Opportunity Abounds on Tudor Court
Community engagement is one of those things that really brings a project to life. Along those lines, few things are more exciting for me as Village Manager than the opportunity to watch residents, business owners, Village staff and committee and commission volunteers come together to make the community better for everyone. The Tudor Court Design Review Process has been such an experience so far—and I am eager to see what comes next as we host the Tudor Court Placemaking Public Open House next Monday, November 13 at Writers Theatre (325 Tudor Court) at 6 p.m.
As a point of background, Tudor Court was identified in the recently adopted Downtown Plan as an opportunity for the Village to consider the concept of “placemaking” (think: special streetscapes, public artwork and seating). During the comprehensive Downtown Tune up discussions that concluded last year, our Plan Commission spent hours talking about and considering how we might make incremental, but important, improvements to certain areas in our downtown, with the intent of underscoring the uniqueness of Glencoe, and capitalizing on the many really great elements that exist already.
Historically, while Tudor Court was the long-time home of the Women’s Library Club and several Glencoe businesses, it was never “the” place to be in our downtown in the way Park or Vernon Avenues had been and remain today. In the past few years however, that has started to change – thanks to the construction of the new Writers Theatre center in 2016 and several thriving businesses that have filled in vacant storefronts. Given that Writers Theatre is welcoming thousands of visitors to our community, and we are in the midst of a resurgence of businesses of all kinds in our downtown, Tudor Court was identified as a place where we might create public and semi-public spaces that encourage social exchanges (think: meeting a friend or having a picnic) as well as economic exchanges (think: enjoying a meal on new outdoor patio or stopping in a thriving, locally owned shop before heading to a show). We also think Tudor Court might be a place where people gather for other things, like a street festival, on a more regular basis throughout the year. In short, we see a tremendous amount of potential here. Opportunity really does abound!
To help determine the types of placemaking elements that best represent our community, the Village has continued to work with our long-term planning consultants Teska Associates (with whom we worked closely on the Downtown Tune Up process), to facilitate community engagement in this area. Working with Teska, the Village created the Tudor Court Stakeholder Focus Group to develop a shared understanding of Tudor Court, focused on “big picture” items related to use, functions, activities and aesthetics. Learn more about the process they’ve undergone and themes that have developed thus far here.
While the Focus Group is inclusive of representatives from several Tudor Court businesses, Writers Theatre, the Women’s Library Club, Glencoe Park District, the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce and homeowners adjacent to Tudor Court, we are now at the point in the process where we want to include the broader community and gather their input as well. As such, I invite you to join me and your neighbors at the Open House on Monday. Participants will be presented with an array of design elements that could (or might not – that’s why we want to hear from you) be integrated into this corridor. These are concepts that Teska and the focus group have worked together to develop and feedback will ultimately be incorporated into a final set of design concepts that we anticipate presenting to the Village Board later this winter. Can’t attend the Open House? We will work to ensure that this information – and a way to comment on it – will be available on our website. In short, we want to hear from you.
I hope to see you there!