Northwest suburban mayors look back on 2018
Every year around this time, we reach out to Northwest suburban mayors and village presidents and ask them to tell us something their community accomplished in the year gone by and something they hope accomplish in the year ahead. Today, we share the accomplishments of 2018. On Tuesday, we'll tell you what the mayors hope to see in 2019.
Tom Hayes, Arlington Heights
A very busy and productive 2018 was capped by a number of special holiday events that reflected the family focus of our community, and the dedication of our new police station on Dec. 17. The new station will meet the needs of both our police department and our community for many decades to come and completes our municipal campus in downtown Arlington Heights. We thank all members of the team involved in keeping the project within budget, as well as our residents for their support of this much-needed municipal facility.
Karen Darch, Barrington
Two accomplishments for Barrington in 2018 which are particularly worth noting were the resurrection of the "Barrington Town Warming" event after a more than 75-year hiatus, and completion of a stormwater management project in Miller Park which greatly improves detention capacity in that part of the village. The Town Warming event, held last February, was a sold-out daylong, thought-provoking exchange with speakers of regional and national prominence held in Barrington's White House. The stormwater management project, which took a few months to complete, was welcomed not only because it achieved successful control of stormwater that has plagued that area for generations, but also represented the best in intergovernmental cooperation to achieve the common good as the village and Barrington Park District exchanged property to allow the project to occur.
Martin J. McLaughlin, Barrington Hills
Good news to report to the residents of Barrington Hills: the local tax levy has -- once again -- decreased, making 2018 the fifth year in a row that our residents will realize tax savings. Since 2013, the levy has consistently decreased, thus far a total of 24 percent. In Barrington Hills, we are doing more with less. Another highlight is the 2018 Roads Program. (the village) exceeded the miles of paved roads by 50 percent. In 2018, working with our new village engineers, the village of Barrington Hills was able to improve a record high 4.79 miles of local roads.
Kevin Wallace, Bartlett
As this year comes to a close, Bartlett is very excited about the momentum that we are seeing at a couple of our business parks. There has been a big boost in interest and development at Blue Heron Business Park, which is 115 acres of reclaimed quarry at West Bartlett and Route 25. Three buildings have been completed to date, including an 80,000-square-foot warehouse that is now home to the newly relocated Elgin Beverage. The beverage distributor has been in the Chicago area for more than 85 years and employs 40 people. Brewster Creek Business Park, home to approximately 75 businesses housed in 40 buildings, has been a driver of economic development in our village for nearly 20 years and it still continues to grow. I also have to mention, Rana Meal Solutions, which decided to construct a second food manufacturing building in Brewster Creek in order to expand its product line to include lasagna. But of equal importance for us is the fact that Rana along with Greco & Sons, Bluff City Materials, Dean Kelly at Abbott Land and Palumbo were all generous contributors toward Bartlett High School's new sports stadium project.
Beverly Sussman, Buffalo Grove
It has been an exciting 2018 for the village of Buffalo Grove and I am looking forward to great things happening in 2019. Woodman's Food Market, which is 242,000-square-feet, opened at the corner of Deerfield Parkway and Milwaukee Avenue in September. Another great addition to our industrial district is Business IT Source (BITS), a computer hardware and services company. We issued more than 2,500 residential and commercial building permits. These permits represent a total project valuation of $65 million dollars invested back into Buffalo Grove. In 2018, Buffalo Grove completed the largest planning study ever undertaken in the village, the Lake-Cook Road Corridor Market Study and Plan. We had a great deal of citizen engagement in this study.
Dale Sands, Deer Park
The vitality of Deer Park Town Center continues with new stores such as Apple's greatly expanded store, addition of Kendra Scott and Sundance, along with yearly events such as the Jazz Festival, St. Patrick's Day 5K and 10K Fun runs, and other community events. Deer Park residents approved sales tax increase to 7.5 percent on the March 2018 ballot, and we have launched $2.5 million stormwater management plan. Deer Park Crossing Luxury Apartments opened in 2018, creating 250 new residences and over 500 residents. Overall 2018 was a fun, busy and growing year for the village!
Craig Johnson, Elk Grove Village
This has been an incredible year in Elk Grove Village -- a year in which we have eliminated the residential vehicle sticker, set new records, and spearheaded innovative efforts to both market our vibrant business park and address a critical community issue. Elk Grove Village's industrial vacancy rate has continued to set new records for the lowest point in village history -- the vacancy rate now stands at just 2.55 percent. While we celebrate these successes, we also know we can't rest on our laurels -- we have to continue to innovate and invest in our future. This is why in 2018 Elk Grove Village sponsored the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, becoming the first non-tourist municipality to sponsor a college bowl game. The program I am most proud of in 2018, however, has been Elk Grove Village Cares, a multipronged, community-based approach to the opioid epidemic and disease of addiction that is the first of its kind in the Chicago area. In the past four months, we have provided over a dozen individuals access to treatment for addiction, placed lifesaving opioid overdose kits in public spaces throughout the community and established regular family support groups for those whose loved ones are battling with the disease of addiction.
Rod Craig, Hanover Park
Achieved in 2018: In support of the needs our homeowners, the village board passed a 0 percent (increase) tax levy for the second year in a row. Successful collaboration with DuPage Habitat, earning the 2018 Governor's Hometown Award for DuPage Habitat for Humanity's Neighborhood Revitalization Project. We will be building a 27 new townhomes at Greenbrook Court. New Verandah Senior Housing Development is under construction with 215 units.
