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updated: 1/2/2011 5:18 PM

Northwest suburban mayors optimistic about the year ahead

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  • Workers sweep off one of the decks at the new Des Plaines casino under construction along River Road.

      Workers sweep off one of the decks at the new Des Plaines casino under construction along River Road.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Contruction of the Randhurst Village lifestyle center, Mount Prospect, is in progress.

      Contruction of the Randhurst Village lifestyle center, Mount Prospect, is in progress.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Workers work on the facade at the new Des Plaines casino under construction along River Road.

      Workers work on the facade at the new Des Plaines casino under construction along River Road.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Overall view of DesPlaines casino under construction along River Road.

      Overall view of DesPlaines casino under construction along River Road.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The facade of the Des Plaines casino will soon see the many patrons lining up to have a little fun.

      The facade of the Des Plaines casino will soon see the many patrons lining up to have a little fun.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The side entrance facade of the Des Plaines casino will soon see the many patrons lining up to have a little fun.

      The side entrance facade of the Des Plaines casino will soon see the many patrons lining up to have a little fun.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The parking garage under construction across from the Des Plaines casino is nearly complete.

      The parking garage under construction across from the Des Plaines casino is nearly complete.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Daily Herald Report

Arlene Mulder, Arlington Heights: In 2011, my hope is that we will experience a more stable economy, which will restore a sense of prosperity and confidence for everyone. While the economy will probably never return to what it once was, my hope is that in the upcoming year people will grow less worried and become more excited about what the future holds. Arlington Heights will continue working to build a healthier local economy and to continue providing our residents the excellent municipal services they deserve. As far as a milestone that our community will be looking forward to, we will have a kickoff celebration in November of 2011 recognizing our 125th year of the designation "Arlington Heights." We will have a lot to celebrate as we look back at where we were and how far we have come.

Karen Darch, Barrington: I hope that the residents of Barrington experience very positive physical, emotional and financial health in 2011. An expectation for our village is that no matter what occurs in 2011, the people of Barrington will continue to engage in great community service and caring and as a village we will continue to foster and promote activity, vitality and business growth.

Michael Kelly, Bartlett: My hopes for Bartlett in 2011 are the same as for our country: renewed prosperity. Though thankful for much, I remain concerned about the families and businesses who've suffered in this economy. I'm certain that with a restoration of property values, reinvigorated commerce, and new development, Bartlett will return to its sharp, upward trajectory in quality of life. Our village has held onto its many accumulated blessings, but like America, forever holds the promise of even greater things to come. I invite all members of our community to join me in rededicating ourselves to the challenge of fulfilling that promise.

Elliott Hartstein, Buffalo Grove: The toughest challenge will be the economic pinch we will continue to feel from revenues being down from most sources compared to what they had been. That means we will need to continue to use a sharp pencil on our budget. I am also hopeful that we will see some new projects emerge, especially on the Milwaukee and on the Dundee corridors, which would be real milestones to  celebrate. Seeing  the recently passed pension reform bill signed into law would provide long-term benefit to our community and communities around the state. In terms of lingering issues, I hope that we see the tollway embrace a commitment for the extension of Route 53 north of Lake Cook, that Metra enhance service on the North Central Commuter line, and that the IEPA give a clean bill of health to the Land and Lakes property  for  economic development moving forward. … I am cautiously optimistic that we will see a brighter year ahead in Buffalo Grove and in the region.

Bob Kellerman, Deer Park: Deer Park is on the move! In fiscal year 2010-11, we are operating with a budget surplus for the first time in years. We authorized expenditures to upgrade the village website to better profile our retail, hotel and recreational features. Critical road and drainage projects were completed although much remains to be done. The residents approved a 0.25 percent sales tax increase for road and street improvements by a 2 to 1 ratio. As we look ahead, we will continue to sharpen our focus on ways to enhance our village to become an even better place to visit and to live in.

Marty Moylan, Des Plaines: Both city and library officials and staff were able to develop a budget in 2010 (for the year 2011) that reflects a 0 percent tax levy increase. In this challenging economy when so many communities are financially strapped, this is quite an accomplishment. … Of course, one of the highlights of 2011 that Des Plaines and many communities are looking forward to is the grand opening of the Des Plaines Casino, which will soon be officially named. The casino will become a tourist attraction for the entire region and will generate revenue for not only Des Plaines, but surrounding and benefiting communities. Another priority in 2011 will be the improvement of the city's infrastructure, particularly in the areas of flood control. To this end, the city will be completing two Stormwater Master Plan Projects: the addition of storm sewers to separate combined sewers, improving water capacity and alleviating backup at Radcliffe Avenue and Wisconsin Drive and at Oakwood Avenue and Jeannette Street. Also, in the planning stages, for construction in late 2011 or early 2012, will be the installation of storm sewers along two and a half miles of River Road, from Rand Road to Touhy Avenue in connection with the street reconstruction project. Funded by IDOT for over $20 million, once complete this should have a major impact on local flood prevention in Des Plaines.

