DuPage mayors look ahead to 2017 and back at accomplishments
As the year comes to a close, we recently asked some DuPage County mayors and village presidents to reflect back on their biggest accomplishments of 2016 and to list some of the top goals for 2017. Here's what they had to say ...
Linda Jackson, Glendale Heights
Top accomplishment: Our greatest accomplishment in 2016 was working with developers and businesses who are making substantial investments in our community. We had major retail and industrial development including ArtVan Furniture, Starbuck's, Panda Express, Sleep Number, Shell, Dunkin' Donuts, several restaurants, and a new owner redeveloping our vacant former Dominick's.
Top goal: The village's general fund ended in the black and our excellent Aa2 bond rating was affirmed by Moody's Investors Service. Due to the recovering economy and our strong financial position we can continue our public safety priority, including the addition of two police officers to our CALEA accredited police force.
Joseph Broda, Lisle
Top accomplishment: I'd prefer to look at accomplishments as a cumulative list of activities. But I would focus on two things: I'm proud of our police department's community outreach efforts. In a national environment of citizen-resident distrust, our department has made itself more accessible via social media. We've engaged in neighborhood outreach with "Coffee with a Cop," neighborhood walks, open houses, and developing a very active volunteer organization.
We've also taken a lead in building relationships of an interfaith nature. Our department has been more visible within the community and has demonstrated high professionalism.
In addition, I'm also proud of the groundbreaking for the Marquette Companies mixed-use development in our downtown.
Top goal: The Marquette development in downtown is a huge accomplishment and I look forward to the project being completed in 2017 as my top goal. This project, along with making progress on the redevelopment of the Main/Ogden tax increment financing district site, will add tremendous interest in our downtown as a gathering point for the entire community. I look forward to the continued economic development of our downtown area and the many new businesses that hopefully will make Lisle their home.
Erik Spande, Winfield
Top accomplishment: Winfield's greatest accomplishment for 2016 is entering into the five-year, $4.5 million economic development grant agreement with Northwestern Medicine-Central DuPage Hospital. This cooperative agreement shows how a major tax-exempt corporation can partner to support critical municipal services it enjoys. Winfield won the 2016 Municipal Innovative Award from the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference for this achievement.
Top goal: Winfield's top goal for 2017 is additional development in Town Center and the Roosevelt Road corridor. We anticipate completion of the $2.9 million regional trail through Town Center in 2017, and we will work with Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital to identify Town Center development opportunities.
For Roosevelt Road, now that planning, zoning, engineering, incentive policy, and design guidelines are in place, we are taking the innovative approach of securing purchase options from interested property owners in an effort to assemble larger parcels suitable for quality commercial development.
David Brummel, Warrenville
Top accomplishment: We dedicated a new Warrenville Road bridge and celebrated several river improvements; opened new bike and pedestrian path connections; established a new TIF district for the Rout 59 corridor; and Warrenville was again rated among the very safest communities in the state as well as one of the most comfortable for travelers to visit in the country.
Top goal: Looking forward to new economic development in 2017, as we concentrate on three substantial developments currently working their way through our process that we hope to bring to reality.
Ruben Pineda, West Chicago
Top accomplishment: There are a number of accomplishments of which I am most proud so far in 2016.
First, the city adopted its first strategic plan after receiving extensive feedback from the community. With almost a year under its belt, the Healthy West Chicago initiative is flourishing, with several key success stories: a director was hired to oversee the program; the American Heart Association and American Cancer Association have partnered with West Chicago on the "Move With The Mayor" initiative; and I was asked to give a keynote speech in Washington, D.C., for the National Forum. Finally, the city continues to maintain a responsible budget with no new tax/fee increases and no reduction in service delivery.
Top goal: Update the Central Main Street Redevelopment Plan and subsequently seek developer proposals as well as to complete a market real estate study for development at the intersection of Routes 59 and 64; both are key components within the strategic plan.
There is a fabulous development opportunity along Roosevelt Road, which should be unveiled in 2017.
Finally, the Reed-Keppler Park Music and Arts venue will be complete in the spring, and the city is partnering with the West Chicago Park District to program that space.
Michael Gresk, Wheaton
Top accomplishment: Nurturing a spirit of cooperation and openness in city government. Civility and decorum is encouraged as we deal with the myriad challenges facing the city of Wheaton. It is a "two-way street" as we openly discuss important issues facing our city.
The city council values input from our citizens. That input. along with advice and direction from our highly trained and professional staff, is crucial to the operations of the city.
Top goal: To maintain the level of service the citizens expect to receive while functioning with the restraints of prudent fiscal management of tax dollars.
A real and constant challenge to this endeavor is the insatiability of funding sources from Springfield. The state of Illinois needs a budget. The lack of a budget creates a real threat to all the residents of Illinois.
Steve Chirico, Naperville
Top accomplishment: Naperville was named by Niche as the safest city in the U.S. for cities with more than 100,000 residents in 2016. That's a huge accomplishment for our entire community.
After public safety, one of the city council's most important functions is adopting and implementing a responsible financial plan. 2016 marks the second structurally balanced budget for this city council and the 2017 budget includes a $6 million debt reduction, increasing our cash reserves and decreasing the property tax levy, all while maintaining our AAA bond rating and our high level of services.
