By Megann Horstead | For The Sentinel
In his State of the Village Address, Shorewood Mayor Rick Chapman took time to review the village’s successes and efforts to address its challenges.
“I’m happy to say that the village is thriving, it’s healthy, and it looks like it has a bright future,” he said.
Speaking in front of community and business leaders, Chapman delivered his 15th annual State of the Village Address on March 13 at Troy Township Community Center.
A host of new businesses came to town in 2016, and this includes Nothing Bundt Cakes, Mun’s Korean Martial Arts, Noodles & Company and Starbucks.
In total, Shorewood brought in 33 new businesses and 100 new homes.
“In a town of this size that tells you a lot,” Chapman said. “That tells you that people want to be here. Not only do they want to live here, but they want to do business here… There’s nothing worse than seeing a village with boarded up windows, and thank God Shorewood doesn’t have any.”
Chapman said they’re going to do a lot of work in Shorewood moving forward.
In 2017, a host of new developments are expected to join the business community, including La Quinta Inn, Which Wich Super Sandwiches and UPS.
This year, the village is also working on a number of capital improvement projects, one being the development of Wynstone Park.
“It’s going to be a great amenity for our… people in the southern part of the village,” Chapman said. “We don’t have a facility—anything like this—and it’s about time. If you look at the state requirements, we’re still slightly short on park space, so this is going to help.”
That park is set to open by the fall.
Another project to see improvement is streets along River Road and Route 52.
Chapman said this was promised to be done in conjunction with the Lenny’s Gas N’ Wash. The village has the money to improve these roads with the introduction of some left and right-hand turn lanes and a stretch of additional lanes, he said.
“In order to the get flow through River [Road] and [Route] 52 the way we promised we were going to do it, this needs to be done and that’s be done this year,” Chapman said.
Chapman said the only problem they’re going to run into is when those lanes pinch down going toward the older part of Route 52.
“Future development’s going to have to start to take care of that type of thing,” he said.
Additionally, the village is to resurface River Road and Black Road along the stretch of streets beginning right before the DuPage River.
“For the residents, we end up sending back 50 percent of what they pay on their property tax dollar,” Chapman said of property tax rebates. “The village collects [four] pennies. After we collect the four pennies, we end up giving back [one and maybe, another penny] to the residents in the form of a rebate on their property taxes. And that, in case you forgot, that promise was made because of the increase on the sales tax of the three-quarter percent.”
Chapman said when the village became a home rule municipality and started getting that increase, officials decided to earmark the funds for Lake Michigan water.
In 2006, the village noted that its aquifer water levels were depleting.
“Come 2008, we decided that it’s time to buy an allocation for Lake Michigan water,” Chapman said.
Shorewood officials have taken a number of actions over the years to ensure residents they don’t run out of water.
Chapman said right now, the village is good shape.
“By the way, in the last budget session, we put away a million dollars in the fund [for Lake Michigan water,]” Chapman said.
Chapman said the residents can rest assured the village is on its way to building that 17-mile pipeline that extends from Bolingbrook to Shorewood for the engineering of lake water. The first drop of Lake Michigan water is still probably six to seven years out, he said.
“It’s been a long ongoing procedure that’s been very intense at times, but it’s necessary if we’re going to ensure the future of this village when it comes to our water supply,” Chapman said. “All these steps are things that had to happen and will have to happen.”