Life Amplified

A Look Back at 2021

Posted: Jan. 7, 2022
Mayor Michael GlotzI hope everyone had a great holiday season. Now that it’s a brand-new year with brand-new opportunities and challenges, I wanted to take a look back on 2021 and highlight some of the great things we were able to accomplish together.

One of the biggest changes here at Village Hall was Pat Carr becoming our new Village Manager, taking over for longtime manager Dave Niemeyer, who retired in October. Pat’s been doing an outstanding job so far. Joining him is new Assistant Village Manager Hannah Lipman, and together they lead an incredibly talented and hard-working staff that continues to impress me every day.

One of the most visible ways we measure progress is through new development, and Tinley Park saw its fair share last year. You've all probably seen the beautiful Boulevard at Central Station at the southeast corner of South Street and 67th Court. We not only finished construction in 2021, but the entire building is also already fully booked with new residents. With Phase Two of construction on the horizon, the Boulevard is shaping up to be a game-changer in Downtown Tinley.

Another successful development from last year includes the newly renovated Brixmoor shopping center on the east side of Harlem Avenue, just south of 159th Street. Burlington opened its doors there in September, and the remaining space for a future tenant is expected to be open this February.

We recently joined officials from Loyola Medicine to break ground on the new Loyola Southwest Ambulatory Care Center, a two-story, 72,000 square-foot building at the southeast corner of LaGrange Road and 179th Street that will include an ambulatory medical clinic for primary care, a range of medical specialties, and a cancer care center. It’s slated to be open and operational by 2023.

There are even more developments in the works, such as the new business park being built at Vollmer Road and Harlem Avenue, including about 1.3 million square feet of floor space over three floors. When complete, it'll bring additional jobs to the area and property tax revenue to the various taxing districts. Pete’s Fresh Market at the former Super K-Mart location at 163rd Street and Harlem Avenue will break ground in March or even earlier, depending on weather and the status of the recent supply chain issues we’ve been having across the country.

The Union Square Townhomes at 179th Street and Oak Park Avenue are also nearly complete, as is the new 7-11 at 171st Street and Harlem Avenue. A new Starbucks location is slated to occupy the adjacent space just south of Harlem, and an additional Starbucks is planned for 171st and LaGrange at the former Fifth Third Bank site behind the CVS. I'm also excited about the new Holiday Inn being constructed along North Creek Drive, which will bring our hotel total here in Tinley Park to an impressive 11.

Unfortunately, some developments have been a bit slower to get off the ground, as is the case with the Tinley Park Mental Health Center at 183rd Street and Harlem Avenue, which the State of Illinois owns. The property is an eyesore with some pretty severe environmental concerns, such as asbestos and black mold. Last year, we hosted a press conference to bring attention to the issue and fixed a water main break that leaked potentially contaminated water onto the ground. Not only is it in our best interest to clean up the site for the wellbeing of residents, but it could also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tinley Park. At 280 acres, it's the most significant development opportunity in the entire Village. Village Manager Pat Carr is engaged in active and productive discussions with Central Management Services on the purchase of the property, and we're going to continue to press the State to do something about the site so it can be remediated and developed into something great for our community.

Last year, the Village also successfully operated one of the region's most significant mass vaccination sites at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Putting it together was a historic accomplishment, mainly resulting from a team effort between our Emergency Management Agency and the Police and Fire departments. Tinley Park was a crucial player in the fight against COVID-19, and I’m incredibly proud of that.

Our Emergency Management Agency also received State accreditation in 2021, which was no small feat given the challenges COVID-19 posed. During the pandemic, EMA successfully coordinated contact tracing activities to control the spread of the virus and distribute personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves to frontline staff and others in need. The Village also worked with the community to form outreach programs to help those most at risk of contracting the virus.

Communication also took priority in 2021. To reach the segment of our population that may not have access to a computer or smartphone, we started the Tinley Park Messenger. This phone-based news delivery system calls subscribers every two weeks with the top stories from across the Village. It’s been very successful so far, and if you’re not already signed up, I encourage you to do so by emailing or calling (708) 444-5024 and leaving your contact information.

On the awards front, the Village did well in 2021. The Village won the Government Finance Officers Association's Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, a significant achievement that required us to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.
The new EVEN Hotel and the Tinley Park Convention Center also won a gold medal for Best Renovation in the Midwest Region in the 2021 Stella Awards. These are some of the most coveted awards in the country for those in the meetings industry. EVEN Hotel won it for a good reason – it's a unique, beautiful building with all the latest 21st Century amenities. The credit goes to the great staff at EVEN and the Convention Center.

Although born of tragedy, a few events last year showed what a great town of people we have here. Last spring, the Village’s sister city in Budingen, Germany, experienced severe flooding, and residents here came together to raise nearly $10,000 to help them recover. Later in the year, following the tragic shooting death of Chicago police officer Ella French, residents joined forces with Kristin Thirion, me, the Board of Trustees and staff to write words of support in condolence books that our police chief Matthew Walsh then presented to the Chicago PD.

Despite several challenges, 2021 was a great year. I’m confident we’re on the right path to make 2022 even better.

Glotz Signature