Heading into the new year, we asked Northwest suburban mayors and village presidents two questions: What was the most important, biggest or best thing to happen in your community last year? What's your biggest expectation/hope for your town in the coming year?
We published answers to the first question Dec. 26. Today, they weigh in on the second.
Mayor Arlene Mulder
A more stabilized economy that gives residents and businesses increased financial security and a positive outlook. As we see the economy slowly strengthen, it's my hope that the village continues to aggressively pursue tenants for empty spaces, and offer whatever assistance possible to small businesses that may be struggling.
We need to continue listening to our residents to lessen their burden of property taxes. I also look forward to welcoming a newly elected mayor.
I have been truly blessed to serve as the mayor of Arlington Heights for the past 20 years and I'm very proud of all that has been accomplished during those two decades. I thank my fellow trustees I have served with and the village staff I have worked with throughout my tenure as mayor.
I am thankful and honored for the opportunity the residents of Arlington Heights have given me. I have learned so much and have enjoyed every minute of my time as mayor -- I wish the same for whoever is fortunate enough to be given this wonderful opportunity in 2013.
Village President Karen Darch
In 2013 we look forward to continued vitality in our community. We hope that the project for the corner of Hough and Main streets, the Barrington Village Center project, will bring new jobs, shoppers and business into the downtown.
This project, like the earlier Cook Street Plaza project and the McGonigal's Pub and other private reinvestment in recent years, will complement the pedestrian-friendly retail atmosphere the village has assisted private entrepreneurs in creating.
Continuation of popular community events and festivities like Cruise Nights, the Art Festival, holiday parades, Scarecrow Fest and more are in our 2013 plans.
Village President Robert Abboud
The East Dundee/IAA project, which threatens our drinking water supply and the surrounding wildlife preserves. Continued cost containment -- particularly with things such as the very high costs of malicious FOIAs, the costs of fuel and asphalt and the potential of significant increased in costs due to union arbitration.
Pension reform. Maintaining services and personnel given reduced revenues and state funding. Efforts to mitigate the impacts of dilapidated properties on surrounding property values. Drought management and other environmental impacts as a result of low rain/snowfall.
Traffic enforcement and accident mitigation for the safety of our residents. Continued enhancement of our 911 systems and the need for funding of these efforts.
Village President Michael Airdo
We are encouraged by continued signs that economic conditions are improving across our community. Upturns in the housing market, employment and business growth keep us optimistic for a bright 2013.
We are looking forward to Bartlett's new food company, RANA Pasta, reaching full production in the upcoming year. The addition of RANA to the Brewster Creek Business Park pushed the occupancy rate at the park above 75 percent and we expect it will continue to climb.
I think there are many areas in the village, like Brewster Creek, that are primed for growth and opportunity. Our goal for the new year is to continue providing support to existing businesses, to work at attracting new ventures and to build a healthy and diverse business community in Bartlett.
Village President Jeffrey Braiman
While the new downtown proposal has many possible benefits, the planning approval process has yet to begin and many extremely important issues remain to be determined.
Over the next year it is expected that most, if not all of those critical issues will be evaluated, including market analysis, engineering, land planning, zoning and, of course, financing. The results will dictate whether the proposed project will proceed, the nature of the ultimate development, and the resulting impact upon the village and its residents.
Mayor Martin J. Moylan
As I personally move forward to my new position of state representative in the 55th District, I hope that 2013 finds both our administration and elected officials moving forward to renegotiate a new agreement with Midwest Gaming should additional casinos be built.
I also encourage our town and surrounding municipalities to continue efforts to upgrade infrastructure projects and flood control programs. In addition, I would like to encourage more economic development and business retention.
We need to let our local businesses know how important they are to the overall well-being of our community. We need to protect and enhance jobs.
Of course, the maintenance and improvement of health and safety services should remain paramount. Des Plaines residents deserve the very best possible when it comes to quality of life and emergency services. Working together, 2013 can be a monumental year for the city of Des Plaines.
Elk Grove Village
Mayor Craig B. Johnson
Now that our efforts of right sizing the organization are paying off financially, we will start focusing our efforts in 2013 by advancing the village's campaign of becoming the Most Business Friendly Community in America.
One of the initial focuses of this campaign will be for us to continue looking for ways to modify our business processes in order to enhance our permitting processes. In Elk Grove, we understand that time is money to the business community. Any way we can expedite their interaction with the village, the better it is for both of us.
Also taking place next year, we will be embarking on a significant capital project to address a number of business park's stormwater management issues. Another component of the campaign will be for us to market the business community by highlighting the successes of our business partners.
Other significant capital projects being undertaken next year include the start of the Elmhurst Road and Interstate 90 full interchange, Busse Woods bike bridge at Higgins Road near Route 53, and the resurfacing of Biesterfield Road, Arlington Heights Road, and Busse Road.
Mayor Rodney Craig
The opening of Tony's Finer Foods, a high-quality, multicultural food store will function quite nicely in Hanover Park. We are also seeking to assert our economic development plans in our TIF districts and build upon our County Farm Corridor Study, the Irving Park Corridor Study, our Town Center Transit Oriented Development and continuing our work with our community colleges and Worknet.
Mayor William McLeod
St. Alexius Women and Children's hospital wing construction is almost complete and construction of the new Hoffman Estates Audi dealership is under way. The village was honored to be awarded a 2012 Governor's Hometown Award for collaborating with School District 54 on the establishment and programs at the village's Community Resource Centers.
