Lake County mayors look ahead to 2016
Phew, 2015 is over and the calendar quickly flips to 2016.
The start of a new year is a good time to look ahead to what we all hope will be a productive 12 months, filled with a great many important accomplishments and lots of good luck.
With that in mind, we asked mayors across Lake County to look ahead to 2016 and give us their thoughts on the coming year. We asked: "What are you most looking forward to your suburb accomplishing/doing/changing in 2016?"
Here's what they had to say.
Larry Hanson, Antioch
It should be clear to all that Antioch is a great investment moving into 2016. There are numerous opportunities for both business and residential. A newly approved and rezoned retail center should see activity soon and the village is seeking public and private partners for an initiative to grow business in Antioch. Look for Antioch to expand in 2016 with new businesses, jobs and residential developments.
Beverly Sussman, Buffalo Grove
It is important to advance our economic development through the pursuit of new businesses and developments, diversifying our revenue streams and seeing growth in our sales tax revenue. Hopefully, when the state budget is passed, there will be no revenue cuts to the municipalities. We will launch the Lake-Cook Road corridor study and issue bonds to complete the resurfacing/reconstruction of nine-plus miles of streets. The Buffalo Grove Days Festival will be moving to Mike Rylko Park. It will be exciting to see the changes and experience this signature event in 2016.
Martin J. McLaughlin, Barrington Hills
Looking forward to 2016, I am excited about the additional efficiencies that we will be able to implement in our local government to the benefit of our residents and taxpayers. I am also looking forward to continuing to highlight the unique benefits, freedoms, and opportunities that open space, country living affords Barrington Hills residents and future residents who might be considering moving to our community.
Donny Schmit, Fox Lake
Our staff and board will continue to serve our residents. Actively seeking new businesses and development is a priority. We will continue to provide the essential services that our residents rely on. We will be transparent and not lose sight of the fact that we work for our residents.
Bernard Wysocki, Green Oaks
Looking forward to 2016, we have two new multimillion dollar senior living centers that have broken ground in the village. When completed these additions to the village will fund our TIF district, create new jobs, and provide services that have not previously existed in our town.
Rhett Taylor, Grayslake
In 2016, through careful planning, we will continue to have a balanced budget and maintain our debt-free status. A redevelopment project on the old fair grounds completed a concept review in December 2015. The plan includes about 30 acres of retail/commercial development. It is my hope that this plan will come to fruition in 2016.
Kristina Kovarik, Gurnee
1. Updated Strategic Plan adopted -- key goals are fiscal sustainability without a property tax, high quality of life, a safe and livable community, well-maintained infrastructure, exceptional services and staffing. These will be our guiding principles as we plan new initiatives and projects in the upcoming years; 2. Multiyear Financial Plan adopted -- important tactic to ensure that we are able to fund our goals and do long range planning to meet the future needs of residents and business; 3. First phase of Welton Village Plaza completed -- continue work to return an empty, vacant piece of property in the center of town to a usable and enjoyable amenity for all residents.
Linda Soto, Hainesville
Looking ahead into 2016, the key topic for Hainesville would be transportation. The four major roads in Hainesville are owned and maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation Route 120 and Route 134, Lake County Department of Transportation Hainesville Road and Washington. IDOT will lead a project in 2016 to add a right-turn lane off Route 120 onto Hainesville Road. LCDOT will work in tandem on this project for the replacement and installation of new traffic control lights that will have more capabilities than the antiquated ones there today. These will also be tied into the Lake County Passage System. In the pursuit of further transportation improvements, Hainesville is anxiously anticipating the start of the Environmental Impact Study for the Route 53 extension. The need for these improvements is great. This need includes decreases in traffic congestion and travel time, increases in economic development and quality of life and additional and enhanced dedicated bus service and paratransit service.
Joe Mancino, Hawthorn Woods
In 2016, the village plans to begin allocating capital pursuant to our flood identification map to remediate flood prone zones.
Charles Amrich, Island Lake
In 2016, I am looking for better communication between the village and its residents by means of our expanded newsletter and our new community event marquees located along Route 176 on the east and west ends of the village. Residents can see at a glance what events will be taking place in the village and learn of other activities that may be of interest to them. Our elected officials are always trying to improve communication with the residents.
Nandina Black, Kildeer
In 2016, the village of Kildeer will review a proposal to add a new shopping center along Rand Road to fill the gap between the existing Shops at Kildeer and the Kildeer Marketplace.
Kevin Richardson, Lake Barrington
2016 will see the construction of a new Speedway Service Station on Route 14. In addition, the village will construct a sidewalk along Pepper Road to serve residents and businesses and encourage continued retail and commercial development. Successful residential development is expected following the recent purchase of the Tallgrass housing development by Taylor Morison Homes, a national homebuilding company. Similarly, we expect continued growth in the Enclave subdivision. The village will also begin an effort to update our comprehensive plan during 2016.
Todd Weihofen, Lakemoor
In 2016, we look forward to development. We have a much anticipated subdivision breaking ground in the spring along with our new municipal complex that has been a long time in the making. We also hope to announce a major future development at the corners of routes 12 and 120.
Frank Loffredo, Lake Villa
I look forward to the use of a TIF as a tool to move our village forward with a renewed commitment to economic growth. It is a long-range plan which will economically benefit all segments of our community.
