Nevermind: Biden's planned visit to Elk Grove Village Wednesday is canceled
A scheduled appearance Wednesday by President Joe Biden at the Elk Grove Technology Park has been canceled, Elk Grove Village officials confirmed early Tuesday evening.
Village officials received the notification Tuesday afternoon from the Secret Service, days after planning for street closures and security measures had begun with Elk Grove police. No explanation was provided for the abrupt cancellation, which came just hours after word of the presidential visit got out.
But the White House said Biden called off the trip in favor of remaining in Washington to continue spearheading negotiations over his economic agenda.
"In meetings and calls over the weekend and through today, President Biden has been engaging with members of Congress on the path forward for the Build Back Better Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal," a White House official said. "He will now remain at the White House tomorrow to continue working on advancing these two pieces of legislation."
Biden was expected to talk about infrastructure, jobs and his COVID-19 vaccine requirements for businesses during a Wednesday afternoon appearance at the Elk Grove Technology Park. The White House official said the trip to the Chicago area will be rescheduled.
Biden was scheduled to speak at the site of Microsoft's $123 million data center campus now under construction on the east side of the sprawling tech park, which is roughly bounded by Higgins Road, Lively Boulevard, Oakton Street and Stanley Street.
"When you see how few places a president can visit in a year, to have Elk Grove be one of his stops is an honor and privilege to this community," Mayor Craig Johnson said earlier Tuesday afternoon. "We're going to make sure we show what a first-class community Elk Grove is."
Later, at a village board meeting Tuesday night, Johnson shared the same sentiments while offering an invitation to the president to come back anytime.
"To say we were excited would be an understatement," Johnson said about when Police Chief Chuck Walsh got a call from the Secret Service last Friday night. "We were looking forward to it."
The presidential visit would have marked his second trip to Illinois since the inauguration, after a July 7 tour and speech at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake.
Biden's visit would have spotlighted the massive 85-acre tech park, a $1 billion development that former Gov. Bruce Rauner helped break ground on in July 2018.
Rosemont-based developer Brennan Investment Group sold 36 acres on the east side of the property to Microsoft for $52.2 million in 2020. The tech giant is planning three data center buildings totaling 400,000 square feet; one of the buildings is nearing completion, and plans have been submitted for the second one, Johnson said.
"It is also an honor and privilege to be able to spotlight Elk Grove and all we're doing with new technology, with creating jobs and bringing new business to our community," Johnson said earlier Tuesday. "And we're proud of the fact we have a chance to showcase that nationally and worldwide."
The tech park is already home to a 164,000-square-foot data center operated by T5 Data Centers, and Broetje-Automation, a German aerospace manufacturing firm. A hotel is also planned along the Higgins Road frontage.
Mike Brennan, chairman of Brennan Investment Group, said with those and other tenants, the tech park is now 90% leased.
"It is indeed a manufacturing renaissance we're having," Brennan said.
State Sen. Laura Murphy, a Des Plaines Democrat, echoed Biden's call to "build back better" and the role the Elk Grove tech industry can play.
"Some of the most innovative new technologies are being developed right here in Elk Grove, and I'm thrilled to see President Biden acknowledge the community's contributions to the progress of our state and our nation," Murphy said before the visit's cancellation.
Johnson said the Secret Service was in contact with village officials and the police department, which spent hours over the weekend making preparations for Biden's visit. As part of the presidential motorcade, main thoroughfares near the tech park would have been closed from midafternoon to early evening, the mayor said. Plans to install signage to direct drivers to alternate routes were also in place.
Biden's appearance wouldn't have been the first time a president has visited the Northwest suburb.
President George H.W. Bush attended a Republican Party picnic in Busse Woods while campaigning for reelection in August 1992. And President Bill Clinton stopped at a music store on Devon Avenue to play the saxophone on his way back from an appearance at Fenton High School in Bensenville in May 1993.