thing," Councilman James Boyajian said. "It's just too big."

The document contains the city's mission statement, value statement, legacy statement and seven separate definitions and strategies for categories the 23 strategic goals fall under.

The meeting ran so long, only six of the nine council members stuck it out for the duration.

In the end, the city's strategic goals remained at 23 for the coming year, a feat the council has rarely accomplished since starting the practice in 1999, when there were only 19 strategic goals. The figure was stabilized by combining several of the transportation goals.

Transportation goals dropped from five last year to two this year.

The big push this year came from Councilman Mary Ellingson, who led a charge to change the wording on many of the goals from "study" to "finalize" or "implement."

"I'm trying to get us to move from studying all the time to implementing some of these policies," she said.

Both business life and residential life vision categories have five goals each in the coming year's strategic plan. Many of the items are holdovers from the previous year, but new initiatives include evaluating greater security infrastructure in commercial zones for business goals and studying the area around the Fifth Avenue train station for redevelopment potential for residential goals.

The coming year's business life strategic goals call for the Naperville Development Partnership to work with the city on several projects. However, that met with some consternation from at least one councilman.

"As long as we still have those large buildings along the freeway empty, we need to keep the feet to the fire of the NDP folks," Richard Furstenau said. "It bothers me when I see them working on anything else."

Other new goals include studying the effect of imposing parking impact fees and even studying regulation of the types of business that come to downtown. …