Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Economic Development Committee - November 15, 2012

Village of Gurnee

Economic Development Committee Minutes

November 15, 2012


The meeting was held in Conference Room A, Gurnee Village Hall, 325 N. O’Plaine Road and called to order at 6:02 P.M.

Members Present:            Trustee Stephen Park, Rob Elbrecht, Dick Welton, Randy Ebertowski, Karen Thorstenson, Bill Finn

 Members Absent:             Tom Henderson, Brad Jenks, Roneida Martin

Other Officials Present:    David Ziegler, Community Development Director; Ryan Mentkowski, Associate Planner

1. Approval of the October 18, 2012 Meeting Minutes

Ms. Thorstenson made a motion, seconded by Mr. Welton, to approve the October 18, 2012 meeting minutes, as presented.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

2. Education Item:   Presentation of the comparison of Gurnee schools to other local school districts.

Ms. Karen Thorstenson (Economic Development Committee member) provided an independent analysis regarding school comparisons, including that the Village of Gurnee contains the following school districts:  Woodland Consolidated #50; Gurnee Grade #56; Woodland Township High School #121.

Ms. Thorstenson also provided the following information:

  • The 2012-13 Warren Township High School District profile.
  • A spreadsheet comparing Warren Township High School District 121 (Gurnee) to Mundelein, Stevenson, Libertyville, Antioch, Zion, Grayslake and Waukegan.
  • She noted that the comparison was based on an independent analysis from quantitative data she obtained from ISBE.net (Illinois State Board of Education) and also that this analysis was not on the qualitative data that may cause people to choose a school (sports, AP classes; band, FBLA, student council, theater as well as negative factors, such as drug use which many times is a perceived issue than an actual issue).
  • She noted that the Equalized Assessed value per pupil when compared to the tax rate is often a benchmark tool utilized to compare the success of area high schools.  Generally, the statistics show that higher EAV’s have higher ACT scores.  This however is not a great measurement for the grade schools due to their different grading methods.
  • She noted that she felt that Warren 121 had a very (top notch) good special education program.
  • She felt that at a 1.55 tax rate we are getting our money’s worth.
  • She noted that Warren 121 is good facility wise for the build out range presently proposed.
  • She felt that Warren 121 has one of the best Business Managers around in Carol Rogers.
  • The spreadsheet also compared Woodland District 150 (west side of Gurnee) and Gurnee District 56 (east side of Gurnee) to Lincolnshire-Prairieview 103, Libertyville, Waukegan and Wheeling CCSD 21.
  • She noted that the quality of a school can be affected if the leadership at a school is of lower quality.
  • She noted that the Pupil: Teacher Ratio can also affect the quality of a school.

No formal motion action taken.

3. Education Item:   Presentation of new and upcoming activities at Gurnee Mills Mall.

Mr. Randy Ebertowski, manager of Gurnee Mills Mall made a PowerPoint presentation regarding Gurnee Mills Mall.  The presentation included information about the new and exciting happenings going on at Gurnee Mills Mall, as well as other interesting facts about what Gurnee Mills may be looking at working on in the future. 

Some of Mr. Ebertowski’s discussion points included:

  • Gurnee Mills Mall is 21 years old and it was time to provide it with upgrades.
  • The ultimate goal of the mall is for more traffic and more sales for the center, including the change from an outlet mall to a true hybrid mall with outlet, retail and high scale retail all within the mall which would become more like a regional shopping center.
  • The improvements to the mall included the addition of a Macy’s Department Store which will open in August of 2013 and be the catalyst that will start the new high scale retail wing of the store.
  • That the addition of the Macy’s Department Store includes making the adjacent wing of the mall into a more upscale section of the mall with new store fronts and other modernizing improvements to the wing.
  • A play area was opened on November 17th in a Chicago theme designed by “Playtime” out of Colorado.  The play area was opened up to bring more people into the mall with their kids.  The elements of the play area include a 12’ tall Willis Tower, the Michigan Avenue bridge and a picture of a sailor in honor of the Great Lakes Naval Academy.  Many of these elements also have a sound feature, including a piano keyboard on one of the interior walls.
  • A new toll way sign was added because the existing sign was 15 years old and had become a maintenance issue and eye sore.  The new sign is about the same square footage as the old sign, but is 80% more energy efficient than the old sign and provides a better prospective to people driving on the Tollway.
  • Other additions to the store that were very good additions were Buy Buy Baby, a New Balance Store, a renovated A&F store and updated façade for Justice & Brothers.
  • Other improvements to the mall include: new restrooms in the 3 highest used restrooms and a family changing room; renovated entrances with a new façade that is also more energy efficient due to LED lights; and are working on removing the agricultural parking lot ID signage interior to the sight with updated signage to match the new theme. 

4. Old Business:  Discussion related to the maps provided of the Village of Gurnee Boundaries and the areas of vacant land of the Village of Gurnee

Based on limited time available, this item was tables until the December EDC meeting.

5. New Business:    Approval of the 2013 EDC Meeting Schedule

Mr. Elbrecht made a motion, seconded by Mr. Ebertowski, to approve the 2013 EDC meeting schedule.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

6. Chairman Comments

The Chairman made no formal comments as part of this item.

7. Adjournment

Mr. Ebertowski made a motion, seconded by Mr. Welton, to adjourn.

All voted ‘aye’. Motion carried.

The Meeting was adjourned at 7:25 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted:


Ryan Mentkowski
Economic Development Committee Secretary


11-15-12_EDC_Minutes.pdf97.16 KB