More than 18 months after Hanover Park's community and economic development director was fired for undisclosed reasons, the village is on the cusp of filling the position.
And officials say the move can't come soon enough.
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"We've been unable to meet the demands of both economic and community development with just (Village Planner Katie Bowman) in the department," Village Manager Juliana Maller said. "Even using a consultant, it's been difficult."
The field of about 50 applicants has been whittled to three finalists. Maller, who declined to name the trio, will make the final appointment. She hopes to make an offer by mid-August.
Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said a couple of factors led to the gap between Patrick Grill's departure and the search for his replacement. Former Village Manager Ron Moser was retiring, for one, so he wanted to wait until Maller came on board last August to oversee the hiring process.
The other issue was financial.
"The budget was getting tight, and the funds we had allocated in the budget ended up being used for overtime," Craig said. "When Juliana got here, she didn't think we could swing it."
To save money, the village kept the search in-house as opposed to working with a recruiter. Hanover Park advertised with several statewide and national trade publications, as well as groups such as the American Planning Association. It also put together a 14-page profile of the village and position.
Duties include acting as liaison to developers, realtors and planners; attracting new businesses and encouraging business retention; serving as zoning administrator; reviewing and updating the comprehensive plan; and managing activities in the tax increment financing districts.
When a new director is hired, one of the first initiatives will be to rewrite the village's zoning ordinance.
Since Hanover Park is nearly built out, the village is increasingly focused on redevelopment. Officials say the replacement of the oldest infrastructure has been managed successfully to date, but there are concerns over future funding.
The biggest project is a redevelopment plan known as Village Center surrounding Barrington Road and West Lake Street. The plan, said to be five to 10 years down the road, will coordinate public and private investments in mixed use, transit-oriented developments for living, working and shopping.