CARY – Continuing economic development efforts were the highlight of the village president’s state of the community address.
Village President Mark Kownick on Tuesday spoke of some of the economic development that took place in the last year at the annual Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce event.
In 2013, there were 18 new businesses that opened in the village, including Pulsar Products, Cuginos Gourmet Foods, Technipaq, Damani’s Pizza and Pasta, Meineke and La Cucina Caffe.
In order to encourage economic development in the village, there is now a plan in place. It lays out economic development sites and goals, Kownick said.
Among the locations the village views as an opportunity site is Jack’s Channel.
“We’re the only river community with no river access,” Kownick said.
The village also has reduced permit fees by up to 50 percent for commercial buildings and alterations to help make it easier for local businesses to expand. Average savings are expected to be between $2,000 and $5,000, Kownick said.
The village also has approved an economic development incentives policy that has guidelines for sales tax sharing for businesses such as car dealerships, restaurants and grocery stores.
Kownick also gave an update on the village’s comprehensive plan process.
He said once the plan is complete, it will give the village credibility with the state and businesses “showing ... where we want to be as a community.”
During community workshops, business owners indicated they want the village to improve and maintain the downtown area and make sure Route 14 makes an attractive first impression, among other things, Kownick said.
People also want to see more senior housing as more residents want to age in place, Kownick said.
“We have residents who want to stay in Cary,” Kownick said.
Kownick also introduced Erik Morimoto as the village’s next Public Works director. Morimoto, who currently is the city engineer for Crystal Lake, will replace Cris Papierniak, who left the village in December to work in Arlington Heights.
Morimoto’s first day is March 3. He will start at a salary of $121,000, Village Administrator Chris Clark said.
Clark added he believed Morimoto will work well with the maintenance and utility workers in the Public Works Department.
Among the capital projects planned for later this year is the upcoming Jandus Cutoff realignment. Most of the work will be done by December. Clark added there will be some cleanup work expected in 2015.
Jandus Cutoff is being realigned at Route 14 to make it easier for trucks to turn onto the road.
The project at Jandus is expected to cost $1.6 million. More than 90 percent of the money is coming from outside grant sources such as the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the McHenry County Council of Mayors.
The village has applied for a $1.2 million federal hazard mitigation grant to alleviate flooding at Sunset and Crest drives. The area doesn’t have enough storm water detention to accommodate heavy rains and has flooding problems.
Clark added the village hopes to hear next week if it has been awarded the grant for the Sunset and Crest project.
If awarded the grant, the money would be used to purchase homes at the intersection and demolish them.
Among other projects Kownick highlighted is the ordinance codification process. Kownick expects the process to be complete in three months, making all ordinances available on the village’s website.