Community > Wheeling Circular/Village Views

Click here to go to the Village Views Archive in the Reference Desk section of our website.A lot of the information in our Wheeling Circular (formerly known as Village Views) newsletter can be found in various places throughout our website.  This page will  feature an article from the most recent issue.  We also have an archive of past newsletters available in our Reference Desk section. 
Click here to go to the Archive page.

January - February

From the Desk of President Dean S. Argiris

On Sunday, November 24, Wheeling hosted its annual holiday lighting event,
Lights Around Wheeling. This was a special event for our residents and I thank all those who braved the cold to visit with Santa and celebrate the annual ushering in of the holiday season. I’d like to give a special thank-you to State Senator Julie Morrison and State Representatives Carol Sente and Elaine Nekritz for coming to Wheeling to celebrate the season with us. A truly wonderful time was had by all!

There is a lot of good news to report from the first six months of my term, and I’d like to share it with you. I and the Board of Trustees are strongly committed to making Wheeling a great place to live and do business. Our Village is home to over 800 licensed businesses from over 50 different industries and business sectors, and we continue to outperform the region in several key areas. Our unemployment rate, which has been lower than state and regional rates for decades, just decreased even further from 8% in June to 7% in the fall. Even as we’ve seen an overall increase in retail vacancies in the Chicago area, Wheeling’s rate has declined. And the vacant proportion of our 14 million square feet of industrial space remains well below the regional average. Last year, retail sales by Wheeling businesses surpassed $503 million, and this year’s sales are even stronger, up overall by nearly 15%. That number reflects an 8% increase in restaurant sales and a 26% increase in general merchandise sales. Hotel performance also remains strong, with occupancies over 70%.
 
The development community has taken notice of the opportunities here, as several upcoming projects indicate. Our longstanding vision of a vibrant downtown continues to take shape, as the Village has secured over $150 million in new projects for the center of town. First among those is Wheeling Town Center, a transit-oriented, mixed-use development that will transform the former Wickes site into a dynamic downtown featuring nearly 300 luxury apartments, as well as restaurant, retail, entertainment, and recreation uses. These will be situated around a Village Greenway, which will serve as a community gathering place and a setting for public events like farmers markets, art fairs and festivals.
 
Another major building block for the center of town came into place when the Village Board unanimously approved the Northgate Crossings development in August, which will add 288 high-end residential units to the downtown district. These two projects will dovetail with other significant improvements in the heart of town.

The $38 million reconstruction of Heritage Park—a partnership between MWRD and the Park District, with the assistance of the Village—is on target to be completed in April. Once completed, this renovation will feature new entry plazas and a new Wolf Road entrance, more conveniently-located parking, a band shell with natural amphitheater seating, a pavilion with a lake overlook, walking paths looping the entire park, basketball and tennis courts, a new playground, and a new athletic complex that includes three artificial-turf baseball fields, one football/soccer/baseball field, and a centrally-located concession building with restrooms. In addition to these amenities that will complement the existing Recreation Center and Aquatic Center, the project also provides downstream flood relief and compensatory storm water storage for new development. Portions of this project that are at or near completion include the north parking lot, the pedestrian bridge, the vehicular bridge leading to the south parking lot, the creek relocation, the concession building, construction of asphalt paths and pathway lighting, and the surfacing, lighting, fencing, curbing, and scoreboards of the athletic field. This renovated state-of-the-art park facility will be among the largest in the region, and will attract thousands of visitors per year.

There’s plenty of good news elsewhere in town, too. Up at the Westin, the new owners of the Prairie Crossings shopping center have been actively marketing the available space and already have several new retailers signing on, including Spears Bourbon, Burgers & Beer, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant featuring live entertainment. And Saranello’s soon plans to open a dedicated banquet facility for weddings, corporate parties, and other events. On Lake Cook Road, construction is underway in Lexington Commons on a structure that is expected to include a second Wheeling Starbucks. And on Restaurant Row, our Economic Development staff continues to work with restaurant users interested in the former Le Francais and Don Roth’s sites, as well as the Village-owned site north of Tuscany.
 
And in our industrial sector, demand for sites continues to accelerate. For example, a U.S.-based multinational company has just stepped forward to lease a vacant 150,000 square-foot building. This new arrival is expected to bring over 100 employees to town. In November, the Village also co-hosted the Wheeling Manufacturing Conference and Career Expo at Wheeling High School for manufacturers and job seekers.  Congressman Brad Schneider and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky were the keynote
speakers at the event. Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Associate Superintendent of School District 214, provided insight into the programs being offered at Wheeling High School and invited manufacturers to partner with the school on manufacturing programs and facilities
particularly their new Nanotechnology Lab.

Speaking of Wheeling High School, the Village Board and I recently had the privilege of proclaiming November 18, 2013 “Wheeling High School Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team Day” in recognition of their second-place finish at the state championships. This is a dedicated group of young men who worked hard to achieve the school’s best-ever record of 23-2-2, and also achieved program records for the most goals scored (90) and the fewest goals allowed (18). The achievements of the Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team are
a testament not only to the skill and hard work of the team members, but also to the support they have received from their families, their fellow students, and Wheeling High School faculty, including Head Coach Ed Uhrik and Assistant Coaches Kevin Lennon, Robert Juszczyk, and Gilles Lonteen. The success of these young men is something in which all members of the Wheeling community can rightfully take pride, and I was proud to have been able to honor them.

I’m also proud to report that the Village recently received a letter from the Mayor of Gangnam, South Korea, accepting our invitation to pursue a Sister Cities relationship to provide exchanges of culture, education, investment, tourism, and trade. A primary objective of this initiative is creating opportunities for Wheeling manufacturers to export goods and services to South Korea. We also hope that this relationship will enable new educational exchanges for Wheeling students. In May of this year, the Gangnam Symphony Orchestra performed an amazing concert at Wheeling High School, and we hope to facilitate other such programs as this relationship continues to develop in the coming year.
 
I’d like to thank all of our residents and businesses on behalf of the entire Village Board for your support of our local economy, workforce, and schools, and for your significant charitable contributions and civic involvement. We recognize the tremendous value of the Wheeling taxpayers, and thank you for your contributions to our Village. And on a personal note, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Trustees, Village Clerk, and Village Staff for continually working together towards the success and betterment of this great Village we call home. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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