June President's Message
On June 2 at 12 noon, the Explore Elmhurst Express Trolley will begin its 16-week summer program of providing FREE rides to residents and visitors travelling between Elmhurst City Centre and the Spring Road and York and Vallette Business districts.
Each Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 12 midnight, the trolley will connect those three business districts, with pick-ups and drop offs every 30 minutes at six street-signed locations, with convenient public parking available near each of the stops.
Starting in downtown Elmhurst at York Street and Park Avenue on the hour and half hour, the trolley will move in five-minute intervals to stops at York and Schiller streets, Second Street and Addison Avenue, Cottage Hill and Virginia Street (Wilder Park), Spring Road and the Illinois Prairie Path, and then York and Vallette.
New for this year is a GPS “Trolley Tracker,” linked to the Explore Elmhurst website, that will allow riders to find the trolley’s exact location along the route. Riders can also enter to win weekly prizes donation by Elmhurst businesses and organizations.
The trolley experience will feature a recorded narrative to educate riders about highlighted areas of our City and music from the world renowned Elmhurst College Jazz Band under the direction of 2013 ECCI Civic Hall of Fame inductee Doug Beach.
Each Saturday at 2:30 p.m., starting at the York and Park stop, the Elmhurst Public Library will stage its signature “Storytime” event.
Colored a bright yellow and green, the trolley is handicapped accessible and compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). There is no onboard storage and the aisle must remain open per the fire code, but strollers that collapse or fit into the seating area are welcome.
In partnership with the City, our Chamber sold display advertising spaces (at $400 per) located inside the trolley to 18 Elmhurst businesses and organizations, with all of the ad printing handled by Castco Communications.
Trolley advertisers include (in alphabetical order) Berkshire Hathaway Prairie Path (Muisenga), Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (Sanchez), Community Bank of Elmhurst, Edward-Elmhurst Health, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Dentistry For Kids, Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst Park District, Fitz’s Pub/Fitz’s Spare Keys, Home Discovery Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff (Mills), IC Catholic Prep, Illinois Spinal Care of Elmhurst, NEXT Yoga, Spring Road Business Association, State Farm Insurance – Sharon Sullivan, Total Window Treatments, York and Vallette Business Association and York Theatre – Classic Cinemas.
For riders active on social media, they can share their trolley photos by tagging #ExploreElmhurst.
State Budget Update
As I forecasted in my May President’s Message, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and first-term Republican Governor Bruce Rauner failed to reach a “Grand Bargain” on a state budget by the 100th Spring Session’s May 31 conclusion, so now it will require a three-fifths majority to pass bills for an extended session this summer.
Instead of a simple majority, a budget plan will now require Republican support to reach the 71 votes needed to pass out of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which adopted a resolution to remain in “continuous session” to work on a budget deal.
Stop-gap funding for social service agencies and state universities ran out January 1 and the state’s backlog of unpaid bills has grown to $14.5 billion.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed three budget-related bills negotiated with their Republicans counterparts that stalled in the House, although a revenue bill featuring an income tax hike and a new sale tax on business services meant to generate $5 billion in additional income cleared a House Committee earlier this week.
Without any tax increases, state revenues projected at $31.5 billion versus the $37 billion spending proposal passed by the Senate.
Illinois has now “operated” without a budget in place for more than 700 days.
Six members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in June, as follows: 40 years—Tree Towns Reprographics, Inc., and Verlare Cleaners of Elmhurst; 20 years—The David Agency Insurance, Inc.; 15 years—Lexington Health Care & Rehabilitation Center Elmhurst and People for Elmhurst Parks Foundation; and 5 years—Pinstripes.
The Chamber welcomed six new members in May, as follows: ACCU-TAX and Accounting CO., Bema, Incorporated, Berkshire Hathaway Starck Real Estates (Gil Edgerton), Fresh Pals Pet Spa, Morgan Stanley (Taso and Gus) and VNA Health Care.
Barnhart Investment Advisory, SPECIAL T UNLIMITED and Val-Matic Valve and Manufacturing Corp. reactivated their Chamber memberships in May.
No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following five members in May: Glenbard Uniform, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Railings and Things, Top Dog Retreat and Venuz Med Spa.