by Eric Peterson, Daily Herald
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson's final State of the Village presentation Tuesday after 32 years in office was accompanied by two standing ovations and an award from the Schaumburg Business Association for his commitment to the business community.
Before touching on the work accomplished in 2018 and the goals for the year ahead, Larson explained that he joined the village board as a trustee in 1975 to preserve the town's historic district around Schaumburg and Roselle roads and make the community more bicycle-friendly.
But as he readies to leave office in May, Larson expressed pride in more recent projects such as the redevelopment of the former Motorola Solutions campus and preparations to turn the 62 acres between Summit Drive and Plum Grove Road into the village's last major residential development.
He also praised the skill of village staff members in implementing the vision of the village board, and the trustees he's served with for helping provide it.
"You can't get things done by yourself," Larson said. "They are the real heroes as far as Schaumburg is concerned, and hopefully they will remain heroes for a number of years."
One of the elements of Schaumburg planning he hopes will continue beyond his tenure is ensuring that every development meets high standards for appearance.
In addressing the accomplishments of 2018, Larson noted that the Schaumburg Convention Center hosted a record 93 events, while its 250,000 attendees was the second highest number since the facility opened in 2006.
The past year also saw the opening of Woodfield Mall's new dining pavilion, as well as several other restaurants across the village; completion of the central road through the Veridian Development on the former the Motorola campus; and approval of deals for Experior Transport and Feed My Starving Children to establish new headquarters in Schaumburg.
In transportation, the village improved 28 miles of road, completed the long-sought right turn lane on southbound Roselle Road at Schaumburg Road and opened its first roundabout at Plum Grove and Remington roads.
Preparations continue for the creation of an entertainment district near the convention center that could include a six-story parking deck.
Tuesday's presentation ended with a surprise for the mayor -- a video of tributes featuring past and present leaders of the Schaumburg Business Association, Meet Chicago Northwest convention and visitors bureau, the Schaumburg Convention Center, Zurich North America and even Coop, the greater prairie chicken mascot of the Schaumburg Boomers baseball team.