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ELMWOOD PARK — The Village Board unanimously adopted a 5-year strategic plan for the operations and success of the village after a 45-minute presentation Thursday by Administrator Christophe Jenkins, who facilitated the process.

The Strategic Planning Committee was comprised of eight members — four village trustees and four village residents — and met from December through this month. In a room packed with residents at Thursday’s board meeting, Jenkins highlighted the new mission statement for the village and five values the village government will hold itself accountable to for its residents:

The mission statement read: “The Village of Elmwood Park is committed to providing a high standard of living to all residents by offering quality municipal services along with creating a safe, healthy and active environment in a park-like setting.”

The five adopted values are:

  • A strong sense of community.
  • A safe and healthy community.
  • A park-like atmosphere.
  • Strong infrastructure.
  • Fiscally responsible community for both residents and government.

Each of the values were supported by detailed statements and bullet points on ways they could be achieved.

Also adopted Thursday was a new organizational chart for the village, allocating more of the day-to-day operations to the village administrator while giving vital supporting roles to the Village Board of Trustees.

“This new line of communication holds people accountable and gives a clear direction for addressing villagers’ concerns as they arise,” Jenkins said.

Infrastructure upgrades

On the infrastructure side, estimates for tackling four road projects over the next five years were detailed. Oak Tree Lane, East Elmwood Drive, South Elmwood Drive and Elm Tree Court were proposed for upgrading at a total estimated cost of $350,000.

Jenkins stressed the importance of applying for grants to aid in the funding of these projects.

A villagewide LED streetlight conversion program also was recommended. Jenkins said that working with Focus on Energy grant savings, the village could implement this cost-saving measure for just $10,000.

The presentation concluded with maintenance items recommended for the village-owned Taylor Complex and Beebe School buildings, totaling an estimated $50,000.

Maintaining revenue

Jenkins stressed the importance of continuing the revenue streams maintained from hall and gym rentals, leased buildings and grants before approaching village residents with any sort of request for additional tax dollars.

“Elmwood Park is a unique village. The income streams outside of the general tax levy is not a common feature in municipal government, so it provides us with a unique opportunity to tackle these objectives,” Jenkins said.

Newly elected Village President Ernie Rossi praised the efforts of residents, the Strategic Planning Committee and Village Board.

“I am pleased that not only the Village Board unanimously approved this huge step forward, but that the residents who attended this meeting were engaged and supportive of the village moving in this direction,” Rossi said. “Our goals and values are now clear, and we hope to utilize these to keep Elmwood Park in a positive direction.”

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Assistant Managing Editor

Pete Wicklund is the local editor for The Journal Times.

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