Craig Johnson, Elk Grove Village: Elk Grove had an eventful 2010 and we are looking forward to a better 2011. While we strive to provide our residents with the high quality services that they deserve, the challenge is to provide those services on a cost effective basis that the taxpayer expect. We had many positive trends develop in 2010. Recently, Elk Grove was awarded the highest Aaa bond rating, recognizing the financial strength of the village. Several new restaurants recently opened in the Town Center, and we added over 100 new businesses this past year alone. Moreover, many jobs were created and our unemployment rate in Elk Grove fell to 7.1 percent. In 2011, we strive for unity within our community. We have trimmed our work force by nearly 10 percent and reduced our budgets. However, in doing so, we continue to provide the services that other communities have eliminated. Our hometown charm continues with the Summer Concert Series, International Bike Race, Rotaryfest, Hometown Parade, and Tree Lighting activities which are available free for residents to enjoy. Happy New Year!

Rodney Craig, Hanover Park: Hanover Park has been managing great change in policing with our new officers in area response team program. We're also constructing a new police facility to manage the complex needs into the future. We are committed to lowering the cost of government, continuous communication enhancements using technology, as well as enhancing access to jobs and education to make Hanover Park as attractive as possible for families. Creating business opportunities when the economy begins booming again is another priority. Additionally, our veterans are pursuing a memorial to honor their families and their commitment to country.

William McLeod, Hoffman Estates: Hoffman Estates continues to experience economic growth, as top corporations relocate their headquarters to the village. That trend will continue in 2011 with the arrival of Japanese manufacturer NSK America and Tate & Lyle, maker of Splenda sweetener. While this influx of new business is promising, the village has made efforts to reduce expenditures and seek outside financial support for projects. The village pursued numerous grants, and was successful in securing funds that help to increase energy efficiency, enhance technology and improve facilities and critical infrastructure. Highlights include a $4.8 million Hassell Road reconstruction grant (to be completed in 2012), $1.3 million toward construction of the new Police Department building and Emergency Operations Center, and $515,000 in an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.

Jack Tatooles, Inverness: Considering the current economic climate, the outlook for the village remains positive. While we have experienced steep declines in revenues, we have been able to maintain service levels without increasing taxes. I expect these same trends to continue in 2011. Our ability to do this in these difficult economic times is based largely on our decision to operate our own police department. 2011 will mark the second full year of operations and village residents have been very enthusiastic. The annual savings being realized from this decision has allowed us to reallocate resources to other operational areas to maintain service levels. The state's fiscal crisis and its impact on shared revenues will be the biggest challenge next year to our ability to continue doing so.

Kevin Richardson, Lake Barrington:Lake Barrington looks to 2011 with optimism. We are in a strong financial position and several important commercial projects are ready for advancement. The Fidelity Motor Group has purchased the former Saturn car dealership on Route 14 while the neighboring ProMed Office Building has cleared various hurdles and is close to being fully leased. The Professional Baseball Instruction building will have a new owner and a build-out of its unoccupied space is expected. Swiss Automation's expansion plans include 15,000 square feet of retail space along Pepper Road. With focus on commercial development and a strong grip on expenses, we look to continue to provide a high level of service to residents and business alike.

Maria Rodriguez, Long Grove: The economic storm has left many Americans weary; however, it has also prompted an appreciation for community. We are all in this together. I have seen it among the merchants and the residents alike. Merchants are working together with marketing for all the shops in the downtown. Local residents are becoming "regulars" in the shops and at events like the free concerts in the park on summer Sunday afternoons. Our local restaurants are beginning to have that "every one knows your name" feeling with so many familiar faces determined to keep these businesses in business.

Irvana Wilks, Mount Prospect: I believe our economy will continue to recover, but it may not improve as quickly as we would hope. Because Mount Prospect's recovery is eclipsed by actions of the federal and state governments, we must factor their actions into decisions we make. On the whole, I am optimistic that our economy is headed toward recovery. Although all of Randhurst Mall stores, theater and restaurants remain open during reconstruction into Randhurst Village, we will celebrate the Grand Opening of Randhurst in 2011. The new AMC theater and the new restaurants we are welcoming (Pei Wei, Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Pizza and Billy Goat Tavern) are expected to open in spring of 2011. In addition, there are letters of intent for other tenants of the storefronts. This redevelopment of Randhurst is one of the only projects moving forward in this area. We are blessed to have Casto as redevelopment partners who recognizes one of the jewels of Mount Prospect.

