Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On Trying to Follow the Action

A couple of us bloggers lately have the habit of stopping at the Plainfield Public Library to go through the City Council packet, as the background documents flesh out the real story of what is up for discussion at agenda-fixing sessions or for votes at regular meetings.

Due to "unforeseen circumstances," we did not have that opportunity Saturday. On Monday, I brought a laptop to the meeting, thinking maybe I could check the background material and make notes. Alas, paying attention to the meeting that was going on while reading through the packet did not work. I did see things such as a $40,000 tab for a contract with the Anglin Group for what is billed on the agenda as "development of a comprehensive economic development and growth strategy for the City of Plainfield." Councilman Cory Storch commented briefly on the item as a positive development that may have something to do with new Public Works & Urban Development Director Eric Jackson coming in, and if I heard correctly, he cited it as an example "for those who say the mayor and council cannot cooperate."

There was a presentation on the Anglin study at what I felt was a badly-managed public forum in July. The format did not allow for a really good look at the group's work, but I was able to get the complete report for review and found it very impressive. I hope all council members get at least the executive summary so they can see the worth of it and I hope the public can learn more. One of the things I feel the city has lacked for some time is an analysis of factors affecting its economic future and this group addresses that need.

People in Plainfield have seen more than their fair share of studies that end up on a shelf, including the 1990 charter study and innumerable parking studies. This one and the action steps it includes must not be dismissed as just another study. It could make the difference between a haphazard, laissez-faire approach of trying to make do with whatever turns up downtown and a solid basis for making Plainfield once again a "brand" as it once was for professional and commercial activity.

I hope the full report will be made available to the public and that a broad range of individuals will be recruited to refine and carry out its goals. It is worthy of your attention.



  1. I'm glad you brought this up. One question I have is why the contract is with the Anglin Group and not with Rutgers?

  2. The city gets exactly what it expects from it's business and commercial property owners in Plainfield -- Nothing. One day a week of walking around downtown Plainfield enforcing and ticketing zoning and safety violations would pull in enough revenue for that department to hire more people. A cleaner and nicer downtown would attract more business further filling city coffers and relieving the tax burden on homeowners. makes sense. works everywhere else.
    Yes...exactly why it can't happen in Plainfield.

  3. Study = Consultant = $$$ = Happy Elected Officials