JOLIET – The city is starting what it hopes to be a more business-friendly approach toward code compliance to spruce up the major commercial corridors in Joliet.
Starting with South Larkin Avenue, a city code officer will meet with business owners to get cooperation on efforts to rid commercial corridors of parking lot potholes, weedy landscaping and other unsightly conditions.
The city has renamed its code enforcement officer and given the position the title of “code assistance” in an effort to convey a friendlier approach.
“The goal of the program is to educate and work with the business owners to comply with the city codes and assist in providing solutions to maintain property values in the commercial areas,” City Manager Jim Hock said in a news release announcing the program.
At the same time, the program may mark a more serious commitment by the city to get businesses to take care of code violations and improve the appearance of heavily traveled thoroughfares.
“This is really our first effort to go out and take a corridor-by-corridor approach,” Hock said during an interview. “We’ll look at all of our corridors and do them one at a time.”
Larkin and Jefferson
The first corridor under review is Larkin Avenue between Interstate 80 and Jefferson Street.
The stretch of road is one of the entryways to Joliet off I-80. It has been mentioned during election campaigns and at other times as an area in need of improvement for the sake of first impressions when people drive into the city.
Jefferson Street is tentatively scheduled as the next corridor for inspection, with some focus being placed on the area between the street and the campus of Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center.
Hock said the city would like to see the medical campus extended to Jefferson Street in some way to offer higher visibility for the hospital and the physician services that surround it.
Program starts Feb. 15
The city has sent a letter to the businesses that line South Larkin Avenue that starts out telling them, “The city of Joliet is asking you to partner with us to improve the appearance and property values within our business thoroughfares.”
The code assistance officer will begin visiting businesses the week of Feb. 15.
The letter also notifies businesses that the city wants handicapped parking spaces to be marked with new signs provided by the city to reflect an increase in the fine for handicapped parking violations to $500.
Hock said the city also wants to get compliance with a new ordinance aimed at limiting the number of temporary signs such as banners and windsocks.