Economy Looking Better Locally, Officials Say

Local business news was largely positive at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon May 22.

A business update provided by local leaders at a Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills (GLMV) Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday was largely positive. Leaders indicated that retail sales and the demand for hotel rooms in Lake County are both on the upswing.

"We're seeing some positive signs that we're continuing to recover from the Great Recession," said Michael Stevens, president of Lake County Partners. The organization is a 501c3 economic development corporation. "But it's also fragile."

Stevens said in Chicagoland, retail sales are up 5 percent. In Lake County, the demand for hotel rooms is up 6.7 percent, and a lot of that is business-related travel, he said.

Though Stevens is concerned about the number of office vacancies in Lake County, which are "a little higher than I'd like to see," he is confident in Lake County's position economically.

Locally, Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler said things are looking great, overall, in the village. He noted the two successful referendums in March — one for electric aggregation and the other for . Those referendums will result in a and "five years’ worth of grinding, paving and rebuilding" local roads, respectively, Weppler said.

Downtown Libertyville is thriving, he added, with three new restaurants opening within the next couple of months. He also highlighted the busy summer ahead, with events taking place almost daily.

"There is a downside," Weppler noted. He mentioned the possibility that the state of Illinois, with its budget woes, could freeze and divert part of municipalities' tax revenues to help balance its own budget.

"Otherwise, Libertyville is doing great," said Weppler.

Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman said that in the next couple of years, the project of the utmost importance is Route 53. . Stolman called the move monumental.

"This is actually historic," said Stolman. "There was resounding consensus, there's no doubt about that. (Route 53) is a bridge to the future."

Jose May 23, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Economy looking better ?????? What planet are they from who said that ??? The economy is not getting better.. How can the economy get better if the jobs keep being outsource to China and to other foreign countries ??? Businesses and big corporations don't want to hire American workers anymore...They hire illegals to do Unskilled jobs and high tech workers from India to do high tech jobs at slave wages......i do not see the economy getting any better , any time soon....America must make many changes in order to improve the economy....
Donny May 24, 2012 at 02:46 PM
They have been talking about Route 53 since the early 1990's - 20 years ago. It will be another 20 years till it is built, if that. No large corporation will choose to expand or move to Illinois any time soon citizens know it, business owners know it, but politicians don't. The economy is fighting back, but it is just that. Crushing public debt, crushing taxes, scarce jobs for young adults, and the socialization of our medicine system will only do more to slow growth not encourage it. Americans will survive but they will no longer thrive as generations did before them because of an ever expanding government and police state.


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