Promises Made - Promises Kept
Economic development always has been and always will be a priority for the City of Crest Hill. It is my intention to actively pursue new businesses and support existing businesses throughout the City. In 2009, when I became Mayor, the City of Crest Hill lacked any economic development vision, long range plans or an economic development department. Upon being elected the Mayor, I created an economic development committee consisting of two aldermen and hired our first part-time economic development director. That position soon became a full time position in 2010. The position over the years has evolved into an Economic Development and Zoning Manager which is responsible for community development along with planning and zoning.
We as a city also became more visible and joined many organizations which included the International Conference of Shopping Centers, the Will County Center for Economic Development, the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, and the Crest Hill Chamber of Commerce. We also began marketing our city at various economic development shows, conferences and seminars. We began the long process of networking with developers in starting dialogue to attract new developments to the City of Crest Hill. Since Crest Hill entered the economic development arena so late, many of our surrounding neighbors were well ahead of us in marketing their cities. We subsequently entered in an agreement with Buxton, a retail consulting group, which assisted us in attracting new businesses to our city. We also streamlined our plan commission process and our fee structure to become more business friendly in order to attract new businesses. We made changes in regards to special use hearings with Plan Commission in order to expedite cases. We updated our development handbook to streamline the process for our developers. We established an economic development program which included a façade program, signage program, and incentive program. We are currently evaluating and establishing the opportunity of identifying a TIF District in certain areas of our city. We created a business retention program in 2016. We upgraded our City Website, added Facebook, Twitter, Nixel and e-alert emergency system in order to improve communications with our residents. We upgraded our comprehensive plan with the help of a $100,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for a long range vision of 15-20 years in the future by guiding policy decisions and helping our commuting achieve its long term objectives. The comprehensive plan for the City of Crest Hill will address many issues including economic opportunities, transportation, image, infrastructure, environmental features, open space, community character, and urban design. The comprehensive plan will provide community wide plans for land use and development, transportation, trails and mobility, parks and open space, community facilities and infrastructure, and implementation. One of the recommendations of the comprehensive plan was new signage to identify and separate the City of Crest Hill from its neighbors. Acting on that recommendation, we implemented the new blue street signs throughout the city, recognizing our borders and identifying the City of Crest Hill to all travelers. These street signs have been well received by our residents. They are larger in size, easier to read, and meet all reflectivity standards as required by the State of Illinois.
Since I have been Mayor, new businesses have been added to the City in the last 8 years. The following is a list of the number of businesses that have opened each year.
|2009||56 new businesses|
|2010||23 new businesses|
|2011||24 new businesses|
|2012||35 new businesses|
|2013||32 new businesses|
|2014||25 new businesses|
|2015||35 new businesses|
|2016||32 new businesses|
Some of the more notable businesses that have opened include:
In 2009, the Crest Hill Business Park located on Division Street, housed one 420,000 square foot empty warehouse. Over the past 8 years, the following businesses have been added to the business park: The Frito Lay Corporation purchased the empty building and moved its Midwest distribution center along with approximately 200 employees into that building. Soon after that, Goglanian Bakery built the second building at 262,000 sf in the business park and subsequently sold to Rich Foods who is the Midwest distribution center for frozen pizzas. They expanded in 2016 by building an additional 240,000 sf Cloverleaf Cold Storage building to work in conjunction with Rich Products and serve as a supplementary amenity for all of their freezer needs. A large conveyor system is elevated above Advantage Avenue for ease of use between both the Rich’s building and the new cold storage building and will be operating 3 lines of pizza production with room for expansion in the future to house 6 lines 24 hours/7 days a week. The business park also added both the Old Dominion truck terminal at 48,000 sf and Dayton Freight truck terminal at 94,000 sf. Dayton Freight also has room for future expansion. Finally, the Ridgeline Spec Building at 436,000 sf has been added to the business park. A new road system was created along with new traffic signalization within the business park for better efficiency, marketability and future expansion. In 2009, we had one vacant building in the Crest Hill Business Park; today in 2017 we have one 40 acre lot left available for development. In the last 8 years, we have added 1.6 million sf of buildings, hundreds of jobs, and a roadway system and infrastructure system that will improve the safety and traffic flow along the Division Street corridor for our residents, business and visitors. Hopefully these improvements over the last 8 years will spur economic development along the Weber Road corridor.
Jarper Properties has purchased 3.5 acres at the northeast corner of Division Street and Zausa Drive. A commercial lot that has sat vacant for a long time has now been rezoned to residential for new development. Jarper Properties has employed Graystone Homes to build 14 new upscale duplex units on this property coming in the summer of 2017. Graystone has already built many single family homes in Renaissance Crossing and will bring added value to the subdivision with the new development.
The 74-acre parcel on the northwest corner of Division and Weber Road was purchased in the fall of 2016 and we are currently in negotiations with the developer for a multi-use zoning on that property which will include some townhomes, office buildings, and retail development along the Weber Road corridor. Negotiations will continue and hopefully development will begin in the near future.