State of the Village Address Highlights Community Strengths

State of the Village Address Highlights Community Strengths

Northbrook leaders, Chamber members, and local residents came together in January to hear updates and perspectives from Village President Kathryn Ciesla in her annual State of the Village Address. Hosted by the Chamber at the Northbrook Public Library, the presentation included a preview of new business developments and the first public reveal of the Village’s community identity graphics and tagline, “True North.” A video of the presentation can be seen on YouTube.

President Ciesla opened the Address with a review of recent successes and initiatives that reflect the strength of the Village’s financial state. She pointed out that the Village’s property tax levy has been reduced this year, even as the Village increases pension contributions for public safety employees and provides grants of over $340,000 to non-profit mental health service providers.

One factor that has helped achieve that fiscal strength: sales tax revenues that exceeded last year’s budget by 28 percent. New laws applying municipal sales taxes to online sales contributed to that surplus, as did a sales increase in the drug/miscellaneous category (including the Curaleaf dispensary that opened in 2021). 

Ciesla noted that Northbrook Court continues to be the strongest sales tax generator in the Village, delivering over $3M in sales tax revenue as well as more than $3M in property taxes.  “We have to do everything in our power to preserve that mall,” she said, referring to ongoing discussions with owner Brookfield Properties about Northbrook Court’s redevelopment.

Several new business development projects were included in the Address. Restaurants Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar and sweetgreen are expected to open this spring in downtown and Willow Festival, respectively. A new Starbucks is under construction on Waukegan Road at Shermer. New Toyota and Tesla dealerships are in the pipeline, as is a $40M shipping warehouse being built by Panattoni Development Company on the west side of Sky Harbor. 

Ciesla also described the two residential rental developments for 1657 Shermer Road that had just been approved by the Board of Trustees the night before the Address: a 318-unit luxury apartment building by Quarterra Multifamily, and a 48-unit project from Housing Opportunities Development Corporation providing affordable supportive housing geared toward individuals with disabilities. She stated that these developments will advance the Village’s goals of supporting downtown businesses through increased density, enhancing sustainability, and providing affordable housing options.

Pre-recorded segments from business owners described the qualities that make Northbrook a strong choice for development. Mike Leed Jr. of Toyota on Edens shared, “We are constructing an all-new 50,000 square foot Toyota sales and service location right here in Northbrook. The Village team has been a great partner to work with in achieving our shared goals of building a functional attractive and environmentally-friendly facility that will be a pleasure to do business in for our team members and our guests for years to come.”

Mike Hanna, Newmedical Technology, explained, “We have been in Northbrook since our inception in 2004. The Village of Northbrook is large enough to provide a variety of services and support, and small enough to value the strong relationship with our business and others. The Village and the Chamber have provided excellent support and guidance as we have grown, most recently acquiring a 47,000 square feet facility in Northbrook that tripled our square footage and allows for our future growth and expansion.”

As a highlight to the presentation, attendees were treated to a grand reveal of the Village’s new identity materials. Developed by branding consultant a5, Inc., the new logo includes a stylized “N” in two shades of green. The tagline “True North” will accompany community-facing materials like street banners, signage, and publications, evoking a sense of community direction and pride. The phrase “Thrive Here” will be used as an economic development promotional tool to attract new businesses and residents.

The 2023 State of the Village Address was the first to be delivered in-person since 2020 due to the pandemic. As Chamber Executive Director Kathi Quinn said in her opening remarks, “This annual event is a longstanding tradition that reflects the strong working relationship between the Village, the Chamber, and the community at large.” The Chamber thanks President Ciesla and the Village staff for their presentation, the Northbrook Public Library for providing an excellent venue, Sunset Foods for sponsoring the pre-event coffee hour, and Cobalt Photography for capturing the event in pictures. More photos available on the Chamber’s Facebook page.