Downtown Bourbonnais is both a local attraction and a regional destination, inviting visitors with its unique physical setting and the variety of activities it offers. The physical setting is that of a traditional downtown, but it is unique in terms of pedestrian amenities, distinctive architecture, civic design elements and sense of heritage.
Activities within the downtown include distinctive shops, restaurants, entertainment and community events. The downtown also connects with events of regional importance that occur near the downtown, such as the Chicago Bears Training Camp and Olivet Nazarene University events. Participants in these events extend the experience by having a meal, lodging, shopping or strolling through the downtown.
The downtown's architecture is a key to its success. Architecture contributes to the downtown's unique sense of place, and helps draw people to it. Unlike some traditional downtowns, which have inherited a rich, historical architectural heritage, Bourbonnais has fostered a traditional architectural style through downtown redevelopment. While the few historically significant buildings were preserved and restored, the unique and satisfying character of Bourbonnais' downtown architecture is the product of careful promotion of architectural design guidelines applied to new buildings. While the overall character is eclectic-traditional, there is a strong French architectural flavor in the form of the Second Empire style, a style which flourished in America during the Victorian era.
Downtown Bourbonnais is located in a high traffic area. In order to be successful, the downtown must both calm traffic and facilitate smooth traffic flow. The downtown must also be a satisfying pedestrian environment in spite of its high traffic. Parking must be convenient, without compromising the downtown's beauty or pedestrian orientation.
Thus, in terms of circulation, the downtown must be designed to:
Uses within the downtown as a whole facilitate everyday types of activities as well as special occasions. Because of the downtown's beautiful and unique physical setting, even everyday activities become special. In addition, there are uses in the downtown that set it apart from the everyday routine. These include quality restaurants, entertainment uses and specialty shops.
The downtown also provides a place that facilitates community events which help reinforce the community spirit in Bourbonnais. Furthermore, the downtown is able to capitalize on special/regional attractions in the form of the Chicago Bears training camp and Olivet Nazarene by enticing these visitors into the downtown to extend their Bourbonnais experience.