• Council approves chamber contract

    The Elgin City Council has renewed its contract with Elgin Area Chamber’s Economic Development Group for another three years, increasing the fee paid annually to $300,000.

    The group, known as the EDG, is a public-private branch of the chamber that works directly with the city to help bring new businesses to Elgin. They’ve been paid $275,000 annually for the past 10 years.

    “We’re excited to contribute to what we believe is a world-class relationship that delivers world-class results not only for the business community but for our residents to have a good place to live and work,” said Mike Warren, a member of the EDG Board of Directors and its former chairman.

    The organization has helped bring 6,825 jobs to Elgin over the past three years, said Tony Lucenko, who heads the EDG for the chamber. EDG has been responsible for recruiting such businesses as Amazon, Culver’s and German-based Faber-Castell Cosmetics, he said.

    Faber-Castell, 2555 Decade Court, is an example of how cooperation between the city, state and U.S. Department of Commerce can be facilitated through a group like the EDC, Lucenko said.

    “This company is a great manufacturing addition to the community. It added 50 employees, and it’s been around since 1761 making (pencils, pens and art supplies). They make 3 billion pencils throughout the world,” he said.

    EDG also works to retain businesses and to help existing businesses expand, Lucenko said.

    “We’re going to do everything in our power to make this economic development program a continued success,” he said.

    Under the new agreement, EDG will create a video series to promote economic development, expand retention visits to area businesses, do more outreach to small businesses, and continue to market retail and industrial spaces.

    Mayor Dave Kaptain said he believes Elgin’s partnership with the chamber is a one other communities look at as example of what can be achieved.

    He added that as a seasoned stock market investor, he understands the need to get a good return on investment. “There is no better return for the city’s investment than this agreement,” Kaptain said.

    Councilman Tish Powell supported the agreement although she was initially hesitant to increase the budget to $300,000. However, she was pleaed there were “interesting plans on some new things you are looking to do, and I definitely expect that is something that will add to our economic development efforts in our community,” she said.

    Powell said she’d like to see the council work with the EDC on an economic development strategy, asking questions like what’s the city’s focus, what’s working and not working, and “where have we been and where we are going,” she said. “As policymakers, we need to provide that direction.”

    Elgin Area Chamber President and CEO Carol Gieske acknowledged the benefit of that.

    “You are setting the temperature for business in this community by the strategic plans you want to develop and by the votes that you are taking,” she said. “The business community knows Elgin is a good place to do business,”

    Gloria Casas is a freelancer for The Courier-News.
    Source: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/