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Green infrastructure, jobs, retail and more presented at spring quarterly forum

Program Manager Julia Plumb presents new company, Highbridge, at CSEDC's spring quarterly forum at the Orland Park Civic Center

Program Manager Julia Plumb presents new company, Highbridge, at CSEDC’s spring quarterly forum at the Orland Park Civic Center.

The Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association gratefully acknowledge the Village of Orland Park and all who presented at the spring quarterly forum on April 24 at the Civic Center in Orland Park.

Program Manager Julia Plumb unveiled transitional jobs and social enterprise company High Bridge. They aim to address two key issues at once: the need to hire local people for jobs in the Calumet region and offer an environmentally friendly way to complete projects that help prevent floods in area communities.

During its start-up year of 2015, High Bridge plans to install approximately a dozen pilot green infrastructure projects throughout the Millennium Reserve/ Calumet River corridor communities of Robbins, Riverdale, Calumet Park, Calumet City, Dolton, Blue Island Burnham and flood-prone Midlothian as well as community-coordinated project on the campus of South Suburban College. The projects range in size and scope from rain gardens along parkways in residential settings to multi-acre wetland and native tree installations within industrial sites and former brownfield properties. Please click here to view the slides, here for an overview, or here to read a related Millennium Reserve blog post.

Other forum topics included Sandra Zoellner’s presentation on the upcoming Select Chicago Southland’s trip to Las Vegas for an International Council of Shopping Centers “RECon” convention. Their strategy for bringing retail to the region is building personal relationships with global investors who they plan to meet face-to-face in Vegas.

Select Chicago Southland started with just Park Forest, but has now grown to 12 municipal members including Alsip, Blue Island, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Lansing, Monee, Olympia Fields, Richton Park, South Holland, Steger and University Park. New communities that want to participate need to make a commitment by July, Sandra said. Please click here for the presentation slides.

The forum also spotlighted ongoing expansion of downtown Orland Park with a presentation by the village’s Director of Development Services Karie Friling. They are working on establishing a strong daytime population, building on a comprehensive plan to boldly transform the downtown core, she said. It’s a plan for people, not cars, she added. Please click here to see the presentation slides.

Rota Skipper General Manager Robert Greaney added the topic of creating manufacturing jobs. He estimated that every 100 manufacturing jobs can create about 250 other jobs. Rota Skipper incorporates a conscious practice of hiring interns in an effort to build its future talent. The company has patented devices to automatically put sausage, sauce and pepperoni on pizza. Every one of the frozen pizzas in grocery stores today is made with the company’s equipment, he said.

Also presenting at the forum were Barrington Rutherford and Michael Brown of SITUS Development Corporation. They are leveraging Chinese investment to bring new Burger King stores and jobs to the Southland. Their slides are here.

Thank you CSEDC Board Chairman Michael Scholefield for moderating and to all who attended. We look forward to seeing you at the summer quarterly forum on July 24, 2015.

More photos are here.

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