Partnering with the Community
A Message from University Park Mayor Joseph E. Roudez, III
Having recently completed my first 100 days as mayor of University Park, I am grateful to be continuing a positive working relationship between Governors State University (GSU) and the village. Together with GSU, University Park is becoming the regional hub of Chicago’s Southland through the creation of expanded economic opportunity and a well-trained workforce of future leaders.
On August 2, academic, business and community leaders gathered at GSU. The Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation (CSEDC) hosted an important economic forum to outline future growth and promote new regional business opportunities. CSEDC develops and implements the economic development programs of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and its investors.
As the economic forum’s keynote speaker, I noted that GSU is a fine institution to educate the region’s workforce and that economic development and employment opportunities abound. University Park has ample land available for development including our Governors Gateway Industrial Park which has roughly seventy-five major companies and hi-tech firms like Bimba, Applied Systems and Federal Signal.
In recent years, University Park has quickly emerged as a national mega-cluster for logistics, distribution, and e-commerce. Thanks to the proximity to several interstate highways and national railroads, the region is now connected by truck and train to both oceans, Canada, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Interstate-57 logistics corridor is booming and considered one of Illinois’ emerging success stories. Anyone driving along I-57, whether coming from the north or the south, is witness to the massive new distribution and fulfillment centers popping up in recent years.
Big names like Clorox, Georgia-Pacific, Dot Foods, Avatar, and Amazon have done their due diligence analyses, completed their economic impact studies and invested hundreds of millions based on their positive growth projections. Occupying millions of square feet, these new outlets employ thousands of new workers, many of whom are integrated with state-of-the-art robotics, and together, they connect commerce to people across the Midwest and beyond.
The proposed South Suburban Airport, however, will be the catapulting regional influence. As a charter member of the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission, University Park remains a forceful voice in pushing the Illinois Department of Transportation to acquire the necessary land for the airport and financing for the project through a public-private partnership. The South Suburban Airport would facilitate a transportation matrix which, when completed, would give the Southland unprecedented, non-stop connectivity, to almost any other marketplace on the planet.
The Southland would suddenly be transformed into a necessary global distribution hub.
In all these ways, University Park and regional leaders are fighting for the future of the Southland and Governors State University remains a vital partner in providing the exemplary workforce needed to move the region forward.