Municipal professionals representing over twenty Chicago area towns
converged on the Village of Downers Grove for the tenth-annual MDRN summer workshop. The event, which this year focused on leadership in sustainable urban design, commenced at Village Hall where Village Manager David Fieldman among others provided welcoming remarks to the 50-plus planning and design professionals in attendance. Thankfully, the scattered thunderstorms that dominated in the early morning gave way to clear skies by the time our group embarked on the 1.5-mile walking tour.
Director of Public Works Nan Newlon, highlighted a couple of the Village's recent green infrastructure projects including Washington Park, a multifunctional stormwater retention basin and recreational facility, and Grove Street, a comprehensive road reconstruction project that incorporates traffic calming elements, a rain garden and permeable pavers that replicate the look of the original, brick street.
Director of Community Development, Stan Popovich also provided an
insider’s perspective of the planning and development of two transit-oriented design (TOD) projects located in the village's central business district. Main & Maple (a 115-unit mixed-use development with 4K sqft of retail) and Burlington Station (an 89-unit development) are both presently under construction with anticipated completions in 2018.
MDRN Advisory Committee Members Laurie Marston, Scott Mangum and Jean Spagnoli also facilitated small group discussions designed for attendees to share and contrast the Village’s efforts with projects in their own communities. These conversations continued through lunch at a brewpub located on Downers Grove's Main Street.
Thanks again to our hosts, attendees and volunteers for making this a terrific learning experience! We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event.