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Mayor issues ‘State of the Village’ address in Evergreen Park

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

Sexton urges residents to ‘Shop
local, keep the green in Evergreen’

 A week before Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton’s one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with the West Niles virus, he presented his state of the village address at the recently renovated Evergreen Park Senior Center, 9547 S. Homan Ave.

  The village received a $4 million grant to re-do 95th Street from Western Avenue to Pulaski Road. The project began in June 2008 and has since helped to make 95th Street one of the major arteries for tax revenue in the village.
  “When you bring in new businesses you have to keep the green in Evergreen and support local businesses,” Sexton said. “We want to make sure that we are adding new retail to complement what we already have.”
  Last year on Aug. 1, Sexton was diagnosed with West Niles virus, an illness spread through the bite of mosquitos. Since then, the 61-year-old mayor has made a full recovery and is back to successfully overseeing Evergreen Park. Mayor Sexton and Chamber of Commerce President Mike Dillon provided an in-depth business analysis to residents and local business owners on July 24.
  The largest employer of Evergreen Park is Christ Hospital, bringing in more than $400 million in taxable revenue, Sexton said.
  “We have to have a strong commercial [tax] base to help out our residential base,” he said. “The hospital brings jobs to the village and brings people to the village who are buying at local businesses around the hospital. The construction alone has brought jobs to the village.”
  One of the newest additions to Evergreen Park is the fast-casual restaurant, Culver’s, 9515 S. Kedzie Ave. The restaurant officially opened this summer.
  Over 2,200 job applications were submitted for 80 positions. Most if not all of the positions were filled by Evergreen residents, said general manager and part-owner Danny Ehle.
  Ehle and the Evergreen Park Fire Department recently led a cooperative effort to educate restaurant employees in fire safety and prevention. “As an employer we want to provide our employees with skills to get through life,” Ehle said. “I am excited to see so many young men and women develop life skills and we are supporting the community by buying local and helping local Evergreen residents.”
  A few months ago the village announced that the Evergreen Plaza, 9500 S. Western Ave, was going to be redeveloped by DeBartolo Development. After a few snags along the way, the planning stage and tenant search are both still underway, Sexton said.
  During the beginning stages of the development the Plaza was going to feature a hybrid style with both indoor shops and access to major anchor stores such as the mall’s Carson Pirie Scott, which was the highest grossing store in the United States.
  “Right now we are still searching for tenants and working with DeBartolo,” Dillon said. “We may have to tear the Plaza down and rebuild at this point. We do plan on adding a mix of stores such as Apple, Nike and other sports stores.”