By Joe Boyle
Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett can’t point to one particular reason why there has been a surge in development in the city the past year.
However, he is not complaining.
“It’s nice to see development occurring in the community,” Bennett said. “We were very happy with the new residential homes being built. We, of course, don’t have that much additional space. But we have many more people rehabbing their homes. It’s great to see.”
The mayor referred to the Carousel Checks company that is located at 11152 Southwest Highway and will employ as many as 85 people. Ald. Mike Price (1st) mentioned at the Dec. 20 city council meeting that Carousel Checks and WL Transport, 10608 S. Roberts Road, have both been granted their business licenses.
“We are happy to see businesses take a look at us and want to come here,” Bennett said. “It is great to see more development along Southwest Highway. They are seeing the potential that the area has to offer. We have Moraine Valley Community College, which has a large campus and has anywhere from 15,000 to 16,000 students, for instance.”
And with the addition of Carousel Checks, employees could be dining and shopping in Palos Hills, according to Paul Hardison, the city’s building commissioner. Carousel Checks is the fifth-largest checking business in the U.S. and has customers in all 50 states.
Bennett is also pleased with the future addition of a Thorntons gas station in Palos Hills.
“Thorntons gas station has purchased three lots,” Bennett said. “That can bring in a lot of business. This could provide more business than, say, some stores and restaurants.
“I think over the past three or four years, Bria Healthcare Services has been a great addition to Palos Hills,” Bennett said. “Bria was willing to invest in the community. We will continue to encourage businesses to come to our community.”
During a brief city council meeting last Thursday night, Bennett said there may be one reason businesses are moving to Palos Hills.
“One reason is the economy continues to get better,” Bennett emphasized. “With the economy improving, the opportunities to expand become greater. And, in turn, we can generate more revenue.”
The mayor said that while development has become greater during the past year, the economy has been improving the past four years. The current economic climate is a direct result of steady economic growth, Bennett added.
But the past year in particular has shown that businesses and residents have become more confident in the economy, according to the mayor.
“I was talking to someone in the building department and told him that I can’t recall the last time we had so many building permit requests,” Bennett said. “It has to be at least 20 years that we had this many. It has been encouraging.”