Minooka officials held a business focus group last week to gather community input as part of the village’s comprehensive plan update process. A comprehensive plan is a document used to guide a municipality as it grows and develops.
The business focus group, put on by the village of Minooka and the urban planning and design firm Houseal and Lavigne, took place in a virtual format because of the ongoing pandemic. Among those attending the meeting included leaders from U.S. Cold Storage, Marquette Properties and the Minooka-Channahon Chamber of Commerce.
Several said they believe Minooka has done a good job with keeping up with infrastructure needs over the years. Pete Fleming of Marquette Properties gave kudos to the village for ensuring that planning is prioritized. Matt Reed of U.S. Cold Storage said he believes the village has potential for future logistics development, in part, because of the proximity to I-55 and I-80.
Not like the neighboring villages of Channahon and Shorewood, Minooka has a downtown area. Fleming said Minooka has a solid downtown core to build off as it tries to establish itself as a destination. He said Shorewood and Channahon would kill for a downtown like Minooka’s.
Christina Van Yperen of the Minooka-Channahon Chamber of Commerce said Minooka has a lot to offer. She said it is clear that small business owners have demonstrated they are drawn to do business in town.
Like every community, Minooka has its share of issues. Superintendent of Public Works Ryan Anderson acknowledged that the village’s building and zoning codes are strict compared to communities in central and southern Illinois and said officials get a lot of criticism about them.
Van Yperen said the downtown area has an area of opportunity to diversify the village’s tax base to include more retail businesses. “There’s not a lot of the business that would encourage foot traffic,” she said. “There’s definitely restaurants, but I think there should be some more retail that we could partner with to make it even flourish more.”
The village intends to review the input gathered from the business focus group to help inform future planning. A draft copy of the village’s comprehensive plan update is expected to be ready in February 2021.