Lemont Mayor Touts Economic Development During 'State of the Village'
Mayor Brian Reaves highlighted new businesses and new marketing initiatives Wednesday during the 10th annual State of the Village address at Crystal Grand Banquets.
Economic development and recent marketing initiatives were among the highlights of Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves' 10th annual “State of the Village” address Wednesday.
The luncheon was held at Crystal Grand Banquets, 12416 Archer Ave., and was sponsored by the Lemont Area Chamber of Commerce. The event was attended by several village employees and trustees, as well as dozens of school, township, library, park district, police and fire officials.
Also in attendance were Romeoville Mayor John Noak and Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar, and representatives from local businesses.
During his address, Reaves highlighted the town's new businesses and economic development initiatives, and updated the crowd on the village's proposed $21 million sports complex.
New Businesses, Construction
Among the village's successes in 2012 was an increase in new construction, Reaves said.
Last year, the village issued 51 permits for home construction—the most since 2007. The village has more to look forward to this year when construction begins on the long-awaited Kettering Estates—formerly known as Glen Oak—which will bring 241 new homes to Lemont.
"We have hit bottom, but we are on the uptick and things that we do in the next two to three years will really define where we're going to be in the village of Lemont," Reaves said.
On the commercial side, Lemont experienced two multi-million dollar renovations to existing structures—one at Lemont Express Car Wash, 1174 State St., and the other at Goodwill, 1146 State St.
Last year, Lemont Express Car Wash owner Bill Klump invested more than $1.5 million to replace the business' former building with a 4,800-square-foot complex that includes a 150-foot automatic car wash tunnel, state-of-the-art equipment and a 25-horsepower central vacuum system. The new facility opened in December.
Goodwill opened its Lemont store in August after completing a $2 million renovation to the old Sears Hardware location, Reaves said.
In addition to Goodwill, the town saw an influx of new businesses in 2012, including Ace Hardware, Tap House Grill, Generation Bliss, Bart Barters Trading Post, Aurora Rose Boutique, ATI Physical Therapy and OttoBrandt Wines, among others.
Scheduled to open in 2013 are Dotty's Diner, 1066 State St., Ti Amo Ristorante, 12350 Derby Road, and Betty's Bistro.
Reaves also noted the success of video gaming, which was approved by Lemont officials in July.
There are currently five Lemont businesses with machines and five more with licenses at the state level. According to Reaves, $807,000 was spent on the machines in December and $661,000 in January.
Also new to the village in 2012 was the website “iLiveLemont,” the brainchild of Trustee Paul Chialdikas, village staff, and local resident and website designer Laura Swalec.
The site, which launched in late January, is designed to put the spotlight on Lemont and highlight the positive things the community has to offer. It features information about local businesses, historic landmarks, golf courses, churches, attractions and festivals.
Reaves said last year marked the first time the village set aside funds specifically for marketing purposes.
"We built this site so that (when people search for information about Lemont), this is one of the first things that pops up," Reaves said. "We want (people) to start coming to town so we can show them what we have to offer and how unique and wonderful we are."
Update on Lemont Sports Complex
While outlining the village's plans for economic development this year, Reaves took several minutes to address his controversial proposal for a $21 million sports complex near downtown Lemont.
Plans for the complex were unveiled during the Jan. 28 village board meeting, when Reaves said he hoped to put the project on the "fast track" and begin construction this spring.
However, those plans were sidelined last week after a group of citizens turned in 185 pages of petitions signed by 1,675 residents. The petitions seek to allow voters to decide whether the village should issue up to $21 million in alternate revenue bonds to finance the sports facility.
Now, the issue is set to go to referendum unless the signatures can be challenged before March 11.
Despite the setback, Reaves said he is still hopeful that the project can come to fruition.
"I think with the hard work and complete backing I have from the village board and the business community, we can make this work," Reaves said.
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