Villa Park, Illinois
Meeting Growth with Bold Initiatives
From parks and recreation to bold mixed-use commercial development, Villa Park welcomes dynamic growth
Villa Park, situated at the doorstep of one of America’s most beloved cities and boasting a host of attractions for residents and those fortunate enough to explore the charming village, is enjoying a renaissance as a new year beckons.
Enjoying a backdrop to be envied and showcasing a community with progressive village-led initiatives, Villa Park can ring in the new year with much to celebrate. With further anticipated growth on the horizon, the city is putting its residents first, implementing top-tier initiatives.
Village officials are hard at work providing residents with comprehensive infrastructure projects, substantial upgrades to the village’s parks and recreational offerings, as well as facilitating additional commercial and residential plans to meet a continuing anticipated growth trajectory.
Keeping a keen sense of community and historical character has also been top of the mind for this charming village, creating the ideal balance of small-town coziness intersecting seamlessly with urban growth.
Situated in Northern Illinois and Nestled in the heart of DuPage County within easy commuting distance of Chicago, Villa Park has laid the groundwork for its vision of a town that is both a vibrant and a sustainable urban haven, as well as a place where residents, visitors, and businesses can feel not just connected, but able to benefit from continued prosperity and a dynamic future.
Embracing Community Roots and Development
Villa Park was initially established as a subdivision constructed in 1908 by a real estate firm. Ovaltine had just constructed a factory, and it needed a way for its employees to commute safely and reliably, regardless of weather or terrain.
The subdivision of Villa Park became the solution. In 1910, another subdivision named Ardmore was built nearby. Some years later, in 1914, the two subdivisions came together and incorporated under the name Villa Park.
Never losing sight of the region’s diverse and fascinating history, Village Manager Matthew Harline understands that if the town is to progress, that progress must be centered around those that are fortunate enough to call this enclave home and meet the resident’s expectations of increased commercial and residential additions to the village.
“A lot of the downtown [area] was originally built by Ovaltine… and now that area is being revitalized… It’s going to expand one of our neatest businesses, the MORE Brewing Company,” Harline describes.
The focus on downtown expansion is only a snapshot of projects taking place.
Vital infrastructure upgrades to water and sewer systems, as well as roadway construction, are also top of the mind for the village. Key commercial and residential development is also high on the village agenda with several significant projects in the works.
Villa Park has implemented business and residential development-friendly incentives that signal the reality that the village is open for business and taking steps to meet future residents’ housing needs. This is all part of Villa Park’s careful planning and translated into their master plan encompassing key areas including land use, development, transportation, and tackling upgrades to other public facilities for the next 15 -20 years.
The village will concentrate its efforts on a wide range of developments aimed at turning Villa Park into a promising hub of activity with a particular focus on the revitalization of the St. Charles corridor. The vision includes mixed-use spaces, fostering a vibrant atmosphere for businesses, residents, and visitors.
One of the biggest developments involves a substantial $20 million project allocated to the construction of a community gem, the Lions Park Recreation Center. Work has already begun with the pouring of the foundation, providing the infrastructure for more work to be completed through April 2024. As Harline points out, this will represent a modern, fully equipped, and state-of-the-art community hub to be proud of.
Another significant investment includes The Union, a Village-owned proposed $50 million, mixed-use project that included 8,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as two-level parking facilities that are slated to break ground sometime this spring.
Harline highlights that working with Catalyst Partners and Marquette Companies to provide this key amenity for the Village will help facilitate the anticipated commercial and residential upward trajectory.
“We’re establishing a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district, and we’re expecting the construction of a 220-unit mixed-use apartment building with 100 public parking spaces,” Harline says, estimating that construction for those projects will begin sometime next year.
Other key residential offerings in the pipeline for the Village include a Hawthorne Development-led project representing a $120 million mixed-use market-rate residential project across from the Village’s Metra Station. Encompassing 348 market units in addition to 440 available parking spaces and close to 9,000 square feet of commercial retail space as well as boasting other high-end amenities.
Businesses continue to show interest in this Village jewel with the recent addition of a new Popeye’s restaurant, Casey’s General Store, and Ross Dress For Less. All signs point towards further commercial growth as the Village paves the way to welcome additional businesses moving forward.
The Optimal Growth Strategy
Today, the town’s economic landscape is very diverse. Employers like McAfee, Clayco, and Commonwealth Edison contribute to the town’s economic vibrancy.
Through a mixture of zoning ordinances, business-friendly incentives, and a town staff willing to work closely with developers, Villa Park stands out as an environment oriented around impeccable service and support. When businesses consider Villa Park, one thing is made clear. If they decide to set up a shop in Villa Park, they will be treated well.
Part of the redevelopment plan for the St. Charles Corridor involves expanding vertically. The town’s plans for expansion also take into account the fact that property values will be rising thanks to these developments.
Villa Park’s appeal extends beyond its borders, as it also draws attention through strategic marketing efforts. The town’s smart use of meta tags, search optimization, and partnerships with DuPage County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau amplify its visibility.
Villa Park has a dedicated communications specialist on-site who manages the community’s social media and handles the promotional efforts made toward local events.
A Look into the Villa Park Lifestyle
Through the continued initiatives put forth by Village officials, it is clear that the vision ahead includes a walkable and bikeable community, and the addition of high-value homes and commercial development while standing firm to a commitment to maintain the close-knit atmosphere of the town.
“We have people that have lived here for years… so it’s a hometown type of atmosphere, and with all of our development, we still want to maintain that,” says Executive Director of the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau Beth Marchetti.
One of the key areas of development that relate to this vision is the plan to enhance and connect Villa Park’s surrounding bike and walking paths. The town is home to three beautiful hiking and biking trails.
There is the Salt Creek Greenway Trail, the Prairie Path, and the Great Western Trail, which, believe it or not, connects with trails that go all the way to Wisconsin. Currently, Villa Park is scheduled to conduct a connector project that will connect all three of its trails.
Looking ahead, Villa Park stands at the cusp of a promising future, balancing growth coupled with community values. As it continues to evolve, the town remains true to its roots, embracing innovation, a focus on collaboration, creativity, and community pride.
Through a shared vision and keen strategic planning, Villa Park is poised for a future that reflects the best of both tradition and progress.
AT A GLANCE
Villa Park, Illinois
What: A charming town strategically positioned in the heart of DuPage County, Villa Park blends tradition with progress.
Where: Located in Northern Illinois, nestled in DuPage County, approximately 20 miles from downtown Chicago.