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Mayor provides positive outlook in State of the Village address

LEMONT — While Lemont may be considered a small village, Mayor Brian Reaves says the town is poised to keep growing in 2013.

Reaves delivered a State of the Village address in a March 6 event hosted by the Lemont Area Chamber of Commerce. It was the 10th annual State of the Village Address.

There were 155 people in attendance this year including village personnel and local business leaders, a new record for the event, said Joanna Kmiec, executive director for the Lemont Area Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at Crystal Grand Banquets, 12416 Archer Ave. in Lemont.

Reaves is completing his fourth year as mayor of the village and is seeking a second term as he runs unopposed in the April 9 election. In his speech, Reaves discussed the village’s economic and residential growth on the horizon for the coming year.

Among the projects for 2013 is the residential development Kettering Estates, located at 131st Street and Parker Road. When completed, the project is slated to bring 241 new homes to the village. Reaves said the residential development will be completed in phases and the hope is for the project to break ground this spring.

In 2012, the village saw an uptick in home building with 52 permits for new home buildings issued, said Village Administrator Ben Wehmeier.

Another positive note for the village is the increase in new business. Last year, 16 new businesses opened in Lemont including retail, restaurants and service-related companies. Just a few months into 2013, there are two more businesses slated to open this spring.

Last year, the village budgeted funds for a marketing program that included the launch of a new website, Reaves said the website is drawing around 400,000 hits per month. The aim is to attract visitors and new residents searching for information about Lemont’s businesses, attractions and residential opportunities.

“We’re trying to market the town, the housing stock, the amenities, the churches, libraries and parks,” Reaves said.

The website features a video presentation about the village, which includes Reaves talking about some of the village’s highlights.

Visitors as well as residents can use the website to find special offers. These include discounts at local restaurants and businesses.

Lemont Area Chamber of Commerce President Michele Birk said she didn’t know about the website until the mayor discussed it at the March 6 event. After reviewing the website, Birk said she likes it and would like to see more businesses use the site.

Birk, owner of Belle De Jour boutique and salon and the Nail Inn School of Cosmetology, said there have been many businesses to come and go in the village over the years. But she is glad to see building vacancies down, especially near her own businesses, she said.

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