BERWYN – In Berwyn, there are more new businesses, less crime on the streets and $5.9 million has been saved for a rainy day.
Life in Berwyn is good, and Mayor Robert Lovero said that’s good reason to love his job.
Lovero, who gave a State of the City address to members of the All Berwyn Committee when they met last month, spoke highly of those in his administration for being able to provide services, despite the fact he was elected during a national recession.
In terms of crime, arrests are down due to “proactive enforcement and the use of crime analysis statistics to help predict where problems are going to occur,” he said.
The Berwyn Police Department now staffs a resource officer at middle schools to work with troubled youths, which is all possible through federally approved asset forfeiture funds.
Lovero, while attending the ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday of Berwyn’s latest music club, WIRE, 6815 W. Roosevelt Road, said 77 businesses have opened in the past 18 months, many of those reclaiming vacant storefronts. The club, which also will serve as a music school and recording studio, is located in a former movie theatre from the 1920s.
It’s such innovative businesses as WIRE, and one of the areas definitive music venues, FitzGerald’s Nightclub, down the street at 6615 Roosevelt Road, that have made, and continue to make Berwyn a place to go to rather than pass through.
“We’ve become a destination,” Lovero said. “This is a venue that will draw from the surrounding communities. The kind of people who are going to come here are those who enjoy music. People come to Autre Monde from all over the Chicago area,” Lovero added, referring to the chic restaurant at 6727 Roosevelt Road, that opened in 2011.
Berwyn’s property values have seen an increase of 7.8 percent since last year, Lovero said, and the city has retained an A-minus Standard and Poor rating.
The city also is in the enviable position of having built up a $5.9 million fund balance.
“That’s something we’ve never had before,” he said.
It didn’t come easy either, and Lovero credited the administration with taking a focused look at all aspects of the government and economizing wherever and whenever possible.
Lovero was quick to pass out praise to those in his administration, as well as the Berwyn Development Corporation, which he called elemental in the success of Berwyn’s business community.
So, does it feel good to be king?
“I really consider myself kind of like the quarterback of a team that has a great team around me,” he said.
The nonpartisan All Berwyn Committee hosts public meetings on topics of community interest from September through May. Berwyn Public Works Director Robert Schiller and Building Director Charles D. Lazzara are featured at the next meeting at 7 p.m. Oct.17 in Berwyn City Hall, 6700 W. 26th St.