A Comprehensive Plan for Winthrop Harbor

Oct 20, 2014

A Comprehensive Plan for Winthrop Harbor

UPDATE: On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the Comprehensive Plan, which is available for download. The Existing Conditions Report is also available for download. 

The Village of Winthrop Harbor, home to nearly 6,700 residents, is situated along the shores of Lake Michigan in northern Lake County. Winthrop Harbor is bordered by the State of Wisconsin to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, and the Village of Zion to the south and west. 

The Village's prime location offers residents and tourists access to beaches, 240 acres of forest preserves, and North Point Marina -- the largest marina on the Great Lakes. These destinations attract nearly one million visitors to the Village annually.  In order to sustain its successful tourism industry and diversify sources of revenue moving forward, the Village needs to develop a long-term growth strategy. 

With assistance from CMAP's Local Technical Assistance program, the Village will create a new comprehensive plan to develop this economic strategy and address issues related to housing, parks and open space, transportation, and community image and identity. The current comprehensive plan was last updated in 1995. 

The comprehensive planning process includes three phases, each of which involves public input. The first phase analyzed the Village's existing conditions using information gathered from the steering committee, interviews with key stakeholders, a community workshop, economic and demographic data, existing plans and studies, and an online interactive survey. The second phase created a vision for the future of Winthrop Harbor by identifying goals and objectives based on findings from the phase one analysis and stakeholder input gathered at the community visioning workshop. The third phase will combine efforts from the two previous phases to create the comprehensive plan document. The plan will outline the policies, programs, and actions needed to achieve the community's vision for the future. 

Interagency Cooperation

On May 11, CMAP staff participated in an interagency meeting at North Point Marina, the largest marina on the Great Lakes, with several stakeholders and representatives:

  • Illinois Rep. Sheri Jesiel, 61st District, and staff
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the management of the marina
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
  • Staff of U.S. Congressman Bob Dold, 10th District
  • Lake County Forest Preserve District
  • Robert Loy, mayor, Village of Winthrop Harbor, and Village staff
  • Winthrop Harbor Economic Development Commission
  • Explore Winthrop Harbor (Tourism and Economic Development)
  • City of Zion

The marina and the neighboring Illinois State Beach Park and Spring Bluff Nature Preserve are major resources for the Village of Winthrop Harbor. They provide not only tourism and economic development for the Village by attracting visitors to the area but also amenities for Village and area residents. However, the community and stakeholder outreach process have revealed an opinion that these areas are underutilized by residents and could be better maintained. Collectively, the meeting participants discussed ways to improve the area's access and draw of visitors so that the Village and neighboring communities can reap further benefits. The takeaways from the discussion, which included promises of better and more frequent communication, support the recommendation of the draft plan to improve multi-jurisdictional collaboration.

Public Engagement

Draft Plan Open House
A public open house to review and discuss the Draft Comprehensive Plan was held Tuesday, May 24, 5-7 p.m., at the Schlader Recreation Center, 2700 9th Street, in Winthrop Harbor, IL. Residents, business representatives, property owners, and other stakeholders attended to review the draft plan and thematic poster materials, and asked questions of CMAP and Village staff.

Those who were unable to attend can still download the presentation and the posters.

Visioning Workshop
At the public visioning workshop on May 7, 2015, participants worked together to create maps of the future vision for transportation, land use, and the natural environment. Their ideas will help inform recommendations for the draft plan. 
Below are photos from the event.




Photos from the kickoff meeting held Dec. 11, 2014, are included here as part of the Winthrop Harbor Tourism & Economic Development Facebook page.


Winthrop Harbor Comprehensive Plan Timeline


Pat DiPersio, Village of Winthrop Harbor Community Development Director (pdipersio@winthropharbor.com)

Sam Shenbaga, CMAP Project Manager (sshenbaga@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8704)

John Carlisle, CMAP Associate Planner (jcarlisle@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8839)

For more on the project and upcoming events, follow CMAP's Twitter feed at @GOTO2040 and hashtag #CMAPLTA for the latest updates.

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