This past Saturday night I had the opportunity to attend a dinner, dance, and awards presentation sponsored by the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce. I enjoyed the chance to meet and converse with area business and civic leaders. In my past year and a half as Village President, I’m continually impressed with the collaborative way I see our elected officials and chamber volunteers work together for the mutual benefit of everyone in our corner of Lake County. And the award winners this past weekend were perfect examples of this. I noted that none of the recipients this year were from Long Grove. For the next Evening of Excellence, I have it in mind to put forward some deserving nominees for “business of the year” and “citizen of the year” from our Village. Could it be you?
Happy New Year! I hope that your 2015 is off to a great start. I’d like to take a moment of your time to recap some of the significant things that happened on the Village Board in the past 12 months, and give you a peek ahead to what is on the agenda for Long Grove in the coming year.
Every two years, as new Village officials are elected, the new Board spends a workshop day identifying goals for the months ahead. 2014 saw the realization of several of those goals, and significant work was achieved on many goals that are ongoing. Goals that were achieved include: the replacement of street signs throughout the Village, update and expansion of the permitted uses in the downtown historic district, lease of the Village soccer fields, and determining the specifics of a road maintenance funding referendum, which was held this past March. One goal that is ongoing is to “identify sustainable long-term funding sources for needed infrastructure repair and replacement.” Following the failure of the referendum, this goal became a high priority. A series of infrastructure workshops was held over the summer and fall months, with the 4th and final workshop planned for January 20th. Members of the community were invited to work with the Board of Trustees in exploring funding options aided by the guidance and advice of consultants in the fields of strategic planning, engineering, economic development, and finance. As an outcome of these workshops, the Board expects to have a consensus on direction with regard to funding our current and future infrastructure needs. The completion of a long-range Capital Improvement Plan that provides a comprehensive view of the Village’s capital needs is another goal that is ongoing, and has been a topic of this workshop series.
ADDITIONAL 2014 ACTIONS
Several new issues were brought before the Board this year, two of which resulted in large attendance at public hearings and Village Board meetings. Video Gambling was approved by the Board on a six month temporary basis, and is currently available at four locations in the historic downtown. The decision on establishing this on a permanent basis will come before the Board this coming April. Two new Senior Living & Memory Care developments have been approved in the Village, one near the intersection of Routes 53 and 83, another near the intersection of Rt. 53 and Long Grove Road. Construction is expected to start on both of these projects in the coming months.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2015
On April 7th, you will be asked to participate in the future direction of our Village as three of the Trustee positions will be up for election. Six candidates are running in the race, and your vote will be important. Our Village Clerk position is uncontested.
One of the first goals that the Board will be addressing in 2015 is an update of the Comprehensive Plan. It has been many years since the previous update, and the time has come to take the pulse of the current residents to make sure that our policies and guiding principles accurately reflect those of the majority. To assist with this, the Village is hiring a professional survey organization to conduct a Village-wide survey this winter. If you are called to participate, please let us know your opinion.
In the coming year we expect to make progress on the extension of our Village pathway system, finalizing a connection between the south Schaeffer Road path and the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve. A decision on the renovation or replacement of our covered bridge will be made, and steps will be taken to get this work underway. Our Village water system will be extended from the municipal well at Sunset Plaza into the downtown crossroads. This will bring higher quality water into the shops and restaurants in our historic business district and be an important factor in attracting new development and encouraging improvements to existing properties. Speaking of new development, many of the properties in the historic downtown have recently come under new ownership, with several more expected in the next few months. The Board is looking forward to working with these new owners in 2015, as new shops and restaurants are opened. We will be assisting with efforts to attract new businesses by forming an Economic Development Commission, and will be taking a more active role in outreach.
Many goals are yet to be achieved. But your Village Board has the willingness to work hard, and with your support much can be accomplished in the year ahead.
One of the ways that I’ve decided to challenge myself in this new year is to finally create and maintain a blog. The occasional postings that you read here will not be official opinions of the Village of Long Grove, but my own personal thoughts about local issues. We do not have a Village newspaper, and while the monthly “Bridge” newsletter and “Long Grove Living” are great communications, they aren’t always timely. So my hope is that this blog will serve as a handy format to quickly get news and musings out to the community, and give our residents one more way to be informed on local happenings.
In putting together my ideas for an initial post, I ran across this quote:
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” –Plato
I am confident in saying that most of the blog entries you will read here will fall somewhere in between the wise and foolish spectrum. I’ll do my best to keep it brief and non-controversial. I will not be enabling comments, but if there is a topic that you would like to see me write about, I am open to suggestions. I promise to keep a civil tone, and will expect the same in return.