Lakewood Village President Erin Smith Pens Summer Letter

Here’s the summer letter from Lakewood Village President Erin Smith:

Dear Neighbors,

Erin Smith

Erin Smith

As a lake and golf course community, summer is a great time to live in the Village of Lakewood!

Once we all recover from the recent storms, I hope that you and your family have an opportunity to enjoy all of the outdoor amenities available to us in this area.

While the summer is often a time of travel and relaxation, we continue to make progress on a number of issues:

Local Elections

At our first meeting in May, we had the opportunity to welcome our local officials who were elected during the spring.  I want to personally thank you for the faith that you demonstrated in me by my reelection.  And we offer our congratulations to Trustee Gene Furey and Trustee Jeff Iden on their reelection to the Board of Trustees.  We also welcome Trustee Beverly Thomas and thank her for her willingness to serve in this role.  As John Burton chose not to run as a result of his growing job commitments and obligations, we thank him for his many years of devoted service to our community.

Celebrate Lakewood

Our summer began with a bang as we hosted our second annual Celebrate Lakewood event at RedTail Golf Club.  This year’s event included booths from many of our local businesses; live music; games and activities for children; raffle prizes; free golf lessons; exhibits by the Public Works, Police and Fire Departments; and a special visit by the Flight for Life helicopter.  An enormous thank you to the members of the Community Development Committee for the endless hours they have devoted to this event:  Chairman Bill Wayne, Trustee Gary Sexson, Trustee Gene Furey, Rich Ford, Harriett Ford, Don Miller and Chris Neuhart.  And thanks to our generous sponsors, the event took place with no out-of-pocket costs to the Village:

  • Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle
  • Baxter & Woodman
  • ICON Building Group, LLC
  • Sexson Orthodontics, Ltd.
  • Eder, Casella & Co.
  • Ackman RedTail, LLC (aka Lakewood Commons)
  • Reprographics
  • T.P.I. Building Code Consultants
  • Leix Dental

If you have suggestions for next year’s event, or you would like to volunteer, please send at note to Village Hall at [email protected].  

Village Hall

Given some of the media coverage this spring, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate our position regarding the possible issuance of debt for a new Village Hall/Police Station.  We have identified the property owned by the Village on Haligus Road as the most suitable location for our future Village Hall and have been setting aside money in reserves for many years that will support the cost of this project.  That said, we do not intend to begin the design and construction of  Village Hall until a higher and better use of the existing Village Hall site is confirmed, providing additional revenue which will help finance the cost of the new building.

It is important to emphasize that

the Board of Trustees will not issue General Obligation or Alternative Revenue bonds for the construction of a new Village Hall/Police Station.

As a result, no new or additional taxes can be levied to pay any debt.  Rather, we will conduct a detailed and thorough analysis prior to the start of the project to insure that the facility can be paid for with a combination of reserves and existing revenue streams.

We also continue to make progress on our due diligence for the site on Haligus Road.  We recently completed a wetland delineation and are currently in the process of securing proposals to conduct soil borings.  This information will prepare us for a discussion about the most effective way in which to design and build the facility.

Roadways  

Consistent with our ten year plan for roadway improvements, there will be limited improvements this summer.  Rather, a larger roadway improvement program will be undertaken next year which will allow us to take advantage of timing and economies of scale to secure the best bids possible.

Motorists who travel along Lakewood Road or Lake Avenue will notice survey stakes, which are the first step in completing the Phase I engineering necessary for the resurfacing and addition of bicycle lanes.  Originally scheduled for 2016, we hope to move the project forward to 2015.

Plans for new bike paths in Lakewood.

Plans for new bike paths in Lakewood.

$1.8M in grant funds has been secured to pay for these improvements.

And you may have read in the local newspaper that the Village of Lakewood is actively working with the state of Illinois to improve the southern leg of the Route 47 and Route 176 intersection by creating a signalized four-way intersection and eliminating the intersection of Route 47 and Pleasant Valley Road.

The intersection Lakewood seeks to reconfigure.

The intersection Lakewood seeks to reconfigure.

This intersection has historically been listed in the top five percent (5%) most dangerous intersections in the state of Illinois.

We truly appreciate the leadership of Senator Pamela Althoff and Representative Jack Franks in making this project a reality, along with the support of Senator Karen McConnaughay and Representative Michael Tryon.

Our local government colleagues have also demonstrated strong support for this crucial roadway improvement.  We extend our thanks to McHenry County Chairwoman Tina Hill, the McHenry County Council of Governments,  the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation, the Village of Huntley, the Village of Lake in the Hills, the City of Crystal Lake, and the City of Woodstock for their support.

Finally, the McHenry County Department of Transportation is conducting a survey to rate the importance of proposed transportation improvements, and it includes improvements to the Route 47 corridor.  These improvements are critical to improving the overall safety of this heavily travelled highway, as well as our future economic development efforts.  Please take a moment to visit the McHenry County 2040 Transportation Plan website at www.2040mchenrycountyplan.org  and indicate your support for the Route 47 improvements.

Economic Development

Interest in our community continues to grow.  Several new homes are or will be under construction this summer, and two new multi unit buildings are expected to be built in the Highlands of RedTail this year.

I am most excited, however, to announce the opening of a wine and tapas bar at El Café in Lakewood Commons! Under the same ownership/management, El Café will still serve its great breakfast and luncheon items until 2:00 p.m. every day.  At 4:00, however, it will reopen as an intimate lounge serving wine and tapas.  A “soft” opening is scheduled for July 1, and access our website for information about the formal opening.

As we continue to approach new businesses about opening in our community, it’s imperative that we are able to demonstrate the success of our existing businesses.  Please take every opportunity that you have to support our local business community so that it can continue to grow and expand!

Recent Storm Damage

Lakewood pumps were working at Riverside and Broadway.

Lakewood pumps were working at Riverside and Broadway.

I want to close by acknowledging the severe weather we’ve experienced recently and the damage from flooding that some of you experienced.

Broadway was flooded on June 25, 2013, between Gates 19 and 21.

Broadway was flooded on June 25, 2013, between Gates 20 and 22.

There are a number of ways that the Village responded to minimize the impact of the flooding that occurred, including emergency pumping from the storm sewer system to increase system capacity, pumping water out of impassible intersections, cleaning debris from storm sewer inlets, etc.

Lakewood pumped standing water from the intersection of Gate 21 and South Shore Drive into Crystal Lake on June 23, 2013.

Lakewood pumped standing water from the intersection of Gate 21 and South Shore Drive into Crystal Lake on June 23, 2013.

In addition to these efforts, we encourage residents in at risk areas to make modifications to their homes and property to further reduce the risk of flooding and basement backups.

This includes, but is not limited to, relocating sump pump and downspout discharge locations, installing window well covers, installing basement back-up prevention systems, maintain or replacing driveway culverts and installing rain gardens.

At our next Board meeting, we will discuss whether there are any additional ways that we can support residents who wish to invest in the safeguards.

As always, I encourage you to contact me or any of our officials listed on the back cover with questions regarding any of the projects highlighted in the newsletter or that you might read about elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Erin Smith
Village President


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