Long-range Plan Adopted with Environmental Action

On Tuesday, September 5, 2023, the Downers Grove Village Council formally adopted the Long-range Plan for the next two years with several action items of interest to PDHA.

First and very significantly, a Village Environmental Sustainability Plan is to be prepared with the assistance of a revived Environmental Commission and a soon to be hired staff person with environmental expertise. This Sustainability Plan is to be developed in conjunction with a revised Village Comprehensive Plan and other plans, including a revised bikeway and pedestrian plan. In addition, the long-range plan includes a review of village tree planting policies and practices, and consideration of a private tree protection ordinance. The titles and expected work schedule for these items are summarized in the chart below, and full descriptions may be found at 2023-2025 Long Range Plan.

2023-25 Action Items

The long-range plan was adopted following an extensive public input process in which PDHA participated along with Greener Grove, the DG Bicycle Club, and other organizations and individuals. It was adopted by a 6 to 1 vote. Multiple Commissioners specifically asked for our continued involvement in the process and there will be many opportunities for input going forward, especially as to what will be included in the Sustainability Plan. It will be based in part on the Greenest Region Compact which the Village joined earlier this year.

All in all a good outcome including initiatives we have sought for years, but of course only the beginning of a long process.

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Memorials For Betty Cheever & Nan Newlon

Pierce Downer's Heritage Alliance has created memorials to honor former Village of Downers Grove Mayor Betty Cheever and the Village's former Public Works Director Nan Newlon.

Betty Cheever is being honored for her lifetime of civic leadership. Betty was active in the League Betty Cheeverof Women Voters, serving as President of
                                                          Plaquethe Downers-Grove-Woodridge-Lisle Chapter during 1969-1973, as well as serving as a judge of elections for many years.  Betty chaired the Downers Grove Plan Commission before being elected as Downers Grove's Mayor, 1983-1999. As Mayor, Betty Cheever played a key role in achieving public ownership of the Lyman Woods Preserve. Dedication of Betty Cheever's memorial Buttonbush and plaque at the Downers Grove Public Library took place on Saturday, September 10, which would have been Betty's 94th birthday.

Nan Newlon, Public Works Director from 2009 to 2019, emphasized environmental sustainability in the  Village's public works, pioneering many green initiativeNan's Treees such as solar panels iNan Newlonn village facilities, green fleet of hybrid and Compressed-Natural-Gas vehicles, rain gardens and pollinator gardens, recycling events, and sale events for rain barrels and native trees. Through her efforts, the Village received numerous awards for good planning and environmentally friendly practices.  A dedication ceremony was held on May 22 for Nan Newlon's Shingle Oak tree along with her memorial plaque in the parkway adjoining the playground & naturalized stormwater management area in the multipurpose park at 2nd Street & Cumnor Avenue. 

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Gelwicks Park Plans Include Area Around Belmont Prairie

Belmont Prairie Map The Downers Grove Park District is in the planning phase for development of Gelwicks Park along Walnut Street between Burlington and Ogden Avenue (an area previously called Walnut Park).

The District is looking at a combination of active recreation facilities in the northern portion of the park, and enhancements to the  buffer zone for the Illinois Nature Preserve Belmont Prairie in the southern portion, with a nature center facility to provide a location for educational programs. The buffer zone improvements and associated plans offer a real opportunity to improve management of this natural area and highlight Belmont Prairie as an outstanding quality natural resource for Downers Grove. PDHA is following this planning process and we look forward to the next steps.

One of the next steps is expanded public communications about this planning effort. The Park District has posted information about the Gelwicks Park plans and is seeking public input through their website. Information about the Park District's planning process is available at  https://www.dgparks.org/Gelwicks-Park-master-plan where there is also a feedback form for your comments. 

Click here for a good conceptual overview in Bill McAdam's presentation  to the Park Board at its meeting on September 16, along with  comments by Ken Lerner on behalf of PDHA.

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