DuPage mayors look back on the year that was
The Daily Herald asked DuPage County mayors and village presidents to look back on 2019 and identify their community's greatest accomplishment -- and to share it with us in roughly 50 words. Here's what they said ...
Rich Veenstra, Addison
Strong economic growth, including the opening of the Woodsprings Hotel, the 190-unit Clarendale Senior Center, the completion of Phase 1 of the Enclave, an 87-unit single family development, completion of the Woodland Townhome development, as well as the opening of several restaurants have marked 2019 as a very successful year for Addison.
Richard Irvin, Aurora
2019 was a pivotal year for Aurora. Our greatest tragedy brought out of us a great triumph. The most important thing Aurora accomplished was becoming "Aurora Strong," and that strength and unity have now become an integral part of our identity.
Frank DeSimone, Bensenville
During the 2019 construction season, over $8 million was reinvested in our community to repave York Road, finish the downtown streetscape, install new water and sewer mains, and extend the Church Road bike path; all of this contributes to the long-term vitality of Bensenville.
Franco Coladipietro, Bloomingdale
In my opinion, the enthusiasm and support of our residents is the driving force behind our continued successes in the Village of Bloomingdale. Our schools, local businesses, park district, etc. all thrive when the community gets behind their efforts. Bloomingdale has tremendous community spirit.
Frank Saverino, Carol Stream
This year required complex, strategic planning. Together, we established our future's foundation by implementing our first property tax in 40 years. We now have resources to support our extensive infrastructure and provide the quality of life our residents desire. Carol Stream is a great place to live, work and worship.
Robert Barnett, Downers Grove
Downers Grove Advanced Environmental Stewardship; we received the 2019 Chicago Area Clean Cities Leader Award, were again named to the Top 50 Greenest Fleets in North America and developed the Belmont Pollinator Garden. Recent ordinance changes and development efforts facilitated the installation of 32 solar power arrays on private buildings in 2019.
Steve Morley, Elmhurst
For the sixth consecutive year, the city received an AAA bond rating, which reflects our strong economy, powerful budgetary flexibility and performance, and strong liquidity position and management. The city received the Chicagoland Home Builders Association Key Award for Municipality of the Year. Elmhurst is one of three municipalities to receive this award within 47 years. The award acknowledges our innovative planning and decision-making, as well as growth and development, which has led to economic growth. The city also received the 2019 DuPage Mayors & Managers Innovation Award for ZoneScan and WaterSmart, an innovative new service that is used to detect leaks and track home water usage. The city also resolved an intergovernmental agreement conflict with the local school district regarding land use for stormwater mitigation and development incentives.
Linda Jackson, Glendale Heights
I am very proud of a number of accomplishments throughout 2019, but there was one that stood out the most. In November, the Glendale Heights Center for Senior Citizens was awarded the 2019 Governor's Hometown Award for its Volunteer Initiative Program. This program was recognized for our commitment to senior volunteerism throughout the community.
Diane McGinley, Glen Ellyn
The Village of Glen Ellyn approved two transit-oriented development projects totaling $60 million of private investment within our Central Business District. This mirrors the $60 million the village plans to invest in capital infrastructure projects over the next five years, including a new train station and pedestrian underpass that was recently awarded $14.4 million federal grant and a potential new parking garage behind the Civic Center.
Jeff Pruyn, Itasca
Itasca's staff has done an incredible job adapting to the demands that have come with Haymarket's zoning request. I have admired how the plan commission has taken a very important proposal and gone above and beyond what is normally required to ensure the meetings are fair and informative. It is incredibly rare that a community has more than 1,500 people come out to learn about a proposed development. Plan commissioners and staff have dedicated hundreds of hours to analyzing documents, listening to witnesses, asking questions and responding to inquiries -- all the while continuing to balance their normal workload.
Christopher Pecak, Lisle
Lisle welcomed new restaurants, a downtown bakery, several professional service providers, and new I-88 corporate corridor tenants. The village has worked diligently to attract desirable development, support Lisle businesses, and further the quality of life for those living in and visiting Lisle.
This includes a commitment to fiscal responsibility, highlighted by the village board freezing the property tax levy for a third year. This also includes capitalizing on a 13.5% increase in sales tax this budget year over last, easing the reliance on property taxes. It means planning for the future, which has included the adoption of a Downtown Lisle Master Plan, establishing three-year strategic priorities for the village, commencing a water infrastructure and rate study, and the initiation of an update to the bicycle and pedestrian plan.
