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updated: 8/8/2013 5:55 AM

Itasca president optimistic about village's future

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  • Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn hopes to have much better news regarding construction on Rohlwing Road the next time he addresses the chamber of commerce.

       Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn hopes to have much better news regarding construction on Rohlwing Road the next time he addresses the chamber of commerce.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Jeff Pruyn

      Jeff Pruyn

 
 

Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn was about 20 minutes late to his own State of the Village address Wednesday afternoon to the chamber of commerce.

He was excused, though, because everyone knew where he was.

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Pruyn, like just about everyone else who has driven through Itasca in the past few years, got caught up in construction traffic resulting from the 4.1-mile, $45.5 million reconstruction and widening of Rohlwing Road/Route 53.

"This is a state project, not a village project, so it's not my fault it got delayed," Pruyn told a couple dozen village employees and local business people in a small conference room at the Holiday Inn on Irving Park Road. "I think it's finally coming somewhat close to the end. That work was originally supposed to be done before the (September 2011) Ryder Cup. We're now a year past the Ryder Cup, so we'll see if they can wrap it up this fall or by early 2014."

Pruyn said businesses at the intersections of Rohlwing Road at Irving Park Road and Lake Street have struggled as construction continues to lag.

"We know it's been incredibly hard on them, so we're all hoping the widening will give them better accessibility to the public and they can make up ground quickly," he said.

The plan is for the Rohlwing construction to conclude just in time for the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway expansion scheduled to begin later this fall and last into early 2018.

"The village has invested several hundreds of thousands of dollars to help review the tollway's plans, and we're happy to invest that money to make that road the best it can be through our town," Pruyn said.

"We're not entirely happy with this roadway. If we had our druthers, we'd want it some other way, but that's not going to happen."

Aside from the traffic snarls at two major intersections and the impending tollway construction project, Pruyn said, the state of Itasca is good.

"While we may only have 8,600 people, so much more than that is part of Itasca," he said. "We have over 600 businesses, a daytime population of more than 20,000 people, five hotels, 30 eating establishments, two 18-hole golf courses, an interstate soon to be a tollway, and we have all that in less than five square miles."

All of those companies and establishments have combined to earn the village a reaffirmed AA+ bond rating from Standard and Poors.

"That is the highest rating a non-home rule community can get," Pruyn said. "A large part of this success is due to our business community that provides us with a tax base that makes it easier for us to borrow money for the projects we need to do."

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