LOMBARD – Business development and retention was a primary focus Wednesday afternoon as Lombard President Keith Giagnorio gave his first State of the Village Address before a full room comprised of village officials, staff and community members.
"Through our Community Development Department, the village will continue to make economic development a priority," Giagnorio said during a roughly 20-minute speech at the Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry's 2014 State of the Village Address and Luncheon at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse.
Giagnorio, who was elected last spring, referenced three large commercial vacancies that were filled last year by The Dump, 2860 S. Highland Ave., Family Dollar, 727 S. Main St., and Baxton Furniture, 222 W. Roosevelt Road, and added that the village continues to discuss opportunities for new tenants within the former Kmart and Mr Z's.
"While these occupancies are also tied to some elements outside of the village's control, we are staying in touch with the appropriate parties and are ready to assist new businesses," Giagnorio said.
Additionally, the village is committed to working with the Lombard Town Centre to fill additional vacancies in the village's downtown area, he said, adding that two additional parking lots will open this year for shoppers to utilize downtown.
The village is also committed to working with existing tenants, including the Yorktown Shopping Center, which is completing its food court reconstruction and also has interior and exterior projects on the horizon, Giagnorio said.
"Business retention is as important as seeking new tenants and retailers are finding Yorktown and the village an attractice place to do business."
Aside from economic development, Giagnorio recapped the village departments, each "of significant importance to the quality of life, safety and well-being of Lombard residents."
The public works department saw the completion of several projects, including the second phase of the Finley Road Whitetopping Project, which improved underground utilities, drainage and the riding surface between Charles Lane and Glen Oak Road; the initiation of the Terrace View Pond Improvements Project that provided an additional 4.2 million gallons of storm water storage; and the construction of the first "green alley," constructed with a permeable asphalt surface to address drainage issues.
The department also saw the completion of its new salt dome, providing 6,000 tons of storage for road salt.
"The dome increases the village's ability to respond to winter storms while minimizing the impact of salt storage on the environment," Giagnorio said.
The police department continued its community outreach, graduating the 23rd class from the Lombard Citizen's Police Academy. Moving forward, the department will continue to transition from standard patrol vehicles to SUVs to allow greater patrolling during major storms, Giagnorio said.
The fire department, now fully staffed at 21 personnel per shift, celebrated its centennial in 2013.
"It was an incredible milestone for our community," Giagnorio said. "We are grateful for the 100 years of professionalism and service from the Lombard firefighters and paramedics."
Village employees are also committed to growing its communication with residents in 2014. Along with a redesign of "The Pride," the village's bi-monthly newsletter, the town's social media presence has doubled in the past year, and a new weekly E-News e-mail was initiated in January to provide residents with news, events and reminders, Giagnorio said.
The village has maintained a 100-percent transparency score from the Illinois Policy Institute, and will continue to meet that goal, he said.
"As your village president, I am committed to Lombard – it's economic prosperity, its strong government services and the high quality of life we all expect from the town we live in," Giagnorio said.
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For more information on the village's long-term goals, read about the Lombard Comprehensive Plan draft on Page XXX.