Projects and possibilities abound in the four communities that comprise the GLMV Chamber of Commerce, but officials in all of them are keeping a wary eye on Springfield.
Mayors of Green Oaks, Libertyville, and Mundelein, as well as Vernon Hills Village Manager John Kalmar, on Tuesday relayed an impressive list of projects underway or in the works during the annual Ask the Mayors luncheon.
About 85 business and community leaders at the White Deer Run golf course in Vernon Hills learned of a wide range of commercial, residential and other projects making for a robust construction season.
The asterisk is uncertainty involving state revenues and potential property tax freezes. Communities dealt with the recession by cutting costs, including staff, leaving many with little margin to maneuver.
"There have been proposals by legislators to take away every possible source of funding we get from the state," Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler said. "It's hard to do a budget if you don't know whether the sources of revenue you rely on will be there."
Weppler also warned of the potential impact of financial difficulties in the North Chicago school district. Communities would have to absorb the students should it go bankrupt, he said, urging his colleagues to keep in close touch with federal and state officials.
Aside from those cautions, the communities all had big menus of plans and achievements. Following is an overview for each community:
Green Oaks: Mayor Bernard Wysocki said the village's special financing district along and near Route 176 is hopping and includes two large senior living projects, which are about 50 percent complete.
"The key to any good TIF (tax increment financing) district is to have a couple of anchors. We have two," he said.
Other new ventures include North Shore Distillers; the potential conversion of Fatman Bowl into an upscale restaurant and an off-track betting facility; and, a retail/wholesale nursery moving from Highland Park. The village is investing about $1 million in area improvements to attract business, he said.
Libertyville: Village officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday for its $8.74 million parking deck, the second downtown.
Residential projects are underway or planned for the former Bolander Park property; on land owned by the Catholic Bishop of Chicago along Butterfield Road; and near the downtown Metra station, he said.
The first tenant for the former Motorola facility has been signed, Weppler noted and the village has added 70 businesses since his last update.
Mundelein: Mayor Steve Lentz said 29 of 77 homes have been sold this year at the former Quig's apple orchard property.
"A lot of builders are looking at this as a gauge of what's going on in Lake County," he said. A 36-unit upscale apartment complex on Diamond Lake is complete and that developer is considering an anchor residential/commercial project across from the new village hall.
Vernon Hills: $50 million in improvements have been completed at the Westfield shopping center, which has a new owner, Kalmar said. "They've got a lot of interesting plans," he said.
The village hopes for construction this year on the Menards superstore store that has been stalled due to legal action. The village is working through the process for a $200 million residential/retail development at the northeast corner of routes 21 and 60. The village also is working with Hawthorn Elementary District 73, the Vernon Hills Park District and Cook Memorial Public Library District for coordinated plans along Aspen Drive.