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Packed house for Bolingbrook mayor’s State of the Village luncheon

Rex Robinson | 1/23/2014, 12:59 p.m. | Updated on 2/3/2014, 3:34 p.m.
Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar’s annual State of the Village Luncheon held last Thursday at the Bolingbrook Golf Club was a ...
Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar talks to supporters after giving his annual State of the Village address at the Bolingbrook Golf Club on Jan. 16. Photo by Rex Robinson

Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar’s annual State of the Village Luncheon held last Thursday at the Bolingbrook Golf Club was a look back on a year of some fun times, Stanley Cup memories and some economic growth in a still struggling economy.

More than 700 people – including local and state officials from throughout the region, business owners and developers and supporters of the mayor – attended Claar’s 28th annual State of the Village Luncheon.

As he introduced Claar, Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce President CEO Bob Zalewski characterized the mayor as a leader who is “fiercely loyal” to his community.

“You know where the buck stops with Roger,” Zalewski said. “It’s right there.”

When Claar gave his first State of the Village address 28 years ago it was held in a sports bar at Weber and Boughton roads, which has since been demolished.

“For the last 10 years it’s been here at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. We didn’t build this just for the State of the Village Address, but it just happened to work out that way,” the mayor said, prompting some laughs from the crowd.

Peppered with jokes and even some somber moments when the mayor remembered dignitaries, former village staff and officials who died in 2013, Claar spoke for about an hour focusing on the highlights in development over the past year and where the village is headed for the future.

The mayor also talked briefly about individual highlights, such as the more than 190 Bolingbrook Scouts who have attained the rank of Eagle.

“In this next year, we may reach 200,” Claar said.

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Tony Ommen, senior director of team services for the Chicago Blackhawks, brought the championship rings to the mayor's State of the Village luncheon.

As for the Stanley Cup highlights, Claar thanked Tony Ommen, senior director of team services for the Chicago Blackhawks for bringing the Stanley Cup to the village in 2013 so residents and officials could share and be a part of the team’s second win of the Stanley Cup. Claar showed photos of the cup at a house party in the village over the summer and another one of the trophy sitting atop a bumper of a Bolingbrook fire truck.

Ommen attended the State of the Village luncheon and brought the championship rings with him. Claar said the rings were worth between $35,000 and $40,000.

As for retail developments, the mayor pointed to a second Oberweis Dairy that will be opening this year next to the Costco at 830 E. Boughton Road. Next to the new Oberweis will be That Burger Joint, Connie’s Pizza, a new Hardee’s restaurant and an upscale clothing store. Also, Say Beignet, a coffee and wine bar, The Beer Market and a number of other retail developments came to Bolingbrook this past year. In 2013, Bolingbrook saw a 7.95 percent – a total of 510,368 square feet of new retail space added.

“People are investing. People are moving forward,” Claar said. “It’s not as bad as it seems, although it’s still not great.”

The Promenade of Bolingbrook shopping center at Boughton and Interstate 355 was sold in 2013, but operations will not be adversely impacted as a result of the sale and the shopping center will continue to grow, the mayor said.