In the last year, Hoffman Estates kept "growing to greatness" through economic development, the use of grants, sustainability awareness and infrastructure improvements, Mayor William McLeod said Monday during his annual state of the village address.
"The economy has, at least in Hoffman Estates, gotten better," McLeod said at an event presented by the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Daily Herald.
The most highlighted new business in 2012 was Mariano's Fresh Market, which McLeod said "is doing wonderfully." Since then, a Hallmark store and restaurants also have moved into the Hoffman Village Shopping Center near the corner of Golf and Barrington roads.
"It's really revitalizing that shopping center," McLeod said, adding that giving facelifts to older shopping centers is an ongoing project. "So far it's been fairly successful."
Some other new businesses opened last year include Morizzo Funeral Home, Tate & Lyle, and the Chicago Education Project, McLeod said.
A much-anticipated Audi dealership will open at 1200 Golf Road in June and a Ross Dress for Less store will open near the corner of Sutton and Higgins roads soon, McLeod said. The Alexian Brothers Women and Children's Hospital, which will open on April 6, also is a huge addition to the village, he said.
Beyond 2013, there is the possibility of a National Veterans Museum near the corner of Beverly and Higgins roads, McLeod said.
"It's a very ambitious project," he said of the multimillion-dollar proposal. "That would be a terrific project for the village of Hoffman Estates."
McLeod said there are continued efforts by the village to raise awareness of sustainability and manufacturing. He said the village has done energy assessments at nearly 90 homes and recently formed a sustainability commission
The village also plans to work with local manufacturers to bring more jobs to the area, he said.
A nearly $2.7 million street revitalization project was completed last year that included the reconstruction of seven streets and resurfacing of 14 streets, McLeod said.
Roadwork scheduled for 2013 includes the widening of Palatine Road and reconstruction of Hassell Road. McLeod said the village received federal funding to cover 80 percent of the construction costs for both.
A traffic light is set to be installed on Roselle Road at the entrances of both the Golf Center shopping center and Hoffman Plaza, and the village is working with the state on the addition o a full interchange at Barrington Road and Interstate 90, McLeod said.
Village Trustee Ray Kincaid, who is challenging McLeod for mayor in next month's election, was unable to attend the address, but when asked how he would summarize the state of the village, he said, "we have some improving that we have to make up on."
"I'm clearly concerned about the village's debt and unfunded pensions and the state our streets are in," Kincaid said, adding that he was particularly concerned with side streets.
McLeod should have talked about how the village will work to fix those problems, Kincaid said, adding that the mayor also should have addressed the village's businesses environment, red-light cameras and transparency.
As part of McLeod's address, Ben Gibbs, general manager of the Sears Centre Arena, gave an update on the facility. He said the recent Big Ten women's basketball tournament was a success and March was one of the arena's busiest months. Upcoming dates include a circus, bull riding and religious events.
"Everyone's looking for the big concerts, but really we make money on everything," he said. "We're looking for stuff that runs in the black."
The arena will again host Northwest Fourth Fest, which is put on with the help of Hanover Township, Hanover Park and Elgin.
"The theme of a lot of this stuff is working together," McLeod said. "I think you're going to see a lot more of these type of partnerships because, frankly, communities can't afford to do these things on their own anymore, on a big scale. So I think this is the way of the future. Either that or we don't have events."