The accomplishments of 2018 and what’s to come in 2019 – It was all discussed in the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 29th annual State of the City address, presented by Mayor Steve Chirico.
This year’s speech was framed in the style of “Monopoly.”
“Being mayor of now the fourth largest city in Illinois – sorry about that Rockford – is no game. But the spirit of a well-played game, friendly competition, vision, and strategy does apply to how we run our city,” said Chirico.
And running strong is the city’s economy.
“Outside of Chicago, Naperville now has the largest economy in the state of Illinois,” said Chirico. “People spent $405 million on dining last year, and over $3 billion shopping in Naperville.”
The mayor also recognized the steps city council has taken toward being financially responsible to taxpayers.
“And guess what? Today we have the lowest municipal tax rate Naperville has seen in the past 50 years,” said Chirico.
But the most exciting announcements lay in development. The mayor revealed that the long-vacant Dominick’s on Route 59 and 95th Street will become La Fitness, while a boutique grocer will also join the strip.
“I think a good indication of a well-governed and well-managed city is whether you have more people moving in that you have moving out,” he said. “And in a state where population is shrinking, Naperville is still a destination city.”
Also going strong are our police and fire departments. Their efforts landed Naperville as the safest city in America last year.
And to stay true to that title, the city is implementing new 9-1-1 technology in 2019 called “Next Generation 911.”
“Once in place, people can make video calls and even text 9-1-1. Police and Fire are also working together to address the rising number of mental health calls. That means creating a joint Crisis Intervention Team to provide appropriate response and care in these situations,” explained Chirico.
Reflecting on our past successes and upcoming progress makes the address a valuable moment for Naperville.
“We’re really fortunate to have 600 people attend this event because it shows the importance of an event like this and the impact the information has. People walk away more educated, knowledgeable, and really excited about the community that they live in,” said Nicki Anderson, president and CEO of the chamber of commerce.
A community whose story is moving forward in the game in 2019.
“In games you can’t be the only participant,” added Chirico. “And there are so many participants in Naperville’s story. There are no winners or losers when we work together.
The full 2019 State of the City address can be found on our community events page.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.