Mundelein mayor touts library, school addition, notes empty retail

  • Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz, standing, talks about the village during a community discussion Monday at the local DoubleTree hotel. About 80 people attended the session, as did various village officials.

    Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz, standing, talks about the village during a community discussion Monday at the local DoubleTree hotel. About 80 people attended the session, as did various village officials. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Steve Lentz

    Steve Lentz

 
 
Updated 2/29/2016 9:30 PM

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz identified the Fremont Public Library and the science and technology addition being built at Mundelein High School as two of the village's strengths Monday night during a state-of-the-town discussion.

But Lentz also recognized some of the challenges Mundelein faces, including a need for more street repairs and some high-profile retail vacancies.

 

About 80 people filled a ballroom at the DoubleTree hotel at 510 E. Route 83 for the mayor's talk, which he billed as an "economic summit," even though he touched on much more than dollars.

With village board members, key staffers and various committee members sitting nearby, Lentz talked about the town's demographics, road projects, planned upgrades at the Metra station and other aspects of life in Mundelein.

Lentz was especially proud of the library, which has stood at 1170 N. Midlothian Road for 15 years.

"We are really blessed to have a public library like this," Lentz said.

The $23.7 million addition going up at Mundelein High's Hawley Street campus got a plug from the mayor, too. He was especially gleeful about some of the scientific equipment that will be in use in the three-story wing, which will be dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math.

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Lentz also revealed that a developer is planning to purchase the former U.S. Music Corp. factory on Courtland Street, raze the building and put up something new. He wouldn't divulge any details, though.

Lentz talked about some less-than-positive topics, too -- particularly the number of vacant big-box retail spaces in town.

Those include a former Best Buy on Route 83, a former Dominick's Finer Foods on Route 176 and the mostly vacant Oak Creek Plaza on Route 60, where plans for a Wal-Mart remain in limbo because the center is in foreclosure.

"Our understanding is that Wal-Mart is still interested," Lentz said.

After talking for more than an hour, Lentz opened the meeting to questions and comments from the audience. Topics included railroad traffic, the town's sign rules and plans for new residential developments.

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