Mundelein mayor touts Oak Creek Plaza redevelopment, business grants in State of the Village speech

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz opened his annual State of the Village speech Monday by touting the pending redevelopment of the long-languishing Oak Creek Plaza shopping center.

Lentz also talked about the successes of an annual grant program that helps fund improvements at local businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic and other topics.

The plan to put up 45 buildings containing 222 townhouses on the Oak Creek Plaza site is moving forward, Lentz told his audience at village hall. The center is on Townline Road east of Route 45 and has been mostly vacant for years.

"We are in very advanced discussions with (developer) D.R. Horton," Lentz said. "We're looking forward for that to get started and (to) transform that whole area of town."

Lentz also talked about the desire to develop four vacant, village-owned lots on Plaza Circle near village hall.

Officials envision townhouses, condominiums or apartments for residents who want to be close to the Metra train station and the shops in the downtown area, Lentz said. Some commercial or office buildings could go there, too - but residential buildings ideally would dominate the site, he said.

With inflation driving up construction costs, officials will try to lure developers with financial incentives, Lentz said.

"We're in talks with one right now," he said. "We'll see where that goes."

The ongoing Business Incentive Grant Program, which helps fund improvements at local businesses, got some attention in Lentz's speech, too.

Under the program, the village reimburses entrepreneurs for as much as half the cost of a project.

During the previous fiscal year, officials awarded $61,215 in grants to five businesses, Lentz said. Officials budgeted $125,000 for the grant program this fiscal year.

"I can't believe that there's any village or community in Lake County that's more business-friendly than us," Lentz said.

Other topics Lentz covered included industrial developments, future roadwork and plans to turn a village-owned lot on Park Street into a gathering space for downtown visitors.

Toward the end of the hourlong speech, Lentz talked a little about how COVID-19 has affected Mundelein. More than 7,200 cases have been reported in Mundelein since the pandemic began, he said.

With Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifting many statewide prevention efforts later this month, Lentz said there are no plans to implement more stringent measures in Mundelein.

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