Despite tough times, Lake County mayors share some good news
Much good news was shared Thursday during the GLMV Chamber of Commerce's annual "Ask the Mayors" luncheon, but it all came with a figurative asterisk.
Mayors or their representatives from Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills recapped their communities' recent successes, ongoing projects and plans.
That last category was the elephant in the virtual room Thursday as the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated business and slashed village revenues.
Villages already have deferred expenses, canceled events and made other adjustments, with more coming.
Nonetheless, each village reported some positives:
Voters in November 2018 approved the 60-year village's first municipal property tax. Last year, $3.3 million in work on village roads was completed, and $1.9 million more is planned this year.
The village also is having success with the new Green Oaks Business Park at Route 176 and I-94, where NorthShore Care Supply is opening a headquarters/warehouse/distribution center.
Mayor Bernard Wysocki also said the value of property in the village's Rondout special financing district has substantially increased, generating more than $2.6 million last year for improvements in the area.
Several existing tenants are expanding, and new businesses, including Medline, EVBox, Intermatic, and RollUp, are setting up shop at Innovation Park, the former Motorola campus, said Mayor Terry Weppler.
Other new businesses in progress include Gregory Infiniti and car wash on Milwaukee Avenue on the south end of town; the Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital on Winchester Road and Route 45; and La Villa Apartments on the upper floors of a downtown building.
In a land swap, the village has acquired the former U.S. Music Building (Guitar Center). It will be demolished and replaced with a park as part of a $9 million flood control project, said Mayor Steve Lentz.
Work is ongoing on a new public works and engineering campus near Allanson and Tower roads, Lentz said.
Also, the former village hall on Hawley Street was demolished and is being replaced with an office building expected to be completed in fall.
The new Hawthorn School for Young Learners kindergarten building on Aspen Drive will be ready for students when school resumes, said Village Trustee Jim Schultz. That building is located in a campus of public facilities that includes the recently completed $6.8 million expansion of the Aspen Drive Library.
And at Hawthorn Mall, owner Centennial Real Estate is proceeding with three outlots on Milwaukee Avenue for restaurant and retail uses, and the vacant former Sears and Carson's stores are slated for demolition.