Anyone who has visited the Elgin area lately will be able to tell you there has been a lot going on. The past five years have seen a variety of new developments, including a new recreation facility, housing and a variety of visual improvements and additions. Elgin is investing in its future.
The downtown area is one of the main focuses of this investment, and now boasts a state-of-the-art recreation facility called, “The Centre of Elgin.” Some of the amenities here include a pool area, a health/fitness area and a climbing wall. It also has facilities for seniors, teens and preschoolers.
Lindsay Stanton is the economic development coordinator for the City of Elgin, and she is proud of the revitalization the area is experiencing. She points out some of the visual details, “The addition of our pedestrian friendly timed light system, adding paver streetscape accents, planters with irrigation, decorative street lights, street furniture, additional street trees, underground utilities and re-paving of the streets are key components to our overall vision of a walkable, retail friendly downtown.”
The city’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by local business owners. Brik Garcia, the manager of operations for Security Self Storage points out “With the revitalization efforts in Elgin, we of course hope to see a continually growing market base. But more importantly, we are pleased to see the commitment by the city to rejuvenate our downtown area, as well as maintain the rich historical past that we see in the beautiful older buildings.” Garcia enjoys working within what he considers a diverse community and notes, “Elgin wonderfully mirrors the global community on a smaller scale.”
According to Lindsay Stanton, the townhome and condominium projects in the downtown area have been a tremendous success. She says, “With average sales in River Park Place pushing $400,000 for 2006 we are thrilled with our progress!” Tom Johannesen is the president of First Community Bank, and notes that the area’s population growth has created new customers. This offers an opportunity for the bank to work hand in hand with the residents, and Johannesen says, “The bank in turn has provided financing for homes, commercial areas, churches and businesses.”
Being close to Chicago—but not too close—is convenient for some of the businesses in Elgin, as they can be near the city without the additional expenses often associated with rent and other costs. Gene Seldomridge, president of Acme Refining says, “It’s all location,” when it comes to why they chose Elgin as a home-base for their business. The fact that there is Metra access also makes the area attractive to residents commuting to jobs in Chicago.
Truly a mixture of the old and the new, Elgin has managed to allow both to thrive by welcoming new businesses while supporting long-standing ones like West Pier Laundry, which has been around for over 30 years. Owners Tony and Stacie Capaci decided to keep the neighborhood Laundromat’s “old-town” feel when they purchased it, but updated the facility with modern conveniences such as air conditioning and new machines. The business retains some of the original customers who still live in the area as well as many newer ones who appreciate the unique family atmosphere.
Eric Bouton is the owner of Elgin Super Print, and when asked what he likes about doing business in Elgin, he immediately thought of his customers. “We love our customers,” he said, “they have been very good to us over the years.” Bouton remarked that the customer base in the city is very loyal to the area stores, which has allowed his family business to continue to serve the community’s printing needs for many years.
Elgin’s focus on development is pointing to good things for the city as it continues to invest in its future. As the city projects come to completion and new people move into the area, the overall landscape of the community is evolving. Lindsay Stanton sums it all up well, saying “Elgin continues to make great strides of growth and development and has an exciting future ahead.”