Glen Ellyn Village President Mark Pfefferman says people ask him what he'd like his legacy as the town's top elected official to be.
"I'm not into legacy much. I'm into hard work," Pfefferman said during his annual State of the Village address Tuesday with members of the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce. "I think the village is really trying to clean its closets and set itself up for success. I keep calling it 'the foundation for success.'"
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Pfefferman touched on several topics -- chief among them economic development and the establishment of the village's first tax increment financing district, which received formal approval from the village board this week.
Pfefferman said village leaders have a responsibility to use funds generated from the downtown TIF district wisely for proposed public and private infrastructure projects.
Prior to the board's unanimous approval of the TIF district on Monday, Trustee Diane McGinley raised a concern that TIF was being promoted in conjunction with projects that had been contemplated in a 2009 downtown strategic plan, yet not approved by the current board.
Some proposed downtown upgrades include construction of two parking garages, a train station and pedestrian underpass, and various mixed use developments.
Pfefferman said the village will scrutinize each project before it receives funding from the TIF district.
"We have to very carefully judge each project and the return on investment on each of those projects," he said. "We will assess each project as how does it add back to our community."
On Roosevelt Road, the village has been trying to lure a high-end grocer, The Fresh Market, to town with an economic incentive package. The store would take over the space occupied by the shuttered Packey Webb Dodge dealership.
Pfefferman said Tuesday officials will know by next month if the grocer will locate there, but right now "it's looking real good."
The back building at 810 N. Main St. will be demolished soon, Pfefferman said, and it will become part of lawn space at the Glen Ellyn Historical Society's history park at Stacy's Corners -- also known as the intersection of Main Street and Geneva and St. Charles roads. The century-old building was set to be taken down late last year, but a contractor hired to do the work didn't do the job.
Three storefront spaces attached to the building will remain, and the chamber of commerce has expressed interest in locating its offices there.
Pfefferman also said officials from the village and historical society are putting together an agreement that will declare each side's responsibilities for the history park. The village owns the land and the buildings, and the historical society runs programming there, but there's never been a maintenance plan to state who is responsible for lawn maintenance and snow removal, for example, Pfefferman said.
Other things to come
Pfefferman announced that a "modest" village bike path -- consisting of signs and stripes on existing streets -- could become a reality in the next year. The path could connect about seven nature areas of the village, park district and forest preserve.
The village is also going to explore naming rights opportunities for benches and trees, for those who want to make a dedication in someone's name. The plan would be an enhancement -- and not replacement -- for tax revenues, Pfefferman said.
The village also plans to reopen a "village arboretum" at Panfish Park, located east of Park Boulevard and south of Roosevelt Road, where visitors will be able to view maps showing different types of trees along a trail.