Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn toured Lake County to visit three Illinois Main Street communities in the area today. Quinn first saluted the Waukegan Downtown Association at 9:15 a.m. at the Genesee Theater, on its dedicated efforts to redevelop and revitalize downtown Waukegan, and helped it to win a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization at the 2003 Main Street state conference.
“I commend the Waukegan Downtown Association, Friends of the Historic Genesee Theater and the City of Waukegan on their ongoing efforts to restore this remarkable performing arts center,” Quinn said, upon touring the construction site of the Genesee Theater and viewing the master plan for Waukegan’s lakefront and downtown. “The vision for this theater can go a long way toward driving vitality back to the downtown area and invigorating this community’s soul.”
Waukegan, hometown of legendary Jack Benny, hosted the 1939 world premiere of the Benny film, “Man About Town” at the Genesee Theater. Quinn was joined by Waukegan Mayor Richard Hyde; Diane Verratti, Board President Waukegan Downtown Association; Ray Vukovich of the City of Waukegan; and Steve Kolber, Director of the Genesee Theater.
The Lieutenant Governor’s tour of Lake County continued on to the Village of Libertyville where Quinn applauded Main Street Libertyville at 11:00 a.m., one of the most active Main Street communities in Illinois, on its recently completed streetscape along Milwaukee Avenue, a main corridor lined with turn-of-the-century buildings.
“When English settler George Vardin arrived to what is now Libertyville in the early 1830s, little did he know that Vardin’s Grove would grow into the thriving community that it is today. He would be proud of Libertyville’s recent accomplishments,” Quinn said, also congratulating Libertyville on winning two Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence.
Quinn recognized the Village of Libertyville for their strong support of the Main Street program by praising Libertyville Mayor Duane Laska, Village Administrator Kevin Bowens and Main Street Board President Debbie Mattana.
Quinn then visited Mundelein Main Street at 12:00 noon, the last stop on his Lake County tour. He saluted Mundelein Main Street, Mundelein Police Department and Consumers Cooperative Credit Union on their efforts to improve public safety in Mundelein at the new Mundelein Police Headquarters.
“Mundelein Main Street should be commended for recognizing that public safety is a key ingredient to maintaining a successful business district and for promoting child safety,” said Quinn. The Main Street program regularly works with the Mundelein Police Department to distribute safety information and fingerprint children at all Main Street events. The police department is also active in promoting Project ChildSafe and has recently started distributing the child safety gun locks. Project ChildSafe is a nationwide grassroots program dedicated to reducing firearm-related accidents.
Joining Quinn was Marilyn Sindles, Mayor of Mundelein; Raymond Rose, Chief of Police; Jeane Filzer, Main Street Board President; Martha Caftillo, Consumers Cooperative Credit Union Marketing President; and others.
“The Illinois Main Street program has had a profound and significant impact on boosting the economy in Lake County communities,” said Quinn.
Illinois Main Street, a program administered by the Lieutenant Governor’s office, is one of the state's most effective public-private partnerships for economic development and community renewal. Since its inception, designated communities have reported net gains of more than 1,300 new downtown businesses, and created 2,892 full-time jobs and 2,053 part-time jobs. Main Street projects have spurred more than $103 million in public improvements and more than $315 million in private reinvestments in their downtowns. Over the past decade, the Main Street program has grown from nine towns to include 56 communities across Illinois.