Braidwood comprehensive plan open house slated for this month

CMAP’S ONLINE MAP OF Braidwood also provides an interactive section where residents can drop a pin and describe what they would like to see changed, improved, or left alone in the city. An open house regarding the Comprehensive Plan process is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Marney Simon

It was January 2022 when city leaders in Braidwood were first informed that the city would receive technical assistance creating a new comprehensive plan.

Now, with public comments and survey results in hand, the city is ready for the next steps, starting with an open house and discussion at the end of this month.

Last year, the city of Braidwood was awarded assistance from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) for creating a new comprehensive plan, a process equivalent to roughly $150,000. The new plan will replace the city’s previous comprehensive plan, which was passed in December 2004 and is long out of date.

Following a survey period early last year, the city held an informational meeting in February 2022, where city leaders, representatives from CMAP, and members of the community put pen to paper to kick off the process.

A comprehensive plan is a long term plan designed to help guide development and growth, while maintaining what the community deems to be “good qualities” of the city.

Such plans serve as a framework for city and community leaders, residents, local business owners, and potential investors on the vision of the community.

A comprehensive plan can help the residents and business owners in the city make informed decisions on land use, transportation issues, infrastructure, and capital improvements.

Of the public input so far, revitalization of downtown has been a big issue for residents, as well as commercial or industrial business development on the city’s outskirts. Residents who responded to that initial survey noted they would like to see the addition of a a bank, more business variety, and more family friendly businesses.

Survey participants also said they’d like to ensure Braidwood is safe for walking, biking and driving.

Additional items on the survey including a desire for additional community events and events for families and teens. Maintaining the small town feel of Braidwood—including keeping the crime rate low, creating a community center, enforcing local ordinance laws, and keeping Braidwood from becoming more like bigger cities such as Joliet—were all on the list of things responders wanted to see out of the plan.

To move ahead in the process, the city has set a date of Nov. 30 for an open house. The event will take place at the Fossil Ridge Public Library from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

While the survey portion of the planning process has long been closed, residents can still participate in some aspects online. An interactive map where residents can drop a pin onto a site in Braidwood and comment on what they would like to see improved, added, or even remain the same is available as part of CMAP’s official page on the project. As of Tuesday, there were 24 total pins dropped on that map, noting areas that are desirable for residential, commercial and retail development, highlighting roadways that need to be addressed, and recognizing some of Braidwood’s assets including Old Smokey City Park and the Braidwood Area Historical Society’s depot museum.

The comprehensive planning site for Braidwood can be found online at

New pins are still accepted in the interactive map. A pdf of the survey results is also available.

A comprehensive plan is a policy framework, but is not a legally binding document.

The project focuses on key topics, including:

• Encouraging land uses that are appropriate to different areas of the city, which will also leverage the existing transportation network for the best opportunities at economic development while also preserving the quality of life.

• Ensuring that Braidwood provides housing options that meet the needs and preferences of current and potential residents in the future.

• Enhancing Braidwood’s walkability and smaller scale commercial areas through placemaking and streetscaping improvements that can further strengthen both Braidwood's accessibility for non-vehicular modes, including residents with disabilities, and the appeal and economic viability of its commercial and residential areas.

Communities that have an updated comprehensive plan are also in a stronger position to apply for county, state, or federal grants.

CMAP’s role in the creation of the comprehensive plan is to listen to feedback to help craft a plan tailored to the city’s needs.

CMAP is the regional planning organization for the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. CMAP represents 284 municipalities in the region.

CMAP operates under the Comprehensive Regional Planning Fund of the state’s Finance Act.