The New Year is just under way, but suburban mayors and village presidents already are putting into action plans and ideas for making their communities better. Here's a look at some of the goals they hope to accomplish in the year ahead.
Thomas Hayes, Arlington Heights: In the coming year, I look forward to working with all of our community partners to advance the quality of life in Arlington Heights even further. Most important is the goal of convincing all of our residents and businesses that their village government really does care about them individually, and the health, safety, and welfare of our community generally.
Karen Darch, Barrington: In 2014 we look ahead to ongoing successful fundraising and a construction start for the "White House" project, a community cultural center, as well as further forward motion on the entire Hough Main redevelopment site. We are also hoping that extensive village and TRAC Coalition work for greater rail tank car safety will be met with success in the form of an improved federal regulation requiring greater safety for Barrington and rail communities across North America.
Kevin Wallace, Bartlett: In 2014 we look forward to the construction of significant stormwater improvements resulting from a $3.8 million grant to the village from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and to implementing the recommendations of the Economic Development Commission to revitalize commercial growth in downtown Bartlett.
Jeffrey Braiman, Buffalo Grove: Looking forward to 2014, the village has seen an increased interest in both commercial and residential development. We hope that the renewed interest in sales tax generating uses will not only serve as an amenity for our residents but will also help stabilize funding sources needed to maintain our exceptional level of services to the community.
Matt Bogusz, Des Plaines: I'm dedicated to driving down cost and driving up value to the residents of Des Plaines. Our fresh and fiscally responsible approach will reduce the cost of garbage pickup and triple infrastructure investment like roads, sewers, sidewalks, and downtown beautification to $22 million with no new municipal debt or property taxes.
Craig Johnson, Elk Grove Village: As we look forward to 2014, the village is excited about the prospects of what could take place within the Busse Road and Elmhurst Road redevelopment area, and are looking forward to the start of the tollway's construction on the full interchange at Elmhurst Road and I-90. Also taking place in 2014 will be the expanded Mid-Summer Classics Concert Series. Next year's concert series will feature large name acts such as America, Survivor, Kenny Loggins, Pat Benatar and country artist John Michael Montgomery. The concerts will take place every Tuesday during the month of July and are free to the public.
Rod Craig, Hanover Park: Our continued economic development growth with the opening of Harbor Freight Tools and working with developers on large vacant parcels to enhance revenue. Our collaborative initiative with Harper and Elgin Community colleges including WorkNet is very exciting to meet local needs. We are also building upon our Community Kids At Hope initiative around the March 29 Resource Day where schools, churches, park district and not-for-profits share opportunities. As we demonstrate that "All Children are capable of success, No Exceptions."
William McLeod, Hoffman Estates: Looking forward in 2014, Hoffman Estates will begin the first year of a massive street improvement project. Residents and businesses will see nearly 66 percent of the village's roads resurfaced or reconstructed over the next five years. Economic development continues to be a major priority, and we look forward to future developments in the western portion of our community. As a part of the Golden Corridor, the village will continue to work with existing companies to develop and expand our thriving manufacturing base.
Kevin C. Richardson, Lake Barrington: We look forward to nurturing new opportunities and strengthening existing partnerships to promote commercial development in targeted areas around the village. We are initiating a Neighbor Connect program in 2014 to open links between our neighborhoods and enhance public safety to build an even stronger community.
Arlene Juracek, Mount Prospect: For 2014, we are looking forward to getting our road program back on track and implementing the next phase of our neighborhood stormwater control program. In addition, with the improving economy, and the guidance offered by our Downtown Implementation Plan, Mount Prospect is ripe for additional development throughout the village.
Jim Schwantz, Palatine: In 2014, we will continue our ongoing reinvestment in infrastructure addressing stormwater management concerns, expanding and upgrading our water system, upgrading our road network and reinvesting in our facilities, which includes finalizing the plans to remodel village hall, making it a modern and customer friendly facility that will benefit both the residents and employees of Palatine for years to come. This will all provide long-term value and stability to our community.
Nicholas Helmer, Prospect Heights: 2014 starts off with a quantum leap into the new year. ULTRA Foods opens their doors to the newly renovated 87,000-square-foot full service grocery store. A brand new upscale rental housing project is in the works and our economic development plans will continue with the re-leasing of the current 20-plus vacant store fronts by providing city aid through sales tax sharing incentives. The issues at Chicago Executive Airport with our co-owners (Wheeling) have been solved and our new and positive joint image will become apparent. Our primary focus will be the remapping of our city with the aid of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. New signage along our city main streets and Quick Help programs for permit processing will be initiated to help all applicants. All city services will be reviewed and changes or additions made to make sure that we work as "One Team, One Purpose."
Tom Rooney, Rolling Meadows: The top of our to-do-list has had the same item for nine years now -- the redevelopment of the Meadows Marketplace shopping center.
Bradley Stephens, Rosemont: In the New Year, Rosemont looks to continue the success that we have seen with our entertainment district, which has completely revitalized the area around Balmoral Avenue and the Tri-State. Indeed, there is much to be excited about in 2014 including new commercial and hotel development at River and Higgins roads, redevelopment along Mannheim Road, additional commercial shopping across the tollway from the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago and continued outstanding entertainment and sports events at the Allstate Arena and Rosemont Theatre.
Al Larson, Schaumburg: For 2014, I look forward to increased cooperation with the Toll Highway Authority to improve regional transportation projects that will bring a full interchange at Roselle Road and a ramp off of I-90 connecting to Meacham Road. And increased success for a major residential development at the northwest corner of Roselle and Schaumburg roads, with a needed southbound turn lane from Roselle Road to westbound Schaumburg Road. And a Trader Joe's.
Billie Roth, Streamwood: Streamwood's belt-tightening efforts over the past few years continue to pay off. We enter 2014 with a balanced budget, that sets aside $8 million in capital improvement projects, including increasing our street program, expanding replanting of our tree canopy, and the reopening of Fire Station #31. We are very proud that all of this has been accomplished without an increase in taxes or fees.
Kathleen Leitner, Tower Lakes: In the coming year Tower Lakes hopes to roll out a plan for a renovated village hall/community center.
Dean Argiris, Wheeling: Wheeling has an ambitious agenda for 2014 that includes the advancement of our promotional campaign for economic development and business recruitment, the creation of a special events committee, the pursuit of a formal Sister City relationship with Gangnam, South Korea, and the establishment of the village's first comprehensive stormwater management plan. Now that the major flood control project in Heritage Park is nearly complete -- featuring added and improved facilities that will make it one of the region's premier recreational destinations -- we're looking forward to the construction of the mixed-use Wheeling Town Center development, as well as new apartment housing at Northgate Crossings, both of which will continue the transformation of the area around the Wheeling Metra station into a vibrant downtown. We look forward to continuing our strong and productive relationships with Wheeling's park, library, and school districts, as well as other regional stakeholders, as we work toward these important goals.