With a new economic development incentive policy and business development grant program, along with a partnership with the DuPage Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the village will continue its work to realize a bright future for the community.
Keith Giagnorio, Lombard
In 2019, the village's communication efforts had an overall reach of more than 2.5 million. Follow us on social media to keep up with Lombard's progress into 2020 and beyond.
Steve Chirico, Naperville
Naperville is proud to be one of the safest communities in the country, a recognition we received once again in 2019. No community is crime-free, but our police department consistently seeks out innovative ways to keep us safe, like leveraging technology and data to deploy personnel, solve crimes, shorten response times and educate the community.
Gopal Lalmalani, Oak Brook
The selling of all the McDonald's properties that were vacant since they moved out of Oak Brook is the most significant accomplishment. The village approved the Oak Brook Commons Development, a $500 million project on the old 17.5-acre McDonald's Plaza on 22nd Street. Hines Development is in the process of constructing the project. It is a mixed-use redevelopment project that consists of at least four restaurants, retail, 250 apartments, 90 condos, two office buildings, a parking deck, a community park and a boutique hotel. They are installing a new underground infrastructure and we hope the first phase of the development, with the new restaurants, will be open late 2020. Additionally, John Paul DeJoria, a billionaire and the owner of Paul Mitchell Beauty Salons and Patron Tequila purchased the McDonald's Main Campus. His team is working to bring a number of major businesses into the campus site in order to create a new business environment.
Andy Maglio, Roselle
Initiating the Envision Roselle community visioning effort, including partnering with local school districts, our park district and our library, was among our greatest accomplishments in Roselle in 2019. This extensive public engagement process will help us create a long-term plan for the future of the community.
Al Bulthuis, Villa Park
The Villa Park Library remodeling and expansion is a wonderful addition to our community. Thank you to the library board, staff, Friends of the Library and everyone who worked so hard to bring our community this wonderful gathering place.
David Brummel, Warrenville
2019 saw Warrenville rated the No. 1 Safest City in Illinois. Exciting new development included 850 quality housing units under construction throughout the community; collectively $180 million of investment. Additionally, Edward Elmhurst Healthcare relocated 1,000 employees and invested $20 million in its new Warrenville corporate headquarters at I-88 and Winfield Road.
Eileen Phipps, Wayne
The Village of Wayne has long embraced our rich historic and equestrian heritage. This year, the village joined with Nogent-le-Rotrou in France as Twin Cities. Mark Dunham imported Percheron horses from Nogent-le-Rotrou in the 1870s and brought them to Oaklawn Farm in Wayne. This commitment to preserve the history of Wayne was spearheaded by the Wayne Historic Preservation Society.
Ruben Pineda, West Chicago
Economic development in West Chicago reached an all-time high in 2019. The city continued to work together with Elementary District 33, High School District 94, library district, park district, fire protection district and DuPage Airport Authority on incentive packages that attracted quality developments. Roughly 2.4 million square feet of development has either been completed or approved over the past two years at the DuPage Business Center. Also noteworthy, Ball Horticultural chose to locate its new Innovation Center on its existing campus; the General Mills property was purchased; the two vacant car dealerships are now occupied; and a new tenant will be filling most of the former Hobby Lobby space. Plus, city staff is working with a company interested in constructing West Chicago's transit-oriented Central Main Street Project.
Phil Suess, Wheaton
The Wheaton community had two significant accomplishments during 2019. The first was the transformation of our city council with the welcoming of three new members with the fourth member assuming the position of mayor. The second was the completion of the second year of our four-year downtown streetscape project. This $35 million project is upgrading important infrastructure such as sewers and water mains while creating a more pedestrian friendly environment with wider sidewalks, increased green space and new gathering spaces for our residents to enjoy.
Erik Spande, Winfield
Winfield's new and well-received logo and tag line "A Place to Discover" were completed and we have development throughout the village.
Nunzio Pulice, Wood Dale
Wood Dale remains dedicated to serving the needs of its citizens; for example, the city has developed a multiyear plan that will minimize problems posed by flooding. This solution began over the past year and will continue in 2020.