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Local News

Lockport mayor highlights new business park, downtown revitalization in State of the City

Lockport Mayor Steven Streit outlined plans during the State of the City on Tuesday for a new business park for artisans in town.

Streit delivered the annual address at a lunch at Monte Bello Estate to more than 200.

The new Star Maker’s Park would be located on about 10 to 15 acres of city-owned property at the southern portion of Chevron’s 170-acre Star Business Park, just north of downtown.

“I’d like to put that Chevron property on a trajectory that is something that benefits the downtown, creates a destination and fits nicely in our space,” Streit said.

The park would house skilled workers – from makers of bike frames to chandeliers – who are “making quality American goods.” The city envisions a courtyard-style layout. Lockport will partner with Joliet Junior College’s culinary program to develop commercial kitchens, where visitors could find new things to eat all the time. The city is moving forward with a $38,000 feasibility study.

Streit also highlighted the continued revitalization of the city’s historic downtown. Embers Restaurants in the historic Volz building is moving forward with a buildout, and several new restaurants are slated to open on South State Street. These include a new stagecoach-themed restaurant, a wine and beer boutique, and a Tangled Roots Woodfire Grill.

Construction has also begun on the long-awaited 240-unit upscale Highland Ridge apartment complex at 143rd Street and Archer Avenue.

The city’s sales tax revenue has been increasing and was at $2.7 million last year, while its property tax rate has been going down, he said.

Lockport Square at 159th Street and Interstate 355 is moving along with construction to start on a new Holiday Inn Express this summer, as well as plans for a new movie theater and a Jeep showroom with a full-service Chrysler Dodge Ram dealership. Streit erroneously said a Bettenhausen Chevrolet car dealership was in the works.

On infrastructure, Streit said the city is continuing to work on improving roads and water quality. The city passed a 10-year capital improvement plan last year and completed $11.6 million of work on water, sewer and road projects. For 2019, the city budgeted $16.4 million on capital improvement.

The city also is working on a bike path master plan, which includes exploring a path on the Ninth Street bridge connecting Lewis University to Lockport’s downtown, Streit said.

Streit added that the city will update its strategic plan and look to build up the Route 171 corridor at its north entrance and work on bringing mixed-use development near Lockport Square in the future.

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