By Pam DeFiglio
In this series of Patch.com articles based on a recent interview with Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, the mayor explains some of his priorities for the village. One of those priorities is boosting Skokie's economic development as the region climbs out of the recession era. We will feature the mayor's other priorities in upcoming articles.
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Patch: What are your goals for the current term?
Mayor Van Dusen: There are three. The first is strong and aggressive economic development.
The economy is slowly turning around, from every indication I can get. We’re starting to come out of the recession. We’re primed to take advantage of new development. In the downtown we’re doing a lot of remodeling and street-scaping.
We have new restaurants coming in to the downtown (2 North Kitchen and Bar and Fogos Peri Peri, a chicken specialty restaurant).
That’s exciting. This is what we’ve been trying to do on Oakton.
We’re hoping we will be able to do some expansion in the Technology Park. We’re getting expressions of interest from tech companies that are beginning to expand or relocate. I’m hoping we will have a couple announcements.
Regarding Dempster Street, (the Appearance Commission gave the OK) for Pita Inn to take over the old Barnum and Bagel site.
The architecture will be complementary to Oberweis, which is just down the block. That area is starting to percolate. The Jewish funeral home, Oberweis, the Pita Inn and (the remodeled and refreshed) Kaufman's Bagel Bakery are anchoring that area.
So Dempster is starting to come along. We’ve got work to do but it’s headed in the right direction.
Westfield is putting $15 million into Old Orchard, and a Nordstrom Rack is coming.
Mariano’s is in process. In another village board meeting or two we’ll be taking up final approvals.
WalMart is proceeding.
So each sector, Touhy, the downtown, Dempster, and going up north, every one of them is seeing a lot of economic improvements.