Illinois Main Street Council

Minutes of the September 8, 2005 Meeting


(Subject to approval at the next scheduled meeting)


Call to Order: Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, Chair, called the 23rd meeting of the Council to order at 2:00 p.m. in his Chicago office.


Roll Call: Per roll call taken by Wendy Bell, members present in addition to Lieutenant Governor Quinn were: Mark Harris for Director Lavin, Mike Jackson for Director Coomer; Sue Klinkhamer, Mary Blankenbaker, and Carolyn Oxtoby via Conference Call.


Other attendees: Wendy Bell, IMS Coordinator and Les Cavada and Anna Margaret Borntrager, IMS Staff.


Call to Order and Opening Remarks:

Lt. Governor Quinn asked for a motion on the minutes of the June 1, 2005 meeting. Sue Klinkhamer made the motion to accept the minutes as written and approval was made by acclamation.


Review & Progress Report Report:

Lieutenant Governor Quinn complimented Wendy Bell on her presentation to the United Business Association for Midway that morning.

Bell reported on the Application Workshops that were completed, noting that the numbers interested seem to be at a record high, though this number cannot be confirmed. The Application Workshops generated eleven “Intents to Apply” which then mean an on-site Assessment Visit to the community.


Bell and Borntrager explained what an Assessment Visit entails. Visits include an architect as well as the Coordinator, meeting with a group of the interested people, questions, answers and clarifications on the application, a walk-around of the proposed district, and photographs.


Mary Blankenbaker asked about the proposed neighborhood programs – whether or not a Main Street had to be a town. Wendy explained that other large cities in other states currently have neighborhood programs including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Boston. A neighborhood program was tried in Chicago previously but it was an initiative of the National Main Street Center, coming from the top down rather than the grassroots up, and for various reasons it was unsuccessful.


Basic Training was held in two locations, Batavia and Mt. Vernon. The Lieutenant Governor asked about attendance. Bell noted that last year we had it in one location, Bloomington, and the attendance was similar between the two years but the evening board training sessions were larger.


The Director's Workshop was held in July in Southern Illinois with a tourism focus. This began at their award-winning conference facility with presentations by representatives from DCEO, the Southwestern IL Bureau of Tourism, Central Illinois Tourism Bureau, Department of Agriculture and Peddles and Paddles. The following day was a rolling tour which included the Chocolate Factory, Dam Houses and lunch in Golconda; hiking in Garden of the Gods, a staged hold-up at Cave in Rock, viewed the new riverwalk and boarded the river taxi at Rosiclare and dinner on the lawn of the Rose Hotel in Elizabethtown. Borntrager and Cavada expressed that everyone enjoyed the hospitality.


Bell thanked Les Cavada for his efforts on Main Street Day at the Illinois State Fair. Cavada reported the event included a walking/talking Main Street Max, who passed out over 3,000 postcards that included our website. Over 500 people signed up for drawings/gifts provided by the towns. Gifts have to be picked up in the town, generating traffic there, and the entrees provided a database for all towns to send more information to. Fifteen towns sent items for display.


The 2005 Fall Conference will be held in Springfield beginning with the Plenary Session in the Old State Capitol. The Opening Reception will be in the Presidential Museum. Concurrent sessions will be split between the Presidential Library, the Reading Room in the Old State Capitol and the Great Room in the Journal Register Building. Dinner is scheduled for the National City Bank Building.


The E-Bay Fundraiser is an online auction for our towns to utilize as a fundraiser. We are the first state program to try this. No money is coming to the Lieutenant Governor's office and the money is exchanged between Marketworks, the software company and the local program. Bell passed out copies of the sample pages and explained how the towns will participate. She went through the timetable for the program which would kick-off with a press event with the Lieutenant Governor. There will be a link from our website to the e-bay site.

Bell reported that the National Trust Main Street Center called and Illinois is “on the short list” for the 2009 Conference. They plan to visit in November to assess the facilities. She also reported that the 2006 Conference is in New Orleans and although the city is devastated by Katrina, at this point plans are still on to hold the conference there.


A dozen communities applied for a Wireless Main Street grant of $20,000. In the end, we gave two. One went to Quincy for free access in the downtown area extending to the park along the river. The merchants are supporting the maintenance of the system and will receive advertising on it for their support. The second location was Mt. Vernon which utilized a number of partnerships and will cover emergency response services as well as the downtown area.


Design Services:

Mike Jackson reported that six planning grants were presented for architectural assistance for Transportation Enhancement grants. Towns awarded were: Aledo, Pittsfield, Marion, Orion, Paxton, and Cambridge.


Design team members have visited twenty-one communities and eighteen projects have been completed since we met last time. The Lieutenant Governor asked Anna Margaret about the ones she worked on. She talked about the process and how sometimes it's necessary and important to adapt to the property owner's wishes.


Mike introduced “Build Your Own” which was a joint project of the summer architectural intern and Carol Dyson. This allows the viewer to download and print out a building and then fold it to stand-up. “Color Your Own Mainstreet” is the additional site which has coloring pages of Main Street buildings.

Another summer intern did a research report on sign ordinances.


Darius Bryjka has been working with the “Got Mesker?” initiative, cataloging downtown buildings throughout Illinois that have Mesker storefronts. Darius has met with the grandson of the owner, who came to visit our display at the State Fair.


Jackson pointed out that four Illinois towns (Danville, Jacksonville, Pittsfield and Bloomington) received Driehaus Preservation Awards this year from the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.

Mike informed the council he learned this week that AFSCME doesn't want employees on contract after the first of the year. Our Main Street project designers are on contract though funding has been in place from the Opportunity Returns program. AFSCME has signed off on these contracts before but now we need to make an effort to get the headcount.

Lieutenant Governor Quinn asked about the status of the DuPage Theatre. Jackson said the showdown is between the City and the Friends of the DuPage. The City has turned down two grants for it. The most recent info is the City is looking at demolishing the site and then turning it over to the Library to build a new library. Wendy noted this is a difficult situation for us as the DuPage Theatre is the only nationally registered building in downtown Lombard and Lombard is an Associate Program. One of the designation criteria is a historic preservation ethic and it's questionable concerning the circumstances.

Quinn also asked about the Jacksonville Labor Temple. Jackson said the fire didn't demolish anything that wasn't going to be taken out anyway. He is concerned about getting the roof on keeping the momentum on the project.

Discussion and Approvals/Disapprovals of Associate Level Applicants

Bell presented the Council with a list of the scores and a map showing where the towns are at. She noted this is a diverse group of applicants. Applicants include: Abingdon, Benton, Clearing/United Business Association of Midway, DuQuoin, Portage Park/Six Corners, Rockford, West Frankfort. She summarized each location's assets and challenges. Quinn asked Bell her recommendations on the seven locations. Bell said she liked all of them. The Tiered System is working well; the towns are familiar with the Main Street program and understand the basics. She also said we have some “deadwood and driftwood” programs that may not continue in the program and so in the end, the numbers may be nearly what they are now. Quinn noted it's an ambitious agenda and would be record-breaking and ground-breaking. Mary Blankenbaker moved to accept all seven, Mike Jackson seconded.

Date for Next Quarterly Meeting

Date for the next meeting was set for December 15 th .


Lt. Governor Quinn called for a motion for adjournment. Made by Mary Blankenbaker, seconded by Mike Jackson. Meeting Adjourned at 3:45 p.m.