Further, the village was recognized for sustainability efforts by winning the Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award, the Sierra Club's Cool Cities Achievements Award, and two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold plaques, for the police station and Fire Station 24. We anticipate another successful year in 2013 bringing more economic opportunities to the village and continued excellence in service delivery to our residents and businesses.
Village President Jack Tatooles
My biggest hope as mayor next year is that we continue to see improvements in our financial position and our ability to maintain a communitywide quality of life that residents have come to expect.
While we have the internal tools and resources to do this, I believe the state's fiscal crisis poses a serious threat to the financial stability of every municipality. Residents appreciate stability in their local government, especially in these uncertain times. I hope that the state's fiscal woes do not trickle down to the village and negatively impact our ability to serve our citizens.
Village President Kevin Richardson
Building on 2012 momentum, Lake Barrington will continue efforts to promote new commercial development in our Pepper Road Business Park and Market Place Shopping Center that will enable the village to fund initiatives that will preserve and enhance the low density, high green space character that our residents prize.
This will entail the use of new economic development options along with evaluating grant opportunities for environmental and transportation enhancement. In addition, popular community activities such as the annual "Barn Stomp" are slated to continue and we also look to build on important environmental gains such as the recent cleanup of the Tarkowski property.
Village President Maria Rodriguez
We are most excited about Lake County's plans for a complete upgrade to Old McHenry Road in the Historic Business District. Improvements may include a stoplight at the intersection of the "historic crossroads" to better manage peak traffic congestion in the downtown.
We hope to bury the power lines, add street lighting and lay the infrastructure for Lake Michigan water as part of that construction. New investors are purchasing and improving existing historic buildings in the downtown. Along with needed improvements to walkways between the stores, buildings will be updated and made safer. These planned upgrades will result in continued revitalization of the downtown. However, enduring the transition has been difficult.
Mayor Irvana Wilks
I wish blessings for all in 2013. For those who are worried, I wish you peace. For those who are lonely, I wish for you smiles from children. For those in pain, I wish for you healing. For those who are leaders, I wish for us wisdom.
Mayor Jim Schwantz
In the fall of 2012, the village approved the Rand/Lake-Cook TIF District, which generally extends along Rand Road between Hicks Road and Lake-Cook Road.
Following the creation of the TIF district, a new car dealership development was approved at the southwest corner of the intersection of Rand and Lake-Cook roads. It is anticipated that the creation of the TIF district and the recently approved car dealership development will result in additional redevelopment projects along this corridor of Rand Road. Additional commercial development will allow the village to increase sales tax revenues, which allows the village to reduce our dependency on property taxes.
I would like to wish everyone a very happy Holiday Season.
Mayor Nick Helmer
The Phoenix will continue to rise from the ashes in 2013. We have a council that is committed to progress, a hardworking staff that gets things done and a great police department.
We have TIF funds available for future development and most importantly we have a balanced budget with a surplus to carry us forward. Prospect Heights is the name of a small city accomplishing big things.
Village President Brad Stephens
The new Fashion Outlets of Chicago Rosemont will open in August 2013 at Balmoral Avenue and Interstate 294, just across the street from the MB Financial Park. Four main anchors for the mall will be Saks off 5th, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Forever 21.
I'm also very excited about a new development adjacent to the Ballpark at Rosemont, home of the Chicago Bandits, where we recently finished building a 140,000-foot air dome. The dome has two more all-turf ball fields that can be used for youth and adult tournaments and activities.
Mayor Al Larson
A five-story corporate headquarters will break ground near Experian. A high-tech Japanese firm will be developed on 20 acres with potential for additional adjacent growth.
Pleasant Square, the long-awaited mixed use development at the northwest corner of Schaumburg and Roselle roads, will finally break ground. And the Boomers and the Cubs will both win the World Series.
Village President Billie Roth
Streamwood has been fortunate to weather these tough economic times. Watching our costs and carefully managing our finances has placed us in a good position heading into 2013.
We see positive prospects for development in the upcoming year, which can only improve our position and keep Streamwood strong. We have been fortunate. Too many of our residents and businesses, however, continue to struggle. Unemployment and rising costs are still affecting too many families. My greatest hope for the coming year is that the economic recovery strengthens to help improve the fortunes for all of our residents and businesses.
Village President Kathleen Leitner
Looking ahead to 2013, the village of Tower Lakes will be experiencing the most significant improvement to its municipal water system since the construction of the aboveground water tower in the late 1990s.
Work has already begun on the installation of new water mains to replace the last of our system's old 2- and 2.5-inch water mains. The project is being paid for through a 20-year $1.62 million Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan. The annual repayment of approximately $95,000 will be paid using existing water system revenues.
Tower Lakes water rates will not be increased to pay for this project. This project includes replacement or repair of existing hydrants and valves, all of which will improve water delivery throughout the village system. Done in phases, the construction will only have a slight impact on traffic flow in the village.
Village President Judy Abruscato
In 2013 we're expecting strengthening growth throughout the local economy, with exciting developments on Restaurant Row, at Chicago Executive Airport, and in our thriving industrial sector.
My hope is that the village will work to encourage that development for the benefit of all our residents, and will also seek out opportunities to preserve and expand our commitment to safeguarding public safety.