This year is all about new beginnings in Lombard, village President Keith Giagnorio says.
At his first State of the Village address, Giagnorio said more than 40 new people are working for the village, including himself, three new village board members who took their seats last spring and a new village manager who started in January.
One reason why there are so many new hires is because more than 20 employees stepped down last year through an early retirement incentive program, Giagnorio said.
"While we will miss the familiar faces and years of experience that left with our retirees, we're looking forward to the future of our staff and the new energy they bring to village hall," he said.
Roughly 100 people attended Giagnorio's speech Wednesday, which was sponsored by the Lombard Chamber of Commerce and held in the Harry Carry's ballroom at the Westin Hotel.
Besides a new beginning with personnel, Giagnorio said he is looking forward to some new development in the village, including a yet to be revealed major national retailer that will be moving into Yorktown Center. The Billy Goat Tavern also will be opening soon in the center.
In downtown Lombard, Giagnorio said commuter parking spaces will be added to the Hammerschmidt parking lot and the lot at 115 W. St. Charles Road, which was recently acquired by the village.
He said the village has initiated discussions regarding the vacant property at 101 S. Main St., where the DuPage Theatre once stood, and continues to discuss opportunities for the sites of the former Kmart and Mr. Z's.
"While these occupancies are also tied to some elements outside of the village's control, we are staying in touch with the appropriate parties and are ready to assist new businesses," he said.
The board also has amended its zoning ordinance to expand permissible uses along the east St. Charles Road corridor in hopes of attracting new businesses.
Giagnorio said the village wants to hear from current property owners and members of the business community about ways it can help them meet their goals.
Some public works accomplishments Giagnorio highlighted from last year included the response to the April flooding, the construction of a salt dome, improvements to Finley Road and the opening of three Great Western Trail bridges.
Last year the fire department celebrated its centennial anniversary and received new power-assisted stretchers, Giagnorio said. The police department responded to almost 18,000 emergency calls and arrested more than 200 people driving under the influence.
The village's finance department offered a temporary amnesty program for parking ticket violations last year, which Giagnorio said was well-received by residents. In addition, the department implemented a new document management system and software package to reduce the storage of paper documents and allow residents to pay their water bills online.
Giagnorio also noted that last year Lombard was named one of the Top 5 Most Fun communities in the nation in Rand McNally's Best of the Road competition. Guests had a chance to watch the village's submission video, which featured businesses like WhirlyBall and Enchanted Castle, during the speech.
"We're proud of this designation. Even though we didn't win first place, we're confident we were the most fun town on that list," Giagnorio said.