Wood Dale 2019 Year in Review
A Small City Where Big Things Happen
When talking about a passion for the Wood Dale Community, nowhere is it more prevalent than within the Wood Dale City Council! City Council exists to drive improvement through everything they do. And thanks to the Council’s dedicated direction, Wood Dale has taken on a variety of projects in 2019 and facilitated development opportunities that are strengthening community ties and epitomizing the spirit of Wood Dale being a small city doing very big things.
Council oversees a strategic plan, which guides staff in working together to achieve the City-wide goals of providing exceptional services, having exceptional places and being an exceptional community. Our main priorities include remaining fiscally strong and responsible with a balanced budget, maintaining and updating our infrastructure, enhancing aesthetics, working together, and keeping streets and citizens safe.
Thanks to the dedication and work done by our Police Department, Wood Dale was recently named one of the Safest Cities to Live In within Illinois. Some of the initiatives the Police Department took on in 2019 were the establishment of a virtual online neighborhood watch program and a surveillance camera registration program that allows residents to share footage that can potentially aid in solving crimes.
Wood Dale is a very unique City, with a small-town, rural atmosphere attached to a massive industrial complex that hosts both national and international business appeal, and a daytime population of nearly 40,000. Ease-of-access thanks to the completion of the recently expanded Illinois Route 390 makes Wood Dale, with its proximity to O’Hare, the ideal location for economic development.
This development continued to grow and evolve in 2019 throughout the expansive and growing industrial park. Facilitated in part by a tax increment financing district, the City provides one of the most in-demand, highest-occupied industrial areas within Chicagoland, while also enjoying one of the lowest overall vacancy rates. In 2019 alone, Wood Dale has seen grand openings from Exhibitus, IV Solutions, S-L Distribution, Heidolph North America and more; while Bridgepoint Wood Dale, one of several developments in progress, will bring with it new jobs, additional tax revenue and a community partner in Forward Space, a supplier of business and office furnishings. Another recent project was the annexation of 9.6 acres of unincorporated property for industrial redevelopment along Illinois Route 83.
2020 will see the beginning of construction on a series of multi-story upscale residential buildings comprised of nearly 150 units and incorporating commercial and retail space directly in the heart of Wood Dale next to City Hall.
These developments are stabilizing Wood Dale’s economy and improving the assessed value of all local property within the area. Both new and redeveloped properties serve the City by bringing in jobs, tax revenue and the high daytime population that contributes to the economy.
Additionally, Irving Park Road has also seen many new commercial properties establishing themselves, with the long-awaited Starbucks set to open its doors in 2020, and new businesses, services and restaurants like La Michoacana and The Pizza Kitchen setting down roots in the community.
These businesses provide tax revenue that allows the City to fund programs and capital improvement projects. Cost-saving programs like the Home Generator Grant, Driveway-Sidewalk Reimbursement, Dial-A-Ride, Rear-Yard Drainage, Skunk Removal and senior discounts could not be provided without this tax support.
Wood Dale also reinvests revenue provided by local hotels that are supported by the industrial businesses within the City, to provide an array of family-friendly events for our citizens. In 2019, we expanded special event offerings by providing more outdoor movies, car shows and small concerts in Community Square, in addition to annual events such as Prairie Fest, Tree Lighting and Trunk or Treat, and more intimate opportunities for residents to interact with City Council at informal Coffee with the Council gatherings. All of these events were well-received by attendees, and we look forward to providing even more special events in 2020.
Of major importance to all of Wood Dale is the improvement of stormwater issues. With regular, heavy storms increasing, the City has taken steps to develop a multi-year, multi-phase flood control project that will benefit hundreds of homes. The first phases of this project saw completion this past year with improvements made to Squaw Creek and Dalewood Avenue. The City is about to embark on the next phase of the plan which will increase inlet capacity, enlarge underground conveyance and storage, and divert water into underground storage facilities for up to 2.4 million gallons, with lift station and discharge piping. The City is working on grant funding and with other local governmental entities to provide these solutions that will enhance the quality of life for local residents.
This intergovernmental cooperation is key as we work together to make life better for Wood Dale citizens. The City recently assisted with the Wood Dale Park District’s ongoing White Oaks Park redevelopment project, and School District #7’s new playground projects at both Oakbrook and Westview Schools. In turn, these entities provide space for special events such as Prairie Fest, and work together on many cooperative endeavors.
With all projects no matter how large or small, the City understands the importance of communicating news about projects to residents. Over the past two years, the City has taken major steps to communicate with residents. Social media has become a key focus, with regular posts on Facebook and Twitter and the recent addition of Instagram and NextDoor platforms that reach even more residents. The City’s website also went through an overhaul and reorganization to make information easier to find. A new internal software resource management system is being implemented to handle billing, projects and inquiries to streamline our processes and make work more efficient. Finally, an overall Neighborhood Improvements communication campaign was developed to keep residents informed of projects happening on their own streets. The City sends out targeted mailings with information detailing projects such as tree trimming, road repair and sewer improvements so there is less surprise when these projects take place.
Wood Dale citizens take great pride in their community, and thus, City Council works to continually improve the aesthetics of our City. We’ve improved bike and pedestrian walkways and added landscaping and entry signs to help beautify Wood Dale. In 2020, the City plans to enhance Irving Park Road even more with aesthetically-pleasing banners within high traffic areas. The City also offers a façade improvement program for local businesses to assist with the costs of enhancing curb appeal.
2019 has been a full year for Wood Dale, but the goals of the Council remain consistent: keep our streets safe, remain fiscally strong and responsible, maintain and update city-wide infrastructure, reduce flooding, decrease airport noise, provide excellent services and enhance the aesthetics of Wood Dale to continue making it a wonderful place to live, work and thrive.