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Flossmoor trustees approve 5-year strategic plan

The Flossmoor Village Board unanimously approved a Strategic Plan for 2017-2022 at its meeting Oct. 2,  confident the plan will produce many benefits for the community.
Work on the five-part plan began earlier this year with the assistance from Forrest Consulting of Annapolis, Md.
The plan establishes strategic goals and priorities for the next five years covering finances and services, infrastructure, business, diversity and communications and housing.

“There are two objectives,” said Bridget Wachtel, village manager.  “The plan establishes goals and priorities. We will then develop action plans guided by the strategic goals.”

Mayor Paul Braun said the first three priorities will be the financial, infrastructure and business development components.
“Those are the next steps,” Braun stated.
The plan’s stated goal for finances is for the village to have a balanced budget “enabling first-class delivery of priority services.”  The plan also calls for improvements in the village’s infrastructure and to attract “more healthy businesses and maximum commercial development.”
The other two strategic goals focus on diversity and housing.
Wachtel said the plan identifies “a diverse, united and inclusive community” as a strength. The strategic goal for housing is to “enhance housing stock and increase property values.”
 “I am pleased that our diversity is an aspect of this,” Braun said. “This is a strength of ours. It is highlighted in this plan.”
The five strategic goals included specific tasks for the next five years. These include: 
  • A balanced budget should be achieved with funding for “prioritized services and infrastructure improvement.”  
  • Improvement plans will be needed for areas such as road, water and sewer.  
  • Engage in an economic development program to attract and retain businesses and develop available commercial properties.  
  • Foster a “diverse, united and inclusive community” and building communications with residents.
  • Enhance the housing stock and increasing property values would be accomplished by promoting Flossmoor to attract homebuyers and beautify the downtown area and neighborhoods. 
The document lists action steps for each of the five goals.
A key element in developing the plan was a planning survey that  involved 569 residents, village officials and staff and business owners.  

“The community was involved. This plan is for the people of the village,” said Trustee Brian Driscoll.

Braun also expressed satisfaction with the level of community involvement as the plan was developed.
“We had a significant level of input from the community. This is very important as we move forward,” he said.
The survey produced a list of Flossmoor’s “25 greatest strengths.”  Topping the list was diversity, cited by 11.10 percent of respondents.  Next were schools, 9.9. percent; housing, 8.7 percent; proximity to Metra’s commuter rail service, 8.5 percent, and beauty, 6.3 percent.
Survey respondents also identified the “25 greatest weaknesses,” including high property taxes, declining school quality, low or declining property values, conditions of streets and lack of new businesses.
As with most strategic plans, threats were identified.  Survey respondents said the greatest threats include increasing property taxes, inability to attract and retain businesses, decline in public schools, loss of property values and the inability to balance the budget.
Survey participants were also asked which things “should never change.”  The most common responses were having festivals and events; green space, trees and beauty; arts and sculpture; the character of downtown; and high standards for schools.
The plan identifies “strategic gaps” including lack of revenue, managing misperceptions of the village, Flossmoor’s geographic location in the current south suburban environment, an effective plan to attract businesses and the village’s financial structure.
“This will serve us well,” said Braun.  “We have a great community and now we have a plan in place to do more for Flossmoor.”
The village board also passed a resolution honoring the Chicago South Suburban Mass Transit District on its 50th anniversary. The district serves Flossmoor and 13 other municipalities and throughout its half-century has helped extend the Metra line to University Park and has obtained federal funding for Metra electric rail cars.

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