Niles Economic Development & Neighborhood Renewal Commission discusses proposed Home Design District
Niles Economic Development & Neighborhood Renewal Commission met Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Here are the minutes as provided by Niles:
Commission for Economic Development and Neighborhood Renewal
South Milwaukee Revitalization Sub-Committee Meeting
Wednesday February 8th, 2017
Village of Niles Administration Building
Attendees: Ross Klicker, Andrew Przybylo, Mike Shields, Alan Zielinski, Barb Karawacki (representing the Niles Chamber of Commerce)
Not Attending: Chuck Ostman, Katie Schneider
Meeting was called to order at approximately 3:35pm. Ross Klicker handed out the agenda.
Ross asked if anyone had any questions.
Barb Karawacki asked if the proposed ‘Home Design District’ would be limited to businesses just between Oakton and Howard on Milwaukee Ave. Mike Shields replied that this question was discussed at the meeting on January 25th and that the members said that the ‘District’ would include other current home-related businesses south of Milwaukee Ave. Shields added though that the map of the ‘Home Design District’ would likely emphasize the walkable section, including a parking lot, of the proposed ‘Home Design District’ between Howard and Oakton although nothing has been officially decided at this time. Shields also mentioned that West Hartford Connecticut, which also has a “Home Design District’, does include several businesses not on that District’s main thoroughfare - New Park Ave.
Mayor Przybylo then opened a discussion regarding the name ‘Home Design and improvement District’ which the meeting on January 25th had tentatively proposed and agreed to – including the word ‘Improvement’ to try to further emphasize the ‘home improvement’ nature of the businesses in the Home Design District’. The Mayor said that he favored a “Less Is More’ approach on the name for the District and added that he thought that the simpler ‘Home Design District’ name would work better to accommodate signage and branding. He did say that the word Improvement might be included in other communications about this new ‘Home Design District’. The group agreed that the Mayor’s suggestion for the ‘less is more’ name would be fine; Shields then handed out several communications on the West Hartford ‘Home Design District’ in which those words appeared in a modern stylized font along with a very clever image of a home to reinforce the District’s focus. The Mayor reiterated that this ‘less is more’ approach that West Hartford is using would also work well for Niles. Ross showed the group several ‘home images’ previously used here in Niles on other committees with at least one including a diagonal line signifying Milwaukee Ave.
The Mayor continued the discussion focusing on ‘next step’ and said that he agreed that the early development and administration of this new Home Design District’ should be done by Village, the Chamber of Commerce, and a representative number of business owners in the proposed District (the same ‘triad’ that the meeting on 1/25/17 had suggested). He agrees that the Village should not ultimately managethe ‘Home Design District’ here in Niles but rather an association of business owners in the District, operating the association perhaps under a separate 501 charter. To that end, he asked Ross to find out from the West Hartford ‘Home Design District’ association what the charter of the West Hartford ‘Home Design District’ included and to hire a lawyer to help draft a charter for a ‘Home Design District’ in Niles on Milwaukee Ave, including certain clauses that the District should strive to be made up of independent business owners and that the association members be asked to contribute to the marketing and administration of the new Home Design District as recommended by the District’s governing body. The Mayor did say that the Village could help (contribute) with start up costs including initial legal work, design work for the brand and marketing, and a website. He estimated the startup costs to be about $5K and that amount should be included in the upcoming FY Budget.
The Mayor said that once a Charter is drafted and the structure of the ‘Home Design District’ and its administration are spelled out in writing then he could bring the proposal to the Village Board (and the public). He said he wants to move on this.
The discussion did not strictly follow the outline of the agenda but did touch the key topics that needed to be covered. Several questions were posed by Mike Shields:
* Will the new proposed ‘Home Design District’ be welcomed by Home Depot? The consensus around the table was that it will be as more home design and improvement customers, from not just Niles but the surrounding northern and northwest suburbs, will come into Niles to see and shop in the “Home Design District’ and one of the places they may ultimately shop at for improvement products and supplies is Home Depot.
* How do we ensure that a certain classy and high customer-focused ethos is adhered to by the businesses in the ‘Home Design District’? The general consensus was that businesses owners with that customer-oriented personal service approach will gravitate to the District – not the lower end high discount businesses.
Finally the Mayor brought up the idea of taking a house in need of rehab in Niles and develop a team of businesses and citizens that will go in and create a model newly rehabbed house, complete with the latest in electronics etc. The idea would be use this newly rehabbed house, with strong Village and ‘Home District’ involvement and sponsorship, as an example of the possibilities on many houses in Niles and elsewhere. This rehab idea would tie into Lynda Stoops ‘Improve Housing’ subcommittee as an example of what could be done in Niles and how it might be achieved.
The next meeting of this sub-committee was called for Wednesday February 22nd at 3:30pm in the Village Hall.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 4:25pm.
Organizations in this Story
1000 Civic Center Drive
Niles, IL 60714