The past 12 months have seen some significant growth in the , according to Village President Marilyn Michelini. And none of the roughly 35 business leaders gathered at to hear her speak last Thursday night would disagree.
For the sixth year in a row, the Greater Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce held their membership dinner, this year at Gray's Mill, one of the newest restaurants in town. Michelini was the guest speaker, delivering her State of the Village Address. And she had a lot to talk about.
But she started by welcoming a special guest. Sgt. Christopher Bastida, , received thunderous applause from the crowd. Bastida has been a Marine since 2007, and returned to his Boulder Hill home after his second tour in Afghanistan on May 5.
He leaves again this week for Camp LeJune in North Carolina, where he will be reassigned. But he’s certain he won’t be asked to head back overseas, he said Thursday night.
Michelini led off her speech with the biggest new project: the expansion of , the Fox Valley Park District’s massive chain of baseball diamonds and soccer fields north of Route 30 on the west side. The 135-acre expansion will add four lighted baseball fields, 11 soccer fields, 674 new parking spaces and a dog park to the complex.
The expansion was approved in February, and had its groundbreaking last month.
“Anyone who has played soccer and baseball knows how important sports are today in raising a family,” Michelini said. “It will be fabulous to have this in Montgomery.”
Michelini mentioned several new businesses, including the by owner Tim Ivers; , in the home of the old Bill’s Restaurant on Montgomery Road; , who constructed a new building at the intersection of Douglas Road and Route 30, and brought in Sprint as a tenant; and on Douglas Road, which opened its doors on April 16.
Michelini praised Planet Fitness for moving into , the first business to do so since Dominick’s moved out years ago, and thanked RCG Ventures, new owners of the center, for giving it a facelift.
The is expected to wrap up this fall, Michelini said, and at the same time the village is conducting a study to see if a tax increment financing district would encourage development along that road. And she said the village is still committed to , and has been working with legislators to make that happen.
Route 30 is between Briarcliff Road and Route 34, mainly on the Illinois Department of Transportation’s dime.
Michelini also mentioned the given to the Settler’s Cottage project last year. The old house on River Street, which dates to 1843, was saved from the wrecking ball by a group of volunteers, who now run it as a museum and raise funds to preserve it.
The village will continue to provide its same services and put on its same events in the coming year, Michelini said, including Montgomery Fest on Aug. 11 and 12, the annual River Run, the cemetery walk at Riverside Cemetery, and the tree lighting celebration. Additionally, the village has launched a new Business Boost initiative, which will spotlight different businesses around town.
The Business Boost program will be the topic of the chamber’s next membership lunch, on May 22 at 11:30 a.m. at .
“Montgomery is in a good place,” Michelini summed up. “Overall, we’re doing well.”
Chamber President Jennifer Jones-Sinnott joined Michelini in recognizing members of the chamber (including Montgomery Patch) with certificates denoting their years in business. Jones-Sinnott thanked Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora for becoming the chamber’s first Founders’ Club member, which requires a $2,500 sponsorship to join.
The chamber’s next big event is the Alice Sutcliff Memorial Golf Classic on July 12. The annual event was renamed after Sutcliff, founding member of the chamber and longtime owner of the Mill Tavern downtown, who .
For more information on the chamber, check out their website.