Past and present came together at the 2019 State of Minooka luncheon Wednesday. Village President Pat Brennan showed a year of growth and compared it to the roots of the village, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
"Minooka is a great community, full of wonderful people, and I am grateful that you are here," Brennan said.
To begin his presentation, Brennan showed a series of photos from the history of Minooka and what those sights look like present day. Some, like the original grain elevator, have been replaced or modernized, while others look almost the same a century later.
The village was formed along the Rock Island Railway that passed through the area, and the downtown grew up around that railroad track. Transportation is still an important part of Minooka, Brennan said, noting the businesses that have built around the intersection of interstates 80 and 55.
Another historically important part of the Minooka community includes hospitality, and Brennan noted it continues to be with two new hotels opening in the region recently.
In 2018, the village celebrated a number of infrastructure improvements, including the new McEvilly Road Bike Path and the $800,000 Twin Rails Drive and McLindon Road intersection project.
"This opens up the west side of that industrial park to residents and businesses to use McLindon Road and access I-80," Brennan said. "This ... project will directly lessen truck traffic on Ridge Road even more."
Brennan also announced the new Aux Sable Springs Park project.
"This 1.8 million project will not only open a new 120-acre park for the residents of Minooka, but also protect the pristine waters of the Aux Sable Creek that was here long before Minooka was founded," Brennan said.
The project will be partially funded with a $400,000 grant from the state of Illinois. It will include trails through the woods, recreational amenities, fishing and canoeing.
Detective Ryan MacDonald was honored as Minooka Police Officer of the Year.
At the end of the event, hosted by the Channahon and Minooka Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Christina Van Ypren presented Brennan with a plaque from the chamber.