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Elburn talks economic development, rebranding

New position mentioned as a possible solution

ELBURN – Elburn will continue to work toward marketing the village, but several Village Board members said there are a few steps they should take before they are ready to make any major rebranding changes or creating a new logo. 

Several months ago, the village put out a request for proposal for a firm that would work with the village to rebrand itself and create a marketing plan to encourage future economic development. The proposal stated that Elburn wanted to turn the community into a destination that would benefit the village, as well as the residents and local businesses.

Four companies presented to the board in April what they had to offer, and in May trustees said they were most interested in the Roselle-based firm, Custom Direct.

However, several board members said on May 21 that they didn’t feel the village was ready to move forward with a rebranding plan until there was a better shared understanding for what the village wanted to become.

There are also several major priorities that they had identified as part of the village’s strategic planning process that are critical to address now, including the development of a long-term capital improvement plan and deciding on whether an increase in the village’s sales tax is the best way to raise the additional revenue to accomplish some of these improvements.

“This [Custom Direct] is the company I want to go with, but we’re not ready for it,” trustee Dave Gualdoni said. “We’re putting the cart before the horse.”

“I just think it’s premature,” trustee Bill Grabarek said. “We don’t have a consensus of an overall vision [for the future of the village].”

He said that in addition to more revenue and improved infrastructure, the village needs new technologies and other necessary elements for growth.

Village President Jeff Walter, however, said that the village has to “take a step down the path.”

“We can be proactive or we can sit and wait and deal with whatever comes our way,” he said.

Walter said that the village needs to determine the way forward for its future economic development and to decide what additional resources the village needs to accomplish that.

“Maybe the first step is to determine if we should hire an economic development person in-house or [someone] part-time or a consultant,” he said.

He noted that the village of Sugar Grove has an economic development person who works half-time for the village and half-time for its Sugar Grove Economic Development Corporation.

Trustee Ken Anderson said he thought this was a good time to work more closely with the Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce to determine together the future economic vision for the village. He said that getting the public involved from the beginning would help to ensure its success.

Trustee Sue Filek suggested that Custom Direct might be the resource that could help the village figure out some of these issues, as well as some of the obstacles and how to overcome them.

Anderson said that working through some of these questions this year could put the village in a better position to come up with a rebranding plan during 2019.

Village Administrator John Nevenhoven offered to contact Custom Direct to ask if this would be an alternate way they could work with the village.

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