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Throughout Cook County there are several areas of land that are developed but have never been annexed to a municipality. These areas have been studied in the past by the Civic Federation and the Cook County Unincorporated Task Force. However, one cluster of land stands out as especially densely populated and developed, warranting further study into ways to improve quality of life for its diverse group of residents. Having never been the focus of a long-range comprehensive plan, the study area for this project is called "Maine-Northfield," reflecting portions of both unincorporated Maine and Northfield Townships.
The center of Maine-Northfield is approximately 17 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and bordered by Des Plaines, Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles, and Park Ridge. The study area does not include every unincorporated parcel in Maine and Northfield Townships, but does include the most densely populated developments, as well as the locations of infrastructure and regulatory concerns that have prevented large-scale annexation. In general, the study area is made up of three sections: a large, mostly contiguous area stretching from Dempster Street on the south to past Lake Avenue on the north; a separate area north of Golf Road roughly between Harrison Street, Crescent Drive, and Stacy Court, with Washington Street bisecting; and three separate residential areas in close proximity near Milwaukee Avenue, Sanders Road, Lake Avenue, and Landwehr Road.
With support from the CMAP Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program and guidance from a steering committee, Cook County will develop a community plan for the Maine-Northfield study area. The team has evaluated the community's challenges and opportunities and has identified viable strategies to help guide future growth and development. The plan addresses land use, stormwater, transportation, housing, and coordination and capacity. In addition, the plan discusses the area's relationship with neighboring incorporated communities, each of whom are represented on the project steering committee. The plan includes a benefit-cost analysis that estimates the revenues and costs of potential annexation of all, or portions of, the study area.
The three-phase planning process was completed over approximately 18 months. First, the planning team analyzed existing conditions using information and public input gathered in collaboration with Cook County. Next, the team developed a vision for the area based on the community's input gathered during a visioning workshop. Finally, CMAP created recommendations and implementation strategies in a draft plan. Once the draft plan was prepared, reviewed by the public, and revised, CMAP will assist County staff in working with the Cook County Board to formally adopt the plan.