Elk Grove mayor says industrial park is booming

Elk Grove Village's industrial park is continuing to boom in a big turnaround from seven years ago, fueling the village's ability to fund street, water, sewer, drainage and beautification projects, Mayor Craig Johnson said Tuesday in his state of the village address to the GOA Regional Business Association.

Johnson praised a new regional agreement to share the nighttime noise from O'Hare International Airport that he believes will result in a lowered impact on Elk Grove residents. He also touted summertime fun, including the village's 60th birthday party and the lineup of major performers giving free concerts in a program with the park district.

Johnson said the occupancy rate in the industrial park is 95 percent, up from 87 percent seven years ago, and annual sales tax revenue is up $1.7 million to $18.4 million, about 50 percent more than the low point.

The village last year had $115 million in construction activity in industrial buildings. A big addition was Atlas Toyota Material Handling, which spent $17 million building on a vacant site with environmental issues, hired 250 people and is now one of the top 10 sources of sales tax, he said. A $25 million project underway is the U.S. headquarters for MC Machinery Systems Inc. that will net 220 employees.

Meanwhile, the village is boosting its investment in infrastructure to $21 million in the current fiscal year, up from $14.4 million, Johnson said.

On the airport noise issue, Johnson said that while the village lost the battle against expansion, he found the current administration much easier to negotiate with than the previous one. "It's a different world with Chicago and I commend them."

A deal between the city and the suburbs immediately around the airport to rotate runway use weekly in a 12-week cycle between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. should result in a much more even distribution of noise than the current pattern where the bulk of the noise is distributed to the west and northwest of the airport. "We're going to evenly divide the impact," he said, asking for feedback on how it is working in case tweaks are needed.

With the town's anniversary approaching, Johnson recalled how his parents founded Johnson Insurance Agency in 1955 and moved it to Elk Grove Village in 1958. It is the village's oldest continuous business.

"I grew up with the business in the house," he said, adding he brings a business perspective to the job of mayor. He talked about how the village "right-sized" during the downturn, cut jobs through attrition and retirements, and now has 14 percent fewer employees than it did.

And he said the village and park district have bigger names than ever for the Mid-Summer Classics Concert Series. Foreigner will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at Park LGK, 164 Lions Drive, followed by fireworks to mark the 60th anniversary of incorporation.

Earlier that day at Village Green, 901 Wellington Ave., the village will throw a picnic with the band The Hat Guys, while the library holds an ice cream social and the park district runs 50 activities in celebration of its 50th anniversary, he said.

"We're looking forward to a great year," he said.

  Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson says MC Machinery Systems Inc. is moving to the village in a $25 million project that will bring 220 employees. He gave his annual state of the village address Tuesday at a GOA Regional Business Association luncheon at Belvedere Banquets. Bob Chwedyk/
  Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson shows the old distribution of nighttime noise at O'Hare International Airport that had a disproportionate amount going to the west over the village. During his annual state of the village address to a GOA Regional Business Association luncheon, Johnson said he is hopeful a new noise sharing agreement will reduce the disparity. Bob Chwedyk/
  Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson delivers his annual state of the village address to the GOA Regional Business Association luncheon at Belvedere Banquets. Bob Chwedyk/
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