Fox Lake polishing sales pitch to developers

Village commission looking into ways to attract more development

FOX LAKE – Fox Lake has a 12-week plan for putting together a sales pitch for the village, its village president said.

Over the course of the 12 weeks, the Plan Commission will identify vacant properties; properties potentially ready for development, such as the closed Mineola Hotel and Lions Club; and research adjacent properties for possible big-box stores.

“I wanted to keep this moving,” Village President Donny Schmit said. “In order to have development next year, we’ve got to get hustling on this.”

The plan is on the commission’s agenda for its meeting Wednesday evening, but what they’ll discuss isn’t “set in stone,” Plan Commission Chairman David Gauger said in an email.

He plans on meeting with Schmit ahead of the meeting to “flesh out” the commission’s responsibilities.

Schmit is serving as the Village Board’s liaison to the Plan Commission until a permanent one can be appointed. The previous liaison, former Trustee Kevin Burt, lost his re-election bid in April.

About six to eight weeks into Schmit’s plan, the village would hire a marketing firm to assess the village’s strengths and weaknesses, development opportunities and the appearance of the village.

Staff is putting together a request for proposals, Schmit said. He estimated it would cost the village about $30,000.

The plan also calls for expanding the Business District Development Commission to five or seven members from three and creating a business-friendly page on the website.

The page would specifically lay out for developers pertinent statistics, photos and available development opportunities.

Further down the road, in six to eight months, Schmit also is proposing the village hire a community development director.

Most of these moves, including hiring an outside marketing firm, would require approval by the whole Village Board.

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