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Elmhurst mayor outlines city’s achievements

ELMHURST – Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley addressed community members Jan. 8 in his mayoral address at the Community Bank of Elmhurst-sponsored “State of Our City” membership breakfast event.

Morley began his remarks with a nod to Elmhurst’s history, as the end of 2019 will mark 150 years since Elmhurst gained its name. As 2018 ended, Elmhurst is making and carrying forth urban development plans and city services, he said.

Morley noted the city’s finance department won its 12th annual GFOA distinguished budget award. It also maintained its AAA bond rating for the fifth year in a row, which allows the city to borrow money at the lowest rate possible. The city has a fully funded $1 million rainy day fund and as of Jan. 1 had $18.7 million in its general fund, Morley said.

“We’re as strong as we’ve ever been,” he said.

Home values in Elmhurst have increased more than 32 percent in the past three years, he added.

Elmhurst replaced TIF One with a smaller downtown TIF in 2018, and the year also marked the opening of several dining establishments and retail stores, including Elmhurst Brewing Company and At Home. Additionally, Culvers is slated to replace the former Burger King property on North York Street in downtown Elmhurst.

The city has worked to develop a second main thoroughfare on Addison Avenue in downtown Elmhurst in addition to York Street. Morley said the December addition of Fitness Formula Club, 140 N. Addison Ave., brings “anywhere from 800 to 1,000 unique visits” each day.

“Imagine what that’s doing for those businesses on Addison,” Morley said. “We’re happy to see them.”

The city also has added TIF incentive programs of retail grants, a sign grant and a facade program.

Downtown residential density also has grown with developments such as The Opus Group’s The Marke of Elmhurst, which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019 at Addison Avenue and First Street. The Marke is a six-story, mixed-use luxury apartment building that will feature 164 residential units, according to The Opus Group’s website.

Morley said the first phase of engineering has been completed for the Metra station, and the second phase probably will take two years to complete because several agencies and federal regulations are involved in the rebuild of the station. Although the city estimated the cost of the rebuild at $18 million, city staff has been able to find $16.4 million in outside funding, Morley said.

Morley said he looks forward to the new station.

“The current train station, while serviceable, kind of has that Russian-industrial feel I don’t think really highlights Elmhurst as good as it could,” he said. “So we’re looking forward to redeveloping that.”

In addition to becoming authorized to carry epipens in July 2018 after the passage of an amendment to the Annie LeGere Law, the Elmhurst Police Department was able to save five lives in 2018 through using Narcan, which can treat a narcotic overdose, Morley said.

The department also made 19 felony arrests, including the arrests of nine burglary offenders through using cameras that read vehicle license plates, he said.

The Elmhurst Fire Department achieved the top ISO rating, which insurance companies use in evaluating how much to charge residents for home insurance. The department also received two “run of the month” awards from Elmhurst Hospital.

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