Top goal: 2017 will be an exciting year for Naperville as we collectively begin to envision what our new 5th Avenue corridor will turn into. This project, along the north side of our downtown train station, will be the most exciting economic development project in the Western suburbs.
In addition to this new development, we will continue to work with the property owners of the east Ogden Avenue corridor, old Menard's building and other vacant buildings to find quality tenants to fill these spaces.
Jeff Pruyn, Itasca
Top accomplishment: Through the efforts of many organizations, including Itasca, the FAA and Chicago, we conducted a runway rotation test to distribute nighttime noise. Early results show the plan helped reduce nighttime noise in many communities.
Top goal: Upon the 2017 completion of I-390 through Itasca, developing an economic development plan for the I-390 corridor.
Keith Giagnorio, Lombard
Top accomplishment: 2016 was a big year for Lombard. The new Mariano's will be a great addition to our community, Sam's Club construction began, and Yorktown Commons is progressing. Downtown Lombard is thriving with new restaurants, upgrades and more to come.
Top goal: Lombard's 2017 budget is balanced and we're looking ahead to 2018, despite the fiscal crisis in Springfield. I'm proud to say that our National Citizen Survey results show Lombard is a safe and great place to visit, work and raise a family.
Frank Saverino, Carol Stream
Top accomplishment: A new comprehensive plan was adopted following technical assistance from CMAP (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) and hours of input from the community. The offices of Wayne Township and AT&T (both on North Avenue) were annexed. A contract for our flexible pavement contract was awarded for $3.1 million and included resurfacing of the Simkus Center parking lot at a considerable savings to the park district.
Completion of our response to the Emerald Ash Borer was recognized. This included removals of affected ash trees as well as replantings with diverse species. To my knowledge, we are one of a few communities to complete this endeavor.
Design for renovation of the municipal center is underway. This $19 million project is anticipated to be constructed starting in 2017 and paid for with cash and no debt. Glendale Heights has agreed to share some of their space while we are out of our building.
Engineering evaluations were initiated for the Klein and Thunderbird Creek Stabilization Projects and Kehoe Boulevard Streambank Stabilization Project addressing concerns about erosion and water quality.
The Tax Increment Financing District created for the Geneva Crossing Shopping Center in 1977 was terminated ahead of schedule and at a savings to the community.
An agreement was entered into with PACE Suburban Bus for shelters on Gary Avenue furthering efforts to make Gary Avenue a corridor for vehicles, commuters and ultimately bikes and pedestrians.
Top goal: I would think a major goal for 2017 would be relocation of our operations from the municipal center to a temporary site and commencement of construction activity on the remodeling project. I would note that we are working on a more thorough recap of 2016 for an e-newsletter in early February.
Rich Veenstra, Addison
Top accomplishment: Renovation of two major shopping centers was significant, but the groundbreaking for the new Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center was the biggest accomplishment for 2016. The center will provide Addison and 15 other agencies improved emergency response times and cost-effective, consolidated services for northern DuPage.
Top goal: For 2017, continued economic growth, residential development, and a newly enhanced Village Green.
Nunzio Pulice, Wood Dale
Top accomplishment: We have completed the Irving Park and Wood Dale road safety improvement plan, which improves the mobility at the intersection as well as updated the utilities in the area. The plan will help with the future development of our city.
Top goal: Our goal is to create a vision plan that will help brand Wood Dale as a place you want to live, work and visit for years to come. That is why we have hired a firm to develop a comprehensive plan that will help guide the future of our city.
Alex Demos, Glen Ellyn
Top accomplishment: The village formalized a strategic plan early this year, establishing goals and priorities for what has been a very busy year.
Economic development continues to be a focus, as the village welcomed new businesses in the central business district including Jayne, Sweet P. Doll Studio, Euro Crepes. The downtown will soon welcome Stam Chocolatier, Designstorms and two new restaurants, Maize & Mash at the former Cabernet and Company and Two Hound Red Brew Pub at the former Schmid's property.
On Roosevelt Road, a new Dunkin' Donuts and DeSitter Flooring have opened, and a drive-through Panera is coming soon near the corner of Nicoll and Roosevelt Road.
The Enclaves of Glen Ellyn subdivision will be developed off Hill Avenue, near the Glen Oaks Country Club, and a memory care facility, Maple Glen, is nearing completion on Park Avenue, just north of Butterfield Road.
Finally, construction should begin on a new gas station at 825 Main St. at Stacy's Corners in summer 2017.
Some critical capital projects were completed in 2016 including the Hill Avenue bridge, which was a joint project with Lombard, Lake Ellyn Storm Water Improvements, Elm/Geneva street and stormwater improvements, and engineering for the Taylor Street Pedestrian Underpass to be constructed in summer 2017.
Most notably, the village has made substantial progress with the construction of the new police station on Park Avenue, south of Roosevelt Road, adjacent Panfish Park. The project is on time and on budget, expected to be complete by September 2017.
For the third year in a row, the village board recently approved a balanced budget that does not increase property taxes. The village's overall financial position continues to strengthen with the upgrade to an AAA bond rating in late 2015. All village funds have strong reserves, and the Village Links/Reserve 22 had another profitable year in 2016.
Top goal: The year 2017 should also be a productive year, capped by the completion of the police station and Taylor Street Pedestrian Underpass and some additional downtown and Roosevelt Road economic development projects. These accomplishments are attributable to the dedicated village board and hardworking professional staff that collaborate and execute exceptionally well.