As we begin 2019, I think it is important to reflect on the accomplishments and progress of our Village in 2018. Specially, I want to highlight all of the improvements to Tinley Park’s economic development that we made in 2018. These improvements can be organized into four distinct categories: improvements to downtown, job creation, ribbon cuttings for new businesses in town and other major projects.
The downtown corridor is the heart of any community, and my administration has begun the process to breathe new life into Downtown Tinley. I want our downtown to be known throughout Chicagoland as a destination where people can live, shop, dine and be entertained. From my perspective, we must balance the need for new development while maintaining the charm of our community. To do this, I am taking a two pronged approach, one focused on new development and the other focused on supporting the businesses currently downtown.
As for new development, Village staff has begun the process of creating Harmony Square, and the Village Board approved a development agreement for the Boulevard at Central Station. Within Harmony Square, we will be building a covered stage area, an open area event space and a splash pad, as well as an ice skating area. Harmony Square will be in the center of Downtown Tinley and will serve as a community gathering place for year-round activities. As for the Boulevard at Central Station, this will be located in close proximity to Harmony Square and will be a 296,419-square-foot, mixed-use development featuring 29,853 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 165 residential units. The combination of these two new developments will help create a new future for Downtown Tinley.
While it is important to create new development downtown, I want to be sure we support the existing businesses downtown and assure the long-term viability of our community. To do this, I have directed and worked with staff to create the Oak Park Playbook. This program consists of five grants and matching grants designed to increase the walkability of downtown, offset some of the costs of bringing older buildings up to the fire code, create a distinctive look with architecture and signage, improve the curb appeal of these businesses with enhancing their landscaping, and spur the establishment of new businesses as well as the expansion of existing businesses. The beauty of the Oak Park Playbook is that each of these programs will work together to improve Downtown Tinley and increase the amount of sales tax produced by these businesses. This increased sales tax revenue will go right back into our Village coffers. As a small business owner myself, I know how important programs such as the Oak Park Avenue are to our Downtown Tinley small business owners.
As important and promising as each of these improvements are to our downtown, none of it would be possible without the creation of the New Bremen TIF district. This TIF replaced the Main Street South TIF district that was set to expire soon. With the creation of the New Bremen TIF, we will have the means to fund each of these improvements as well as ensure the long-term success of Downtown Tinley.
Another area of improvement I am very proud of is all of the work we have done to create new job opportunities in town. Thanks to the hard work of everyone at Village Hall, we helped facilitate the expansion of a Two Men and a Truck location here in town, creating 60 to 90 new jobs in Tinley Park. Our staff also worked with Airys to ensure they were able to stay in Tinley Park, thereby retaining 40 Tinley Park jobs. Our efforts to bring new businesses to Tinley Park also resulted in welcoming Collision Damage Experts and its 15 new jobs to town. I am very proud of our staff’s hard work, as they were instrumental in each of these deals. 2018 was an excellent year for new jobs in Tinley Park, and we plan to continue this trend throughout 2019.
While these are impressive, they are only a handful of specific businesses highlights. In 2018, the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce was hard at work organizing and conducting ribbon-cutting ceremonies for various businesses in town. I would like to highlight the following 14 ribbon cuttings:
- Arts & Crafts Studio by Mucci World
- Blueberry Hill Café
- Brooke Bauer Boutique Salon & Spa
- Brenden Higgins State Farm Agency
- CNB Bank
- D12 Cafe
- FireKing Security Group LLC
- Fratellos Deli & Cafe
- Great Clips
- Jian Spa
- The Whistle Sports Bar & Grill
- WoodSpring Suites
Thank you to the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce for all of your efforts to welcome new businesses to Tinley Park. Here in Tinley, we are a tight-knit community and that extends to our business community. The Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce is integral to our efforts to attract new businesses to town, as well as supporting the businesses already in town.
In addition to the above projects, I am working with the mayors of Orland Park and Mokena to form the Chicago Southland Interstate Alliance. This Alliance will allow our three communities to combine our strengths and market the area surrounding I-80 as a regional powerhouse with endless potential for commercial developments. The redevelopment of the area surrounding I-80 would directly benefit all three of our communities greatly in the immediate future and for years to come. By combining our efforts, it shows buyers and developers that this area has potential and that our communities are eager to see it redeveloped.
All in all, 2018 was an incredible year for economic development here in the Village of Tinley Park. Thanks to the efforts of staff, we are making major progress on redeveloping downtown Tinley Park. With projects like Harmony Square and the Boulevard at Central Station we are creating a new future for downtown Tinley, and with projects like the Oak Park Playbook, we are ensuring the current business owners of Downtown Tinley are a part of that future. In 2018, this Village made job creation a priority, and the results of these efforts are clearly a success. As we begin 2019, job creation remains a top priority, as does attracting new businesses to town. Thanks to the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce on hosting the ribbon cuttings, and I look forward to many more in 2019!
Jacob C. Vandenberg
Mayor, Village of Tinley Park