Jim Schwantz, Palatine: As we enter 2011, the poor economy and related financial issues will continue to be one of the main challenges facing the Village of Palatine. The village must continue to find ways of providing our core services while reducing the related costs. That said, as some small signs of improvement in the economy begin to surface, we need to prepare ourselves so that we can capitalize on the economic development opportunities that will eventually present themselves. We look forward to welcoming new additions to our community that are presently under construction or will be starting construction in the spring. Directly impacting safety, in the coming year we will see the completion of both the new police headquarters and relocation of Fire Station #81 from Dundee Road to Quentin Road. Lastly, completing the update of the village's Comprehensive Plan will provide an opportunity to recognize the progress that has been made in the village while also identifying the areas in which we need to focus to facilitate continued improvement throughout Palatine.

Delores "Dolly" Vole, Prospect Heights: 2010 was a tough year. We had 30 days of furloughs for all staff continued due to the economic downturn. We tried to save jobs. The toughest thing to happen was the layoff of six of our police officers due to an arbitrator's decision not to allow furloughs. On the positive side, all of our hard work with forums and education of our voters paid off when they voted to allow our referendums to pass: The road bonds and public safety reform (an advisory vote dealing with police and fire pensions). And the Camp McDonald water main project after 10 years is finally completed. Looking forward to 2011, the city is celebrating its 35th birthday. And we have the road reconstruction and improvements voted in November. Challenges include the economy and the reduction in population, which means less revenue from the state to the community. We want to continue open communication between the city and the residents.

Ken Nelson, Rolling Meadows: 2011 is going to be a year of change for the City of Rolling Meadows.  A new mayor will be elected in April along with at least two new aldermen.  This new council is going to have to deal with the continuing economic issues that Rolling Meadows and all of our communities are facing.  In addition, both the fire and police contracts will expire at the end of the year.  I'm hopeful that we'll see the trend move upward in 2011.  Foreclosures, both on private homes and condominiums as well as commercial properties, will continue, I'm afraid.  On the bright side, we're seeing an end to the economic decline, based on sales tax revenues. While it's not improving, it's stopped getting worse. I believe the outlook is brighter than we've had in the past few years. I wish everyone a happy and successful 2011.

Bradley Stephens, Rosemont: The coming year promises to be one of tremendous improvements, opportunities and excitement for Rosemont. Work in well underway on our 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex, which will feature a new Toby Keith restaurant, Lansdowne Irish Pub and a King's Bowling Center among other things. We also expect to break ground for a half-million-square-foot fashion outlet mall that will be home to 120 stores. Rosemont is also in the midst of building a new state-of-the-art 1,500 seat stadium for the Chicago Bandits professional women's fast pitch softball team. Taken together, these new improvements will make Rosemont an even better place to call home whether it's your residence, workplace, or entertainment and shopping destination.

Al Larson, Schaumburg: Next year, 2011, will see a resurgence in retail sales driving up revenue from Schaumburg's Regional Center and outlying shopping areas. The village's 200+ restaurants will see increased traffic and Schaumburg's Hotel and Convention Center will continue to draw additional restaurants and hotel proposals to the village while increasing room nights and hosting additional numbers of conferences and trade shows.

The increased revenue generated by the rise in economic activity will allow the Village to reduce the real estate property tax levy with the ultimate goal of its elimination.

Billie Roth, Streamwood: The primary challenge that Streamwood faces in 2011 is the same challenge that virtually every municipality in the state of Illinois must address: how to hold the line on taxes, while continuing to provide vital services to the community without busting the budget. Like so many of our residents, village government has had to do more with less in these troubling economic times. We're not looking to take on any ambitious, new municipally-funded projects in 2011. Instead, we're going to continue to hold the line until the economy finally turns around.

Judy Abruscato, Wheeling: Although the last two years have presented many challenges, I see positive signs of economic recovery throughout the Village. I'm expecting great things in 2011, including exciting news in the near future about the comprehensive redevelopment of our town center, starting with the former Wickes Furniture site. If all of us in the Wheeling community continue to pursue our goals in an atmosphere of cooperation and shared respect, and we each make an effort to do something every day that will inch us toward a better tomorrow, I am confident that we will enjoy prosperity and success in the year to come.