Business and road repairs top Franklin Park’s 2014 agenda

Developing a workforce for manufacturers, improving village infrastructure and continuing to attract new businesses are three major goals of the Franklin Park village government in 2014.

Even though the economy remains weak, jobs at Franklin Park manufacturers go empty for as long as a year, said Village President Barrett Pedersen. The challenge is finding people with the desire and skills to fill those jobs.

“The average age of manufacturing workers in the U.S. is 54 years old,” Pedersen said. “If we don’t do a better job on workforce development, the U.S. is going to be a new importer of skilled manufacturing workers.”

That could hold true for the village as well. Franklin Park ranks sixth in Illinois for manufacturing jobs according to the latest survey by Manufacturer’s News of Evanston.

Leyden high schools offer a machining program. The village government would like to facilitate an apprentice program where students at Leyden and Triton College apprentice with area manufacturers.

The village government will also continue its efforts toward improving its infrastructure. It recently announced a referendum during the March elections to add 1 percentage point to retail sales tax, which would bring in an estimated $1.2 million. That money would be used strictly for road and street repair and upgrades.

According to a study by Clark Dietz engineering released in April, 10.4 percent of the village’s roads need to be reconstructed and 43.5 percent are in very poor or serious condition.

For water main improvements, Pedersen is hoping a bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn will help. The bill will double the amount of money available for clean water initiatives and ideally speed up the application process.

Between 2003 and mid 2012, the village experienced an average of 84 water main breaks per year according to the Clark Dietz study.

Finally, the village will try to bring in businesses to Franklin Park. Interestingly, the challenge is not the larger properties, which are mostly full or in the process of being developed. It’s the small to mid-size buildings in the 35,000 to 50,000 square foot range, many that are former tool & dye shops.

“Those are the hardest places to get filled,” Pedersen said. “There aren’t a lot of businesses looking for that size. There’s not a lot of parking.”

The village plans to contact business associations whose members could use buildings that size. Those could include food processing, auto repair and other uses.

0 Comments

Advertisement

Modal