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Cook says Channahon is ripe for investment

CHANNAHON – Village President Joe Cook’s State of Channahon address Wednesday came with a message of transition.

The police department was reorganized last year, and a new administrator and finance director will soon be hired. Reconstruction will begin on the Route 6/Interstate 55 exchange in the fall, and sales of single family homes hit 160 last year – up from 115 in 2012.

“I am pleased to tell all of you that the state of the village of Channahon is ripe for investment,” Cook said during the luncheon, which was held at the Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. “We have the spirit, the know-how, the will and the foundation to be a strong partner for all those who seek to invest in this great community.”

The Channahon Economic Development Council is helping prepare Channahon for new business, Cook said, and a partnership with the village and Minooka will make the area around the new Brisbin Road interchange more attractive for development.

With Industrial Development International’s planned logistics center at Bluff Road and I-55 construction will come for a water main extension to serve businesses wanting to locate at the site.

The state of the village’s finances is excellent, Cook said, with a solid bond rating and cash reserves in its general operating fund of more than 50 percent of its annual expenditures.

He did identify one negative – lawsuits by the city of Chicago and the Regional Transportation Authority challenging Channahon’s point-of-sale tax rebate program.

The RTA is suing Channahon and other municipalities, including Morris, alleging that sales tax revenue is being diverted from Cook County where business is transacted to other towns where officers are set up to take advantage of lower tax rates.

Cook said his take on the recent Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in the Hartney Oil case ws that it affirmed that Channahon was within the law.

Three awards were presented at the address, including one that was renamed this year in honor of the legacy of longtime police and fire commissioner and former police officer William Kennedy, who recently died. Cook said Kennedy laid the foundation for today’s police department.

The award, now called the 2014 William Kennedy Police Officer of the Year award, was presented to an entire Channahon Police Department shift. The midnight shift of Sgt. Craig Gunty and officers John Blough, Dustin Carlson and Andrew Chapple was honored for a long list of accomplishments that included the handling of armed domestic disputes, foot pursuits, suicide threats, spike strip stops, and other incidents.

Gunty said before the address that it was the officers’ hard work and dedication to the department and the community that enabled the residents of Channahon to rest at ease at night.

The 2014 Amos Moose Hayes Award for Citizen of the Year went to Angie Caldwell, owner of Five Star Cheer Academy, organizer of Pink Heels, room mom, and religious education teacher at St. Ann Catholic Church.

The 2014 Fred Rittof/George Sparagis Award for Business of the Year went to Walgreens and manager Bob Becker, who Cook said has supported the community in many ways, including National Night out against Crime, Relay for Life, and the Warrior Dash.

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