Moving to the Future
In 2018 DG Township Supervisor Mark Thoman worked with the Village of Downers Grove to align Township properties in Downers Grove with the Village Zoning Ordinance. Supervisor Thoman petitioned for all parcels to be consolidated and rezoned to a single INP-1 — small institutional — parcel. Downers Grove Township does not have the built-out space and parking for what is currently needed, so several months ago the Township hired an engineering firm and architect to study the existing building and site, to see how it might be maximized for space usage, and how open land on the west side might be utilized. The Space Study and Site Master Plan Report is available here.
The Township has challenges:
- Parking is inadequate. Pictured is a typical Monday and Friday at the Township. Go to “Street Level” Google Maps to see for yourself. The Township needs more parking, but doesn’t have extra millions to build underground compensatory storm water storage. An estimate using permeable pavers is well over $430,000 to build the parking spaces needed.
- Meeting space is too small to meet needs. The basement is not publicly accessible for meeting space, and remodeling to ADA compliance is complicated and fiendishly expensive.
- The FISH Food Pantry is not able to be fully open to the public. It’s in the basement, which does not have public, ADA compliant access.
- More effective storm water compensation. Parts of the property are in Local Poor Drainage Areas – LPDA’s. Further studies are needed to determine the current state of Base Flood Elevations, and exact water table elevations.
The Township also has opportunities:
- CHSD99 North Campus is looking for outdoor lab space for STEM Environmental Science classes. The Township intends to support the high school and provide them with space for this hands-on lab work. This would involve, in part. returning a notable portion of turf lawn back to native prairie, providing students a nearby convenient real-world laboratory, and providing the Township with a Best Management Practices area for storm water absorption.
- Garden Works is a 501(c)(3) that provides, at no charge, 4’ by 8’ raised bed vegetable gardens to those in need. We have begun referring Assistance recipients to this charity, as has the FISH Food Pantry. The Township has proposed installing several units on our west side so that seniors have a convenient place to garden, and so we can grow vegetables for the food pantry, providing food for the hungry.
- There are new concepts in parking lot design that allow for BMP treatment of excess storm water. The Township can provide a working example to other commercial and government entities how parking lots can be cost-effective storm water control devices.
- The state of Illinois has committed to renewable energy sources. The Township has researched green energy and finds a clear and compelling opportunity to use a one-time capital project investment in Photovoltaic Solar – PV Solar – to provide recurring monthly savings on electric bills, saving taxpayers money.
The Township is an efficient, low cost unit of government providing services to all residents of the Township at a minimal cost. Needs include significantly more meeting space, more parking, and easier access to the FISH Food Pantry.