Mayor Tim Baldermann highlighted New Lenox's recent business development and future growth during his annual State of the Village Address on Tuesday night.
The annual speech, given at a Chamber of Commerce dinner, serves as an update to some of the major projects and developments in town.
"We've had a lot of success since the last time we were here a year ago," Baldermann said. "In a tough time, we continue to forge ahead."
Chamber board president Mark Stevens said there have been 30 new members in the first five-plus months of 2012. Here's a glimpse into what Baldermann highlighted:
Silver Cross Hospital: "We have that quality health care in our community. It's wonderful for our residents and for the entire region. It also does a lot to spur economic development." In addition to the new hospital, the Provena Medica Arts Pavilion is set to open in July across from the Walmart development. .
Spring Creek Outlet Mall: One of the economic developments planned near the hospital is the outlet mall, which will be built just to the north. Baldermann said it's likely to break ground in spring 2013, and he estimated that by the following spring there could be 250,000 square feet of retail open. Read more about the outlet mall plans.
Portillo's: The popular restaurant has started building along Route 30 near Target and plans to open in September. Baldermann lauded president Dick Portillo for deciding to forego the sales tax incentives promised him. "Portillo's can go into any community they want. Not only were we able to land them, but it was at no cost to the taxpayers." Read more about Portillo's.
Route 30: The 9-mile widening project is expected to bring more business development to New Lenox, but in the meantime construction is taking longer than originally anticipated. Village engineer Will Nash said it will likely continue through summer 2013. For now, the village has been communicating with businesses about the construction. .
New Housing: Although Baldermann didn't have an exact number of new housing starts in 2012, he said it could possibly reach 100 by the end of the year. That's a big improvement after the village dipped as low as 20-some starts a few years ago. .
Gas Prices: When New Lenox's gas prices were up to 20 cents more than its neighbors, Baldermann told residents to boycott local stations. He acknowledged that's not the most pro-business stance, but said, "If we didn't take care of the residents in our town, the businesses aren't going to be successful." .
Video Gambling: On Monday night, the Village Board voted to opt out of allow video gambling machines in local establishments. That upset at least one business owner and representatives from the local American Legion and VFW posts. Baldermann addressed it again Tuesday, saying, "I challenge anybody to say (we) aren't supportive of our businesses." .