Members and friends of the Yorkville Chamber of Commerce heard some positive news about the city's business prospects for the new year during a Jan. 9 luncheon at Kennedy Pointe restaurant. Those in attendance also received an update on the local area highway improvement projects.
Bart Olson, city administrator, announced that an Italian-style delicatessen and sweet shop is coming at 220 Bridge Street (Route 47) in the city's downtown, and the owner of the popular Riverview Diner in Montgomery, Eleno Silva, is planning to open a banquet facility off Route 47 at Saravanos Drive on the city's south side. Olson also noted that construction is proceeding on a 90-plus room Holiday Inn Express and Suites, just north of the NCG Cinema on the city's north side. The hotel is expected to open late this year.
Meanwhile, Yorkville remains an attractive location to home buyers. According to Olson, the 212 new housing units constructed in the city last year was the largest total since 2007, the year before the 2008 Recession devastated the new home market locally and across the country.
We were especially pleased Olson announced the city remains focused on encouraging the Illinois Department of Transportation to widen Route 47 between the city and Sugar Grove. We would like to see the city double down on those efforts in 2018 with a stepped-up lobbying effort to persuade IDOT to expedite the Route 47 project. We believe it would behoove the city to enlist the support of local state and federal lawmakers in the Route 47 reconstruction and widening effort.
Over the past several years, we've reported on far too many serious and often fatal crashes along Route 47 from Yorkville north to Sugar Grove. In its current condition, the highway represents a dire public safety hazard. We hope that city officials and state lawmakers share that view and will press IDOT hard this year to appropriate the necessary funds to rebuild it.