Tom Poynton, Lake Zurich
In my opinion, Lake Zurich is on the cusp of a significant period of development/redevelopment. We have been without a village manager since Sept. 1. But, in testament to the top notch staff and terrific village board, we haven't missed a beat, everyone has pitched in and we are moving forward in all phases of making Lake Zurich an even better place to live, and raise a family. The residents should be proud of what has been accomplished in the past two and half years. Rest assured that we are not sitting on our laurels.
Terry Weppler, Libertyville
In 2016, we will complete the construction of the new parking garage. We are also working on remodeling the downtown train station to make it more inviting to residents and visitors coming into town. We will also be completing additional street improvements with funds from the referendum approved by voters several years ago. Finally, we will continue to operate with a balanced budget despite the financial issues facing the state of Illinois.
Elizabeth Brandt, Lincolnshire
I look forward to making Lincolnshire a special "destination" to work, shop, stay and play. We hope to add new businesses at Village Green, Lincolnshire Commons, City Park, Lincolnshire Corporate Center and the Fresh Market location. The board's desire is to protect our bucolic residential area and maintain the small town atmosphere while continuing to grow and strengthen our commercial/retail/office base. I am excited about the pocket park being built at the South Village Green, adding pedestrian path connections in the Milwaukee Avenue corridor and enhancing community events like 4th of July, Food Truck Friday, Taste of Lincolnshire, Boo-Bash, and Tree Lighting, as well as creating new ones like Skate Night at North Park.
Dominic Marturano, Lindenhurst
First, continued progress on acquiring Lake Michigan water (target completion is second half of 2017). This entails additional internal improvements, as well as beginning to lay the pipes from our connection point in Gurnee. Second, we will begin construction on improvements to Beck Road -- our major thoroughfare through our residential area. Third, we will continue to remove and replace village trees infected by the emerald ash borer. And finally, as in previous years, we will look at all opportunities to reduce operating expenses and move savings to our community capital funds.
Angie Underwood, Long Grove
In 2016, I am most looking forward to accomplishing an update to our village's comprehensive plan, which has not been done since 2000. This process will take the better part of the year and will engage the community in a series of open houses and stakeholder sessions to gather residents' opinions on how Long Grove should best plan for the years ahead. We will be reviewing residential zoning, commercial and economic development opportunities, and the potential changes that controversial issues such as multifamily housing, covered bridge replacement, and the Route 53 extension may bring to our community. We have taken the first step in this process by conducting a villagewide survey this past summer, and have hired a consulting firm to guide us through this major update.
Casey Urlacher, Mettawa
Updating the 2004 comprehensive plan, completing our multiyear street resurfacing program and beginning to implement recommendations from the open lands study.
Steve Lentz, Mundelein
Two significant projects will be completed this next year and make a notable impact on our community. First, the Hawley Street improvement project involves a complete rebuild of the widened street and added bike path between Midlothian and Route 45. This caps-off six years of planning and hard work to make this much needed project finally occur. Also, an incentive package from the village is helping Hawley Lake Plaza (old Walgreens at the corner of Hawley and Route 45) receive a $1.5 million face-lift, which should result in it getting leased-up. This retail area is in the heart of town where many residents would like to shop and eat.
Dan MacGillis, Round Lake
1. Maximize economic and transit orientated development: New comprehensive plan for release in January, 2016. Focusing on annexations and building a business base to diversify and strengthen the village's tax base. Downtown development, Cedar Lake Road realignment and traffic congestion relief. 2. Strengthen internal operations: Implement a village organizational restructuring that will have departments restructured based on talent, skill set, and customer service needs. Such restructuring will include cross training staff members to meet the service needs of the community in a more effective manner. In addition, due to the complex rules and regulations, hiring a full-time human resources professional to support our most valued assets, our employees, in order to effectively serve our residents.
Richard H. Hill
Richard Hill, Round Lake Beach
We will begin with our 20-year capital improvement plan by issuing bonds for the first $5 million to replace water mains, repair sewer lines, repave or rebuild roads, improve stormwater drainage and other issues. This will be a great improvement to the older neighborhoods.
Terrance Lumpkins, Round Lake Heights
The village is looking forward to 2016. We have applied for two grants. The first grant is to help revitalize low/moderate income business district with water-sewer improvements along Rollins Road. The project will include replacing the water main/water services and lining of the sanitary sewer to improve water quality, quantity and reduce sanitary charging. Also increase water pressure and fire protection. The second grant applied for in 2016, proposing to develop a Master Development Plan for the area bounded by Rollins Road, Fairfield Road and W. Lakeshore Drive, approximately 20 acres. This plan would include mixed-use retail with affordable housing options. The village of is proposing a multiyear plan to extend the village's infrastructure water and sanitary systems to the property to encourage the development to move forward.
Steve Henley, Volo
We hope that 2016 will bring continued growth and development to Volo. The village's economic development committee is aggressively recruiting commercial and retail developers for sites along Route 12 and our Heritage District along Volo Village Road. With our existing residential developments nearly built out, we are exploring opportunities for additional residential development.
Frank Bart, Wauconda
In 2016, we plan to focus our efforts on more retail economic development in order to shift the village's overreliance on property tax for tax revenue. Wauconda gets more than 40 percent of its tax revenue from property taxes compared to most communities, which are 25 percent reliant on property tax. We are continuing to make progress on our Lake Michigan Water project and plan to have that completed by early 2018. We are building on excellence in governance strategic objective and plan to use our new website to more completely share all our public records and better communicate with our residents.