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. 
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March - April 2015

2015 State of the Village Address
Delivered by President Argiris on February 25, 2015

This is a very exciting time in the Village of Wheeling. Since I took office two years ago, I’ve worked with the Village Board and staff to come together as a team with creative ideas about how to move forward, and our efforts are really starting to pay off. The business climate in Wheeling has shown strong improvement, with rising sales, low vacancies, and several major projects on the horizon. A great number of new retail and restaurant businesses have opened—at Lexington Commons, the Westin, and elsewhere in town— and we’re proud to welcome them all. In a major development for the industrial sector, Federal Express is moving into the 150,000-square-foot former Rexnord facility following a $3 million renovation by the property owner, who is also making improvements to a nearby site for the FedEx fleet—investments totaling $14 million that will create jobs and increase property values. In general, industrial growth resulted in 644,000 square feet of business openings and expansions last year, and brought over 250 new jobs

This is a very exciting time in the Village of Wheeling. Since I took office two years ago, I’ve worked with the Village Board and staff to come together as a team with creative ideas about how to move forward, and our efforts are really starting to pay off.
The business climate in Wheeling has shown strong improvement, with rising sales, low vacancies, and several major projects on the horizon. A great number of new retail and restaurant businesses have opened—at Lexington Commons, the Westin, and elsewhere in town— and we’re proud to welcome them all. In a major development for the industrial sector, Federal Express is moving into the 150,000-square-foot former Rexnord facility following a $3 million renovation by the property owner, who is also making improvements to a nearby site for the FedEx fleet—investments totaling $14 million that will create jobs and increase property values. In general, industrial growth resulted in 644,000 square feet of business openings and expansions last year, and brought over 250 new jobs

A few facts and figures help tell the story of Wheeling’s successful year: our retail vacancy rate is below the regional average, and our retail sales have increased by more than 12%. Hotel occupancy is over 72%, while our industrial vacancy is under 6%—
particularly impressive when you consider that Wheeling has 275 industrial buildings totaling 14 million square feet. Overall, the Village issued permits for $40.4 million of construction projects in 2014, a $4.25 million increase over 2013. This growth is a
testimony to the hard work of Wheeling’s business community, and they deserve praise for an outstanding year.

The Village has also had an important role to play in the community’s prosperity. Last year we made over $8.9 million in capital improvements to benefit our residents and businesses, including nearly $1 million in TIF-related improvements. We also negotiated with the other taxing districts to create two new TIFs: the Town Center-II TIF, which will help transform the Dundee Road corridor and surrounding area, and the Southeast-II TIF, which will encourage development around the airport. Speaking of which, another important initiative currently underway is the Chicago Executive Airport Master Plan, a long-overdue study to maximize the value of this key resource, which will consider noise abatement and layout improvements among other issues; the study will be transparent and include opportunities for community input. The Village went through its own strategic planning process last year, a very rewarding exercise with many short- and long-term benefits; the Strategic Plan—the first the Village has formally adopted—declares our values, priorities, and specific goals, and serves as a guide to everything we do. The plan is available on our website, and it emphasizes being accessible to our residents. With this in mind, we’ve recently expanded our social media presence; we encourage residents to “like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter.

Another emphasis is reaching out to state and local partners to get things done for our residents, and the Village is taking a significant leadership role with regional agencies. I am chair of the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) Transportation Committee, joined by Trustee Bill Hein; I also serve on the NWMC Legislative Committee to give Wheeling a voice in Springfield at a critical time when the state is considering the potentially devastating impact of Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. Additionally, I was elected as the Sixth District Commissioner of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission by the
majority of the district’s mayors.

The Village has also sought out opportunities to improve efficiency by working with other government agencies. We now provide police dispatch services for the City of Des Plaines, an initiative that will save both communities money while maintaining reliable service. Last year we renovated the second floor of our Public Works facility into offices for the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, and we’re proud to welcome this organization to Wheeling. In a great collaborative effort, the Village worked with State Representatives Elaine Nekritz and Carol Sente to help Solex College achieve certification for its manufacturing apprentice program, which includes partnerships with Precision Zone and the ICARTEAM multi-industry network, both based in Wheeling; this initiative is part of the Village’s ongoing workforce development initiative, which helps make connections between government, industry, and educators. The Village has embarked on a cooperative effort with the Park District to establish a new and expanded Senior Center in Heritage Park; a space study is currently underway to determine a path forward in what is a major priority for both organizations. The Village is committed to a productive dialogue with local school districts, and plans regular discussions regarding the challenges the schools face. We recently joined the Chicago’s North Shore Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, which
will bring more conventions, trade shows, and corporate meetings to Wheeling, improving hotel occupancy and restaurant and retail sales. We’ll also continue our collaboration with the Wheeling / Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which will include events like the annual golf outing, the Industrial Manufacturing Seminars, and the Taste of the Town, all of which help promote Wheeling businesses.

Of course the Village’s most important partnerships are between its elected officials and staff. Since becoming President I have assembled a great team, and we’re more creative and productive than we’ve been in years. I have encouraged the trustees to be
active and involved in order to maximize the value of their experience and intelligence. They have also taken a broader role in representing the Village regionally: Clerk Elaine Simpson participates in the Municipal Clerks’ Association in addition to her longstanding involvement in the Wheeling Historical Society, Trustee Ray Lang serves on the Chicago Executive Airport board, Trustee Mary Krueger serves on the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center board, Trustee Bill Hein serves with me on the NWMC Transportation Subcommittee in addition to his leadership at the Historical Society, Trustee Ken Brady has served in working groups discussing both the Senior Center move and the stormwater utility study in addition to his longtime involvement with the Wheeling Garden Club, Trustee Dave Vogel continues to apply his professional expertise and passion for efficiency and accountability in advising the Finance Department, and new Trustee Joe Vito has already begun service as Fire Department liaison. Together, we’re working to make Wheeling a fun and exciting place to live, work, and visit. We brought back the July community event “A Night under the Stars,” a celebration featuring fireworks and live music that was attended by 15,000 people last year; this year’s event, which will be hosted by Chicago Executive Airport, will be even bigger and better. We’ve also reinvigorated “Lights Around Wheeling,” the Village’s holiday lighting event, to make it more spectacular than ever.

On a somber note, we lost two great public servants in 2014: former Village President Ted Scanlon, who passed away on December 11, and Village Trustee Bob Heer, who passed away on Christmas Eve. Both served the Village with passion, conviction and integrity, and will serve as an enduring example. I’m grateful to Joe Vito for his willingness to serve his community by filling Trustee Heer’s seat; he has big shoes to fill, but has already impressed me and his fellow trustees with his dedication and good judgment. We have an exciting and productive year ahead of us, with several major projects that will have a tremendous impact on the future of this community; in addition to those already mentioned, these include new construction at Prairie Park and the pursuit of a Sister City relationship with Gangnam in South Korea. In closing, please remember to vote in the Village election coming up on April 7. The residents of Wheeling deserve to be represented by a motivated, creative, and positive team of leaders, and you should be sure to make your voice heard. We become a greater community when we all work together—because when we’re having fun, we’re getting things done!

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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