The Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce leaders breakfast is an annual event during which area leaders report on the business environment and other updates in their communities.
But this year was noticeably different from the recent years.
Long Grove Village President Maria Rodriguez said it was important to note that most leaders were talking about new businesses coming to their towns.
“This is different from year’s past,” Rodriguez said.
Lake Zurich Mayor Suzanne Branding said she reviewed her notes from previous years, before attending.
“The comments from two years ago and last year were fairly sobering. This year, we’re experiencing genuine growth,” Branding said. “It’s nice to see an increase in the bottom line. It’s nice to see jobs coming back. When people work and make money they spend money.”
Here are some highlights from the leaders remarks, on July 26, at Concorde Banquets in Kildeer:
Hawthorn Woods Mayor Joseph Mancino said new projects include a state of the art indoor/outdoor lacrosse and soccer center being built by Windy City Lacrosse, on 65 acres at Gilmer Road and Rte. 176. A geothermal home development will be the first of its kind in the area. Hawthorn Woods received its largest donation ever, a 65-acre property that will be home to a municipal campus on Midlothian Road.
Kildeer Mayor Nandia Black said new businesses include Bossy Boots, Michaels, Smashburger, Couture Cupcake, and soon, Charming Charlie, an accessories store.
The village has raised its sales tax from 7 to 7.5 percent. Black noted that the village worked with Hawthorn Woods and Lake Zurich on the Mariano’s Fresh Market project and the three villages will share tax revenues. Black said Kildeer organized an electrical aggregation program for its residents and got the lowest rate in Illinois yet, at 4.05 cents per kilowatt hour, which is expected to save residents $1,000 per year on electric bills.
Lake County representative for Dist. 19, Craig Taylor said he was happy that Lake County planning staff was going to meet with the villages of Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington regarding the controversial Dimucci property at Rte. 12 and Old McHenry Road. Taylor noted that the county will spend more than $500 million on transportation projects in the next six years. One local project is the widening of Quentin Road, which will start this fall. Taylor said the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on the Rte. 53 project recommended going forward and he believes the project is as close as it has ever been to coming to fruition.
North Barrington, Kathy Nelander, village administrator, said the village has limited commercial development and the biggest issue in the village is the Dimucci property rezoning proposal.
Deer Park Village President Robert Kellerman said two major developments include additional retail north of the Deer Park Town Center and a senior living development. The village has resurfaced 44 percent of its roads and made drainage improvements. Deer Park is working to promote its shopping area and there are many upcoming events including a Jazz Festival on Aug. 11.
Ela Township Trustee Larry Bowman noted that services provided by the township include: general assistance and a food pantry, property assessments, highway department which assists area communities, senior programs, and youth programs. The township also has two parks, two cemeteries and a community center.
Long Grove Village President Maria Rodriguez noted new developments including Sunset Grove, anchored by Sunset Foods on Rte. 83; and Menards on Lake Cook Road are doing well. Caribou Coffee is coming to Long Grove. She said the village is working on restoration of its downtown and has a new, environmentally friendly parking lot with bioswales. She said the downtown restoration is being done carefully so as not to disrupt downtown businesses.
Lake Zurich Village President Suzanne Branding, said new businesses include O’Reilly Automotive, Morgan Bronze, Areawide Towing, LA Fitness, Be Safe Driving School, Marianos Fresh Market and Midwest Motors. The village board is currently considering proposals from four developers for the downtown TIF district.
After the village leaders made short presentations, Chamber members asked questions. When Branding was asked about the vacant K-Mart on Rte. 12, she said she was expecting the question. She said the property remains vacant because the owner wants to lease the property, but is unwilling to sell it. She said there have been offers to purchase the building.
Chris Geimer, Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce president encouraged the villages to work together and noted that the chamber has a Government Affairs committee which works to build relationships and cooperation between area villages.