And for the town's efforts in getting residents involved in helping plan the future of Illinois Route 59, also known as Division Street, Plainfield was recently named the winner of the community outreach award by the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Plainfield's "A Vision for Division" asked for resident input on the town's future development via a slick website initiative, according to Village Planner Michael Garrigan.
The award recognizes a project that emphasizes community involvement in creating great towns, according to a news release.
Route 59 is a busy state highway that runs through the heart of the town, and the project allowed residents to have their say in how that route should look.
The project began in the summer of 2012, and trustees were presented the findings earlier this year, Garrigan said.
Plainfield began by working with Civic Artworks, a Chicago-based company, to build an interactive website to gather feedback and development comments from the Plainfield community.
"It really was an interactive discussion," Garrigan said. "Unlike a static website, it did have an extensive dialogue with the facilitators and the residents."
This cloud sourcing to tap into community involvement brought in a host of ideas, which were then voted on by website visitors and refined into a handful of long-term planning goals, Garrigan said.
More than 100 comments were made on the website and more than 1,000 votes were cast online for various projects. The project also took advantage of social media to get the word out and to help illustrate different concepts.
Garrigan said it was a way for residents who may shy away from traditional civic forums to still have their say.
"People are sometimes intimidated spending a Saturday at a workshop," he said. "They were able to use this 'Vision for Division' website on their own schedule."
Some of the plan's key features include a revamp of the Main and Division streets intersection to make it a better gateway to the village.
The intersection currently hosts a bevy of dislocated businesses, a lot of traffic and a "Welcome to Plainfield" sign in front of a Walgreens that trustees have decried as a substandard way to welcome folks into town.
"We're talking about fairly long-term opportunities," Garrigan said of the plans.
Still, as new development continues along the Division Street corridor, an area that lost some character when it was widened by the state a few years ago, the town will have a set of guidelines to work with, he said.
"The plan reflects the wishes of the citizens of Plainfield, those who participated," Garrigan said. "In some ways, it's their plan."
Not all ideas were feasible, but Garrigan said he was intrigued by some that pushed the envelope, including one to create a series of "incubator buildings" that would provide affordable office space for startup businesses.
"It was phenomenal," he said of the ideas that were submitted. "It really enforced what people wanted, which at the end of the day is great planning."
"They don't want to same-old same-old…an auto-oriented strip center," Garrigan said. "They want to preserve the character of downtown Plainfield."
To check out the vision, go to visiondivision.civicartworks.com.