Two days, two towns, one big difference for small business owners.
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson receives the 2014 Partner America Small Business Advocate Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (Daily Herald, July 9) just as Village of Arlington Heights trustees suggest they may need to invoke eminent domain to move "nearly all businesses" from the recently-approved Hickory-Kensington TIF district (Daily Herald, July 8).
Schaumburg's Larson helped develop a zero-interest loan program for small business startup or expansion. Arlington Heights leadership is set to deconstruct family-owned Heller Lumber, a village mainstay for 91 years.
Larson led a public-private partnership with the SBA to create the Center for Economic Development to help attract and retain businesses. Back in Arlington Heights and despite claims to the contrary, Mayor Tom Hayes has issued a "death sentence" for the 24 small businesses in the 35-acre TIF district.
Arlington Heights, the self-proclaimed "City of Good Neighbors," is hardly that if you're a small-business owner. Most local entrepreneurs -- even those not impacted by the Hickory-Kensington TIF district -- will share story after story of how the Village of Arlington Heights has created an inhospitable small environment, or outright impeded growth.
Small businesses account for up to 80 percent of all U.S. jobs, and play a vital role in the national and local economy. It's time for Mayor Hayes and the trustees to take action to build and support area family-owned businesses, not destroy them in favor of national chains and big box retailers.