Walmart relocation tops 2012 stories
Mundelein Village Administrator John Lobaito (left) and Steve Clough of Weston Solution Inc. at the site of the new Mundelein village hall, which hit a construction delay this month. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Top web stories
The five most-viewed stories in 2012 on the Mundelein Review website:
1. Flatlander’s to leave Lincolnshire; brewery going to Mundelein.
2. Apparent murder-suicide stuns neighborhood.
3. Mundelein’s Duval, 14, earns college degree.
4. Mundelein suspends Blue 60 liquor license.
5. New technology transforms Carmel Catholic High School.
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:10AM
MUNDELEIN — While everyone prepares for 2013 and a fresh start, Pioneer Press offers Mundelein Review readers the top five stories from 2012. From retail to artificial turf, here are the highlights.
1. Walmart leaves Vernon Hills for Mundelein
Village officials got an economic break in September when they learned Walmart was planning to build a superstore in town.
Assistant Village Administrator Mike Flynn said Menards announced its departure from Oak Creek Plaza after acquiring a large plot of land across from Target, along Route 60 in Mundelein.
While researching the consequences of the move, Flynn said Walmart surfaced as the replacement, which will require a large portion of the shopping center to be torn down.
The Hobby Lobby in Oak Creek will stay and supplement the Walmart.
Vernon Hills Village President Roger Byrne later made mention of an upcoming $350,000 loss in sales tax revenue because of Walmart leaving its Route 60 location across from Westfield Hawthorn Mall.
Walmart spokesman Daniel Morales would not confirm a move from Vernon Hills to Mundelein.
Flynn said no timetable has been identified, but he foresees more commercial growth once the Walmart is built.
A lawsuit by nearby residents blocked Walmart’s 2007 attempt to develop land in Mundelein along a different part of Route 60.
2. Downtown plans move forward
A plan to revitalize downtown Mundelein has been in the works for more than 10 years. The process has begun.
Designs for a new village hall were finalized in November, with bids going out this month and the Village Board expected to approve jobs in January.
At 32,000 square feet, the new two-story building will take one of the six lots created when the village bought and demolished an industrial warehouse next to the Metra train station in 2010.
When the warehouse was destroyed, construction crews reused 250,000 pounds of concrete while building a roadway for the future subdivision.
Village Administrator John Lobaito hopes the $10 million village hall project sparks interest from private investors. With a public building being built and opened in an empty 10-acre subdivision, he believes prospective builders will respect the village’s commitment.
The 10-acre land, connected by a circle drive and courtyard, is part of 40-acres along the railroad that Mundelein plans to redevelop.
3. Mundelein approves video gambling
After months of discussion and years of waiting, the Mundelein Village Board voted 4-3 to approve video gaming.
Village President Kenneth Kessler cast the decisive vote and broke a 3-3 tie during an Oct. 22 board meeting.
Advocates called video gaming a freedom that business owners had a right to offer. Opponents feared social issues such as gambling addiction and a potential increase in crime.
Finding middle ground, trustees agreed to amendments to the proposed ordinance.
Establishments with ATMs cannot apply for a license. Similarly, only full-service bars and golf course venues can receive a license.
The board also decided to institute a $250 annual application fee per business, with an additional $150 charge per machine approved.
Assistant Village Administrator Mike Flynn said a recent study predicted about 10 locations in Mundelein will apply for, and probably receive, licenses for five machines each. Flynn said Mundelein anticipates receiving between $45,000 and $60,000 a year in revenue from video gaming.
4. MHS unveils artificial turf football field
Mundelein High School showcased its new artificial turf football field and track during a public open house at MHS’s Mustang Stadium on Aug. 7.
The total cost of the field and track improvements was $1.67 million. The project was funded through a $10 million voter-approved referendum in April 2011, which has also paid for other campus improvements such as remodeled bathrooms, roof repairs and pool renovations.
With the completion of the project, MHS joined most other high schools in the North Suburban Conference who have gone to artificial turf fields. The Mongo manufactured turf is the same surface Warren Township High School installed at its stadium field last summer. Vernon Hills High School also is installing a synthetic turf surface at its football stadium this summer.
School officials said the benefits of the artificial turf surface is that it will be much more resilient and provide better field conditions after heavy rains and, therefore, will be able to be used for many more school-related activities, such as physical education classes and band practices.
5. Village nearly loses land to tax sale
In an apparent oversight, Mundelein nearly lost the property of the village -owned water tower on Illinois Route 60/83 to a tax sale.
On June 4, Mundelein officials received a “take notice” from the Lake County Clerk’s Office advising that the property had been sold for delinquent taxes and notifying the village it had until Nov. 16 to pay $33,385 in back taxes to redeem the property prior to final sale.
The water tower property, located on a half acre parcel on Route 60/83 south of Route 176, was originally donated to the village in March 1987 by Huntington Developers, as part of one of the Cambridge residential developments. However, the deed was never recorded with Lake County.
Once a legal deed was provided to the county, measures were taken to reverse the sale.