Burgeoning Burr Ridge
Once a little known village of Harvester, west suburban Burr Ridge has become a bastion of shopping and dining, beautiful houses and expansive parks in a community more than 11,000 residents call home.
But even while some 150,000 cars pass through its borders each day, Burr Ridge has grown “under the radar,” something Mayor Mickey Straub says he intends to change.
Raising the level of visibility during the village’s transition from bedroom community to destination spot could take some doing, the 26-year resident concedes.
The business tycoons, entertainment celebrities and sports notables who dwell here cherish their privacy and generally don’t seek to attract attention.
“At the same time,” Mayor Straub says, “we have so many resources that people are unaware of. For example, within our seven square miles are 450 diverse businesses representing a microcosm of America.
“I call it the 4-3-2-1 village, because we count four churches, four school districts, three park districts, three high school districts, two counties and two fire departments all in a single village.”
One move designed to build name recognition saw Burr Ridge secure a state grant to provide enhancements to a major reconstruction project involving the County Line Rd. bridge that crosses the Interstate-55. Doug Pollock, Community Development Director, says by the end of the year each corner of the rebuilt bridge will display the Burr Ridge logo.
New commercial and retail enterprises continue to boost the town’s stature. Pollock cites the opening in February of a Chase Bank facility, along with other recent arrivals: Red Mango, a frozen yogurt shop; and two women’s clothing stores, J. Jill and Francesca’s.
Scott M. Rolston says the mixed-use Burr Ridge Village Center, where he is vice president-general manager, has been stable since its opening in November 2007. The center is occupied by 30 national retailers, among them Loft, Eddie Bauer, Banana Republic, Chico’s and Victoria’s Secret.
“Burr Ridge also has some upscale restaurants but nowhere for moms with strollers to go for a casual meal. Finding such a tenant is high on our priority list,” Rolston says.
The center also includes 196 condominiums, with only one remaining to be sold.
He says the village’s four largest employers – textbook publisher McGraw-HIll, heavy equipment manufacturer CNH Industrial N.V., Loyola Center for Health and Dove Bar maker M&M/Mars Inc. – continue to thrive.
Community involvement in Burr Ridge remains strong, complementing the shopping, dining and recreational opportunities which abound. Janet Kowal, the village’s special events coordinator, highlights some of the major activities lined up for the year:
►Armed Forces Day. The ceremony, at 10 a.m. May 17, takes place at the site of the Veterans Memorial (7660 County Line Rd., adjacent to the Village Hall). The keynote speaker, Lt. Col. (Retired) Terrence Benshoof from Glen Ellyn will speak. Antique and current military vehicles will be on site, and Marmion Academy military band from Aurora will perform, while the National Guard will provide the color guard presentation. Also planned is a special flyover to celebrate the holiday.
►“Run the Ridge.” This 10th annual event at 8 a.m. May 31, involves a 5k and 1k run and walk. Local NBC sports anchor Mike Adamle will emcee. Sponsored by Right Fit, the event benefits the Proactive Kids Foundation.
New this year will be a similar event, Run for Vets, scheduled for 9 a.m. July 27. Funds will go toward helping veterans in need, and sign-up will be at the Village Green.
►Concerts on the Green. Free concerts at 7:30 p.m. every Friday June 6-Aug. 29 at the Burr Ridge Village Center are sponsored by the Burr Ridge Park District and Downtown Events Planning Committee. “It’s a kind of mini Ravinia,” says Kowal, noting that concert-goers provide their own blankets or lawn chairs, food and drink. Abba Tribute Band is scheduled for the season opener.
►Farmers’ Market. Sponsored by the village and local park district, the weekly market starting June 12 will operate from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays on the Village Green. It will feature some 20 or more vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to cheese, flowers, baked goods, textiles and homemade soap.
►7th Annual Car Show. “Where Classics Meet Modern” is the theme of this event, held 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. June 22, at the Village Center. A free concert at noon will feature the Neverly Brothers, a rock ‘n’ roll group. Last year’s event attracted more than 125 classic, vintage and modern car participants.