*Scroll down to view conceptual images
THOUGHTS FROM JENNIFER KONEN –
CANDIDATE FOR SUGAR GROVE VILLAGE PRESIDENT
FAÇADE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
In an effort to support our existing businesses and buildings in Sugar Grove, I propose that we implement a façade program. This type of program is designed to encourage economic investment and revitalization to the businesses and buildings within Sugar Grove.
The appearance of individual buildings, storefronts, signs, window displays, parking lots, and sidewalks establishes the visual character of our community and plays a major role in the success of the business district. Better aesthetics increases property values, improves the marketability of space within buildings and draws clients and residents to the area.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Property and business owners that would like to renovate or upgrade the exterior of their buildings would work in partnership with the Village of Sugar Grove. Funding would be made available (via a matching program). All work would need to be pre-authorized.
While still in the conception stage, examples of improvements could potentially include:
Architectural features (windows, doors, stairs, porches, railings, porches, etc.)
Exterior paint/wall repair
Shutters and awnings
If a building or business owner wishes to improve their façade but are unsure about the appropriate style of improvements needed, design assistance resources would be provided.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
There is so much talk about bringing new economic development and retail in Sugar Grove – this is an exciting way to assist current property and business owners if they are looking for new ways to create a positive visual impact, attract new clients or tenants and make improvements to the whole community.
A Plan to Develop Our Community
One of the most commonly asked questions I get from residents is how will I help our
community grow – and more importantly, how will I bring commercial development to Sugar
For most of us, we moved to Sugar Grove because we liked its proximity to larger cities and
amenities, but embraced the small town, rural quietness that the cornfields and surrounding
forest preserve offered. Commercial development must balance the qualities that we love
about Sugar Grove with our need to create tax revenues for the community.
For over a decade, our current Village President has talked about creating a Town Center
with retail and restaurants along IL Route 47. Plans have been drawn and shared – but little
else done. His plan requires cooperation from three separate parties:
Someone to purchase the land.
A developer willing to invest and construct the buildings.
An end user/buyer.
To date, Sugar Grove has been unsuccessful in finding parties willing to collaborate on this
I share in the vision of having a Village Center for Sugar Grove – a central, public place where
our residents can gather to interact, celebrate, stroll, shop, dine, or just enjoy day-to-day
living. It also creates a destination for non-residents and travelers to stop and spend dollars
within our community.
But you know the saying – sometimes if you want to sail, you have to bring your own wind.
My Inspiration – The Warm Beaches of Florida
One of my favorite places for my family to vacation is Seaside, Florida. Seaside has a
wonderful town center, filled with environmentally-friendly small shops and dining options,
all connected with sidewalks and bike trails. In the center of the square is green space, which
can be used by the community in a myriad of ways. And while I know that we don’t have the
sun, surf and beach of Florida – there are several ways to capture the unique attributes that
make Illinois a year-long attraction.
My Proposal – And How It Is Different From The Previous Plan
The catalyst of my plan begins with us. It begins with our current Village Hall.
Today, Village Hall and Sugar Grove Police Department share a building on Municipal Drive.
However, the police department has long outgrown their space. First, I propose giving the
SGPD the entire Village Hall building, so that they have the room to operate effectively and
Next, I would build a new Village Hall that includes office space for administration, finance,
community development and a board room) on the vacant land in close proximity to Galena
and IL Route 47 – EFFECTIVELY JUMPSTARTING A VILLAGE CENTER PROJECT WITH VILLAGE
The Village of Sugar Grove buys the land.
We make the capital investment to develop the project and infrastructure.
We provide the retail space for businesses and incubator shops to come into Sugar Grove.
Our community is not dependent upon other parties to start our project – we start our own.
Sugar Grove Village Center – My Vision
Our new Village Hall would be located on the second story of a newly-constructed building,
with retail space available below. If a third floor is constructed, it could be utilized for other
commercial uses. Sidewalks and bike paths would connect the buildings, creating a friendly
atmosphere to easily shop, dine and gather.
Green space would be located in the center – used for incubator shops, community
recreation, a more-centralized farmers market and park district programs. Permanent food
trucks would be located around the perimeter of the Village Center, with ample outdoor
dining space available. In the winter months, an ice skating rink would provide recreation
activities and potential year-round revenue streams for several businesses.
On the far end of the Village Center, a structure would be built to support various community
needs, including movie nights, music concerts and rental space for outdoor wedding venues
You Have To Be Creative If You Want To Make Change Happen
We all have thoughts about what we want in our community – but most commonly
heard is that we want our property taxes to go down and the ability to spend more time
in the town which we choose to live.
Our town needs to grow all our revenue streams. Property tax, sales tax, use tax,
income tax, and motor fuel tax – they are all examples of the taxes that we need to
grow in Sugar Grove. We need all types of development to make this a strong, vibrant
The old Town Center concept has been talked about for years. But nothing has been
done. IT’S TIME TO CREATE OUR OWN PATH AND MAKE IT HAPPEN. I provided you
with detailed information on how we get it started. This is just one development idea
that gets us moving in the right direction NOW and makes Sugar Grove relevant.
I will provide additional concept plans every week – stay tuned and engaged!