Overview of Ideas Shared at Public Workshop

News, Outreach

Thanks again to all who came out to share ideas and feedback this past Monday evening at Winnetka’s Downtown Master Plan ‘Public Workshop’.  Below is a summary of the feedback received.  See something missing?  Venture over to the ‘Idea Zone‘ and send us additional thought bubbles – be sure to scroll down and see what your neighbors have been sharing as well.

Station 1 – Voting Priorities

Top Priorities + Additional Comments

Downtown Elm Street:

  1. Priority: Downtown Elm needs more dining options / pubs to enhance nightlife (27 votes)
  2. Priority: The Post Office Site should be developed into a mixed-use building (20 votes)
  3. Priority: East and West Elm make up one downtown not two separate business districts (15 votes)
  4. 10 Dislike Votes – The Post Office Site should be converted into an outdoor gathering space.



  • More housing that is walkable to the train station and accessible for people with disabilities;
  • Do not destroy the playground and open space at the west end of the park by the Post Office and Village Hall — it is a good transition and well used;
  • Buildings need to preserve mixed-use and encourage more of it to be created;
  • Fix parking situation by Community House – not enough space for loading / unloading near nursery school;
  • More dining / family / night life;
  • No more nail salons;
  • Need a Village Square type gathering space, not just another park;
  • Need a place in town where 5th-8th graders can find something to do – not enough options for youths / teens;
  • Post Office Site could have open areas as well as a mixed-use building

Hubbard Woods:

  1. Priority: Hubbard Woods needs more family friendly dining options and coffee houses (24 votes)
  2. Priority: Hubbard Woods needs to expand festivals and events to enhance nightlife (19 votes)
  3. Priority: Hubbard Woods needs to fill vacancies (19 votes)
  4. Priority: Hubbard Woods should better celebrate the park and focus on family activities (18 votes)


  • Loving the new park… so far;
  • Need family-friendly brew pub near train station;
  • Needs a strong destination / reason to come to Hubbard Woods;
  • Aggressively move to fill the vacant commercial space;
  • Attract coffee shops / cafes, places to meet neighbors;
  • Train bridge and platform desperately need attention – safety / beautification issue;
  • Hubbard Woods Design District is okay so long as there is a complimentary mix of uses to support such;
  • Imagine a small, Green Mill or space in the community for music / jazz;

Indian Hill:

  1. Priority: Indian Hill is fine as is — the focus of this plan should be on Elm Street and Hubbard Woods (21 votes)
  2. Priority: Indian Hill users needs to cater to New Trier High School (18 votes)


  • Get the Union Pacific Railroad to let New Trier service clubs operate the ticket station as a cafe for commuters and New Trier students as a fundraising / service opportunity.
  • Could use eatery where teens could gather after school in large Tudor office building;
  • More restaurants;
  • Better parking;
  • Make triangle land across from car dealer into a coffee or sandwich restaurant (Starbucks, Jimmy Johns?);
  • Rezone for mixed-use;
  • Get rid of the old gas station;
  • Develop the park;

Station 2 – Vision Collage



  • Family-friendly spaces that invite out the neighborhood / play ground
  • Nature-inspired / celebrate the Park / outdoor venues and gathering spaces
  • Charming arcades of owner-operated stores that entice people to shop in Winnetka
  • More food and dining options, brew pubs, coffee shops, hip restaurants, wine bars, candy / ice cream / frozen yogurt, pizza, etc.
  • Music oriented
  • Dog friendly
  • Charming streetscape features
  • Bike lanes
  • Post Office Site – Beautiful, multi-family owner-occupied housing with lots of green space throughout

Station 3 – Winnetka Madlibs


Winnetka Madlibs: Downtown Elm

Positive Descriptors:

  • Charming
  • Accessible / walkable / bike friendly
  • Great food / dining / coffee
  • Retail shopping
  • Grocery shopping
  • Convenient
  • Place to meet friends
  • Family oriented

Negative Descriptors:

  • Outdated / tired
  • Crowded
  • Unattractive
  • Too many nail salons / real estate brokers
  • Vacancies
  • Without multi-family housing
  • Fragmented / divided into two districts
  • High business turn-over
  • Limited business diversity


  • More retail diversity
  • Restaurants
  • Better connectivity
  • More multi-family housing (make downtown lively) / townhouses (consider post office site)
  • Hardware store
  • Retail / Mixed-use at Post Office Site

Nice Nearby Destinations:

  • The beach / lake
  • Park
  • Library
  • Train station
  • The Grand
  • Book Stall
  • Toy Store
  • Lincoln Plaza / Lincoln Avenue Art Center

Winnetka Madlibs: Hubbard Woods

Positive Descriptors:

  • Family-friendly / fun
  • Dynamic
  • Quaint
  • Shop for unique gifts
  • Traditional
  • Full of vitality
  • Great walking area
  • Great place to listen to music

Negative Descriptors:

  • Vacancies / Ghost town
  • Underutilized
  • Economically drained
  • Old / dated
  • Congested
  • Limited food and drink
  • In-flux


  • Fill spaces with neighborhood-friendly vendors
  • Anchor restaurant / more dining options / brew pub
  • Music festival / band shell
  • Retains neighborhood feel
  • Adds economic value
  • Entertainment

Nice Nearby Destinations:

  • Green Bay Trail
  • Park
  • Hubbard Woods Motors
  • Once Upon A Bagel
  • Lake / Beach
  • Glencoe
  • Downtown Elm Street

Station 4 – District Discussion

Downtown Elm Street

  • Is Winnetka for residents only or should we be attracting others?
  • There is no Downtown identity.
  • Why don’t we attract more restaurants?
  • Civic uses are clustered here.
  • Downtown is missing housing.
  • Desire for hardware store, bakery, and family friendly restaurants.
  • Need place for teens to hang out.
  • Major assets include the beach, book stall, train station, Village Green, Hadley School.

Hubbard Woods

  • Sidewalk is too narrow
  • Central feature is the Park – need more connections to activities therein.
  • High-end retail draws from North Shore.
  • Empty
  • Better in memory
  • Landlords
  • Sprinkler Ordinance / Landlords / Rents – impediments?
  • Assets include interesting buildings, fabric of urban form.
  • Missing vitality, places to eat, family activities…
  • Design District may not be in the best interest of family friendly activities.

Indian Hill

  • New Trier – No place to go, stay,, head to.
  • Lost the automotive character.
  • Lots of foot traffic
  • Where is the space to put stores?
  • Needs a business / restaurant at the train station.