January 2018 Mayoral Update

It’s been several weeks since the last update.  The holiday season was relatively quiet.  I hope everyone enjoyed them.  The issues that have come up are the video gaming referendum, Sears announcing their closure, and the 2017 crime statistics.

The board voted to put a referendum on the ballot to more accurately reflect the ordinance that we are considering.  Here is a link to information on the ordinance being considered, http://orlandpark.org/index.aspx?NID=2522

The referendum question that we passed on a vote of 6-0 (Trustee Carroll was absent) reads as follows.  Should the Village of Orland Park approve and license video gaming within the village for those establishments, limited in number by the village, holding Class A liquor licenses (restaurants and restaurants with bars) and having conducted business for at least 18 consecutive months with signage conforming the village code?

Everyone’s position on the referendum can be heard via this audio.  http://www.orland-park.il.us/CivicMedia?CID=Board-of-Trustees-Meetings-2#

As most of you are aware Sears recently announced that they were closing their location at Orland Square.  I received the news the night before from Seritage who had petitioned to redevelop the upper level of Sears and add an AMC theater.   I was informed, and Seritage has since publicly released, that they plan to expand their development to include the lower level.   Their estimated total investment is about $45 Million.  Currently Sears generates approximately $890,000 in local sales and property taxes annually.  The redevelopment is conservatively projected to increase that amount to over $1.5 Million annually.

The Economic Development Advisory Board had unanimously approved and signed a letter to the board in December which they presented to the Village Board this week.  The letter indicated their support for this project.  At the time the letter was written, they feared for the future of Sears – turns out they were correct.  The EDAB pointed out that Seritage is a heavy weight in the redevelopment of malls, Simon properties is the world’s largest mall owner and AMC is the largest theater company in the U.S.  If all of these “heavy weights” in their industries are interested in this project at Orland Square, it speaks volumes about how they view Orland Square, Orland Park and this project!  It sends the signal that Orland Park is a place to invest!  For me, I prefer that message from the market than to be in the position of 100’s of other locations with a boarded- up Sears and few options.

Lastly, new crime statistics came out for 2017 and they were very good.  These numbers are from the Illinois Uniform Crime Report.  Orland Park had a 17.1% drop in index crime offenses from 2017 to 2016 (1,129 in 2017 vs. 1,360 in 2016).  This is the lowest reported index crime since 2003 in spite of increased population growth along with the growth in our commercial and retail sectors.  Crimes against persons did increase by ten from 25 to 35 driven by domestic battery offenses.  It should be mentioned that Orland Park had the lowest number of crimes against person for mid-size cities (>50,000) in Illinois in 2014 and 2016.  In 2015 we were the second lowest.  The comparison statistics won’t come out until late 2017.  Property crimes decreased by 241 from 1335 to 1094 with the largest decreases in burglary (dropped from 53 to 20 – the lowest number in 25 years) and theft dropping from 1263 to 1059.

This reduction is a direct result of the leadership of Chief McCarthy and his command staff as well as the dedication of all of the men and women in the department.  It is also a testimony to how hard they work with the community and the great relationship that Orland Park has with Simon Properties, the owners of the mall.   We have other statistics for malls and the areas surrounding them and Orland Square rates better than all of the major malls in the areas including Oak Brook and Woodfield.

I look forward to Orland Park and all of you having a great 2018!