Bill McLeod, Hoffman Estates
The village continues to support local economic growth, with a focus on development of a high-tech manufacturing corridor and the redevelopment of the former AT&T office campus along I-90. 2018 saw the groundbreaking for the new North American headquarters for Bystronic, a world-class manufacturer of high-quality machines and systems for processing sheet metal and other flat materials using cutting-edge technologies such as lasers and automation. The new 163,000-square-foot "Experience Center" will feature office, manufacturing, warehouse and showroom space for the firm's industrial products. Additionally, in 2019, work is set to begin on the redevelopment of the former AT&T campus into a mixed-use "MetroBurb" featuring office, retail, hotel, services and residential components, including up to 550 apartment and townhouse units. The firm responsible for the redevelopment is New Jersey-based Somerset; the Hoffman Estates project will be modeled off of Somerset's successful redevelopment of the similarly-situated Bell Works property in Holmdel, New Jersey.
Jack Tatooles, Inverness
In 2018, the village expanded its annual road maintenance program, while continuing to operate a conservation financial plan, which resulted with no tax increase to our residents.
Arlene Juracek, Mount Prospect
Last year at this time, we expected major development to break ground in downtown Mount Prospect, enabled by the Prospect and Main TIF District. We were not disappointed! Groundbreakings downtown, on the south side and along our Rand Road corridor reflect millions of dollars of commercial and residential investment in the village. Investors are making commitments consistent with our Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Plan, reflecting their faith in our local economy. The village finished out 2018 on solid fiscal ground thanks to strong housing values and local sales tax revenue, allowing us to approve a zero percent increase in the tax levy payable in 2019. A key strength of the village is the diversity of our residents and businesses and our inaugural Celebration of Cultures was a positive way to strengthen and share our kaleidoscope of backgrounds.
Al Pino, North Barrington
The village of North Barrington is proud of staying under budget in 2018 while having made significant improvements to our infrastructure, including improved roads, removal of diseased and dangerous trees, and improved drainage in some of our neighborhoods which have experienced problems with water levels. The village is also proud of having annexed additional properties and successfully resolving concerns with one property which was the source of ongoing complaints from the community.
Jim Schwantz, Palatine
In looking back at 2018, I think it is important to revisit the message from the School Safety program that was held in April in conjunction with the village of Palatine and School Districts 15 and 211. As outlined during the program, school safety is a shared responsibility between the school districts, local police departments, and parents and families of the students. While we all hope that nothing happens, discussing the issue of school violence and the actions that can be taken to minimize it are of great importance to our entire community.
Nick Helmer, Prospect Heights
This past year of 2018 was a time of unprecedented commercial and housing growth for our city. The establishment of new sales tax producing entities like the Tap House Grill joining the all new Ramada Inn that included the commitment from Holiday Inn Express to join our five other hotel partners on Hotel Row (Milwaukee Ave. at I-294) with our airport just up the street will all be open in the late spring. Our streets and roads repaving is complete-no more potholes anywhere. Our housing program ranging from two 8,000-square-foot homes all the way down to 1,000-square-foot additions made up the bulk of the 834 separate permits that were issued by our building department. Overall, we have a great staff with a large heart and a can-do attitude.
Len Prejna, Rolling Meadows
2018 saw continued growth in the business sector and increased revenue to the city of Rolling Meadows. This enabled the 2018 tax levy to be reduced from 4.7 percent to 2.7 percent for 2018. In addition, the city issued its first gaming license to the Stadium Restaurant on Algonquin Road. Downtown Rolling Meadows saw the opening of a new sports bar restaurant called Rep's, which has become so successful that it needed to expand in the first six months after opening. The calendar of events continues to grow with events like the Business & Community Showcase, expanded concert events, along with a block party in the downtown area.
Al Larson, Schaumburg
The village of Schaumburg accomplished so many things in 2018, including finalizing the master planning of the former Motorola Solutions campus; celebrating significant industrial openings of a 40,000-square-foot Sodick facility and 38,000-square-foot Laser Center Corporation; conducting our third communitywide National Citizen Survey; constructing the new Progress Parkway to connect Meacham Road to Algonquin Road on the former Motorola Solutions campus; reducing the property tax levy by 1 percent; beginning reconstruction of Plum Grove Road; and celebrating the completion of the westbound entrance ramp onto I-90 at Roselle Road, marking the completion of I-90 interchange improvements in Schaumburg. I was also very pleased our fire department achieved national accreditation for the first time in its history and our engineering & public works received its fifth consecutive national re-accreditation, now giving our big three service departments (fire, engineering & public works, and police) this important recognition in delivering high-quality services to the community. I was also very proud that Schaumburg Regional Airport was named the 2018 Airport of the Year by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Billie Roth, Streamwood
The village of Streamwood recently completed its Comprehensive Plan in 2018. The plan was developed with considerable community input, and focused on building and investment in our community, through improved connectivity with our residents. The village board used the plan to direct our 2019 budget. We have plans to replace a fire station, improve our public works facility, seek opportunities to improve pedestrian and bicycle connections, and better inform our residents with new community events signs. We're proud to say that we will be able to accomplish these goals with no new taxes or fees.
David Parro, Tower Lakes
2018 in Tower Lakes marked the culmination of the largest construction project in our 52-year history. We completed a major upgrade and refurbishment of our water system infrastructure, including thousands of feet of new larger mains and a plant that will remove nearly all the iron from our municipal well water.
Pat Horcher, Wheeling
This year Wheeling has started harvesting the fruits of seeds planted years ago. For me, there have been two outstanding events this year. The first obvious accomplishment is the progress on Wheeling Town Center and that entire intersection. This area is like the new flagship of what's happening in Wheeling. The second item is this year's industrial growth in Wheeling. We had two unrelated developers complete two large industrial buildings with no tax money and construction beginning before they had users for the finished structures. This can be credited to years of staff and elected officials working in a common direction. Wheeling is clearly establishing our reputation as a place that businesses will prosper. Working with our businesses benefits our schools parks and residents.