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Veenstra urges collaboration in 2014

Addison Mayor Rich Veenstra (left) swears in chamber members (from left) Sari Levy, Patricia Zachascki, Juan Chavarin, Bob Anderson and Jim Vick on Jan. 23 during Veenstra's State of the Village address.
Addison Mayor Rich Veenstra (left) swears in chamber members (from left) Sari Levy, Patricia Zachascki, Juan Chavarin, Bob Anderson and Jim Vick on Jan. 23 during Veenstra's State of the Village address.

ADDISON – Mayor Rich Veenstra highlighted new development and infrastructure improvements Jan. 23 during his 2014 State of the Village address hosted by the Addison Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but he also called on the local business community.

"I'm proposing a summit of Addison businesses both commercial and industrial to discuss aggressive collaboration among all groups," Veenstra said.

He also asked members of the business community to work with the Addison Advantage task force of community and service organizations that he formed last year.

"Bringing the residents and business community together is a synergy that helps us all move the ball forward," Veenstra said.

He commended the village on its AA+ bond rating and expects XSport Fitness to be the new anchor store at Lake Street Commons, the former home of Dominick's.

Veenstra welcomed the addition of Chipotle, Panda Express and Aldi as well as the expansion of Walmart and Sam's Club.

"Clearly there has been economic progress and growth in our community," he said.

Plans for two senior housing developments, one on the east and one on west side have been presented. Veenstra said these plans are preliminary, but the village is looking at options for residents who want to stay in Addison, but downsize.

The village will dedicate Addison's Town Center park this year, which is also the village's 130th anniversary. The two-acre park will include a walking path, landscaping, benches and lighting adjacent to Jewel.

Veenstra also recapped some of the village's projects from 2013. The Fullerton Avenue Bridge replacement project was completed in November.

One project Veenstra was less than happy about was the Swift Road resurfacing, a $5 million project subsidized by a $3.5 million federal grant. Phase 1 was completed in 2013, but Phase 2, from Army Trail Road to Lake Street will be resurfaced this summer.

"By far, the biggest disappointment for me, our staff and the community was the Route 53/Rohlwing Road debacle," Veenstra said, explaining his skepticism about the Swift Road project.

Veenstra explained that the Route 53 project is an Illinois Department of Transportation project, of which the village has no direct control. The project is still underway, and Veenstra asked drivers to approach the area with caution, but he also asked residents to support businesses on Rohlwing Road.

"They've really undergone significant financial loss because of construction in that area," Veenstra said.

Veenstra credited the village's crime-free multi-housing project for the village's lowest levels of crime in years. The three-phase certification program works with rental properties to keep drugs and other illegal activities out of the community.

While he applauded Addison's efforts to reduce crime, Veenstra expressed concern about what Illinois' new medical marijuana law could mean for the village.

"In recent months we've been faced with the legalization of businesses that potentially pose a threat to the wellfare and the image of our community," Veenstra said. "At times the state seems to forget it's about serving people not the dollar."

Through zoning ordinances, the village has restricted medical marijuana clinics and massage parlors to the village's industrial areas in an effort to discourage those businesses.

"While we continue to focus on what is right for our community, it is critical that we don't become an island and isolate ourselves from the rest of DuPage County and the state," Veenstra said.

He mentioned the village's continued participation in the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference as well as the Illinois Municipal League.

"Clearly much has been done and accomplished this past year, but there's much more to do," Veenstra said.

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2014 projects

1. Street resurfacing

The village plans to use $2 to 2.5 million in Motor Fuel Tax funds on street resurfacing.

2. Public Works projects

The village plans to use a $7 million low-interest loan to replace water mains, upgrade public lift stations and focus on using better technology to improve resident access to the Public Works Department.

3. Westwood Creek

The village plans to complete the Westwood Creek stabilization project in 2014 with TIF funds.

4. Emerald Ash Borer

The village estimates 3,000 trees are affected by the insect. So far, 543 trees have been removed. In 2014, the village plans to use $1.5 million to remove and replace more trees as soon as the weather permits.

5. Elgin O'Hare Western Access Project

Mayor Veenstra said properties on Lake Street have been targeted for commercial development as part of the Elgin O'Hare Western Access Project.

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