2016 State of the Village Address
From the Desk of President Argiris - 2016 State of the Village Address
I’m pleased to report that 2015 was another great year for Wheeling. I’m continually impressed with the energy, creativity, and commitment shown by the members of our community-including our residents, businesses, and partner agencies-and it’s a pleasure to work together to help Wheeling succeed. I’m particularly grateful for the wisdom and leadership shown by the Board of Trustees, which welcomed two new members this year, Joe Vito and Mary Papantos. The Village’s talented management team has a new member-Police Chief Jamie Dunne, who joins us from the City of Prospect Heights-and two familiar faces have moved into new roles: Mark Janeck is now Director of Public Works, and Village Planner Andrew Jennings’ role has expanded to include directorship of Community Development. These shifts accompany other changes that will improve our staff’s already impressive efficiency and effectiveness.
In recent years we’ve worked hard to lay the groundwork for future economic vitality, and in 2015 those efforts paid off in a big way. Thanks to major new developments including Northgate Crossing, the Whitley, and Creekside Medical Center, among others, the Village issued permits for nearly $70 million worth of construction projects last year, a whopping $29 million increase over 2014. The vacancy rate in Wheeling’s industrial sector is still among the lowest in the region at around six%-and this number will shrink even further with Richelieu Foods’ occupancy of a 115,000- square-foot facility on Palatine Road. Thanks to recruitment efforts at the Village, state, and federal levels, Wheeling won out over several competitors in Richelieu’s national search for a food-processing plant employing at least 125 people. We expect more good news in the manufacturing sector soon.
Wheeling’s retail sector also shows steady growth. To help spread the word about Wheeling as a world-class dining and hospitality destination, the Village has joined Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau, which promotes our region’s amenities and attractions. Wheeling’s annual July 3 celebration has long been known as one of the best in Northern Illinois, and it got even better in 2015, establishing a home at Chicago Executive Airport as Rock ’n’ Run the Runway, an event featuring a morning 5K followed by live music and fireworks. To further increase Wheeling’s international profile, last October we had the honor of traveling to the Republic of Korea with Tenth District Congressman Bob Dold and a delegation of local business and education leaders on a trip sponsored by Wheeling’s own Korean Cultural Center of Chicago. With the help of our public, private, and nonprofit partners, we’ll keep working to expand Wheeling’s global reach.
The Village also undertook several major initiatives in 2015 to maintain our residents’ safety. The Fire Department negotiated a $1.5 million contract to replace aging equipment with a new fire engine and new ladder truck, scheduled for delivery later this year; these vehicles will help keep Wheeling safe for many years to come. The Police Department was re-accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies for the eighth time; the department also won the Commission’s prestigious Accreditation with Excellence Award. In 2015 Wheeling also began providing police dispatch services for the City of Des Plaines, an arrangement that maintains responsiveness in both communities at a substantial savings to taxpayers, and that serves as an example of a well-considered and effective consolidation of government services.
Stormwater control continues to be a priority for the Village, and we’ve made significant accomplishments in this area. We were
able to secure a grant to fund the relocation of the residents of the Fox Point mobile home community who were impacted by the April 2013 floods. We successfully negotiated with Cook County to establish a connection to their storm sewer at Hintz Roadand Jackson Drive that will help improve the transmission of stormwater from that flood-prone area. Most significantly, we established a Stormwater Utility to fund future infrastructure improvements that will reduce flooding throughout Wheeling.
Dundee Road Corridor
Last year saw significant new development along the Dundee Road corridor, and more is in the near future. The Village is preparing for growth, starting with the recent addition of new streetlights. Substantial road construction will follow, including improvements at Dundee and McHenry and Dundee and Elmhurst intersections to facilitate traffic flow, as well as an improved and signalized intersection at Dundee and Community Boulevard that will serve the Post Office and Community Campus. In all, we made an investment of $4.8 million in infrastructure last year, and plan additional improvements totaling $7.6 million in the year to come. Furthermore, the Village continues to work with the developer of Wheeling Town Center, the transit oriented mixed-use development adjacent to the Metra station, and anticipates significant progress on this project during 2016.
There’s a lot to be excited about in the coming year, and the Board of Trustees and I look forward to working together with our partners in the community to make Wheeling an outstanding place to live, learn, work, and visit!