Centrally located approximately halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, the Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills communities offer resident many local resources, as well as convenient access to two metropolitan areas’ employment opportunities, attractions, transit, facilities and amenities.
These four Lake County, Illinois, municipalities each have their own unique histories, events, personalities and a wonderful quality of life enjoyed by many. Area highlights include great parks, residential neighborhoods, family-friendly environments, cultural attractions and fabulous bike trails.
Green Oaks is a small community that offers quiet country living, excellent schools, single-family homes on large lots and access to major highways. Green Oaks was founded in 1960 as a municipal barrier to intense urban and industrial expansion in neighboring areas, according to the village website. From the beginning, village ordinance has provided for a pattern of one-, two- and five-acre lot residential zoning and strict standards over environmentally sensitive lands. In fact, the community’s dedication to low growth and protecting “the opportunity to live in an open countryside environment” is even spelled out in its planning commission’s policies.
While it was unincorporated until 1960, the Green Oaks area had residents much earlier. Irish immigrants braved the dense forests, swamps, poor clay soil and wolves to move in during the 1840s. The first school in the area, Madden School, was built in 1850 and used until 1923 when the original Oak Grove School replaced it.
Today Green Oaks has 3,863 residents spread over 4.12 square miles along I-294. The areas of the village on the west side of the tollway are almost exclusively residential while the much smaller percentage of the community located east of I-294 is largely reserved for office and industrial use as the village strives to raise sufficient tax money to defray the cost of village services.
The village is excited to see progress on the three large developments. The first is Green Oaks Senior Living by Spectrum Development at Route 176 and I-94, with planned occupancy for spring 2017. The second, the Sheridan of Green Oaks by Senior Lifestyles Development at Route 43 and Atkinson Road is following the same track as Spectrum, with occupancy planned for spring 2017. The first retail building as part of the Green Oaks Commons Retail Development, also at Route 43 and Atkinson Road, was completed in 2016. One additional retail building and two office buildings remain to be built as part of that development. Once complete, these developments will begin to generate revenue to the tax-increment financing district, allowing for revitalization and development throughout the industrial and retail corridor of Route 176.
Green Oaks is policed by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, and fire services are provided by Libertyville. Scavenger services are provided and each homeowner may choose their preferred level of service.
Libertyville’s history extends back to the 1830s, with incorporation in 1882. But you will find few buildings in town that date to those early years, thanks to the Great Libertyville Fire of 1895 that destroyed most of the town and caused village fathers to decree that everything be rebuilt in brick.
As a result, the community’s ambiance is picture perfect thanks to the fact that it was all built around the same time. One of the few exceptions to the brick architecture is the Cook House, a Victorian mansion that survived the fire. The structure now serves as Libertyville’s historical museum and is attached to the library.
Libertyville is so picturesque that the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded the town a Great American Main Street Award, calling it “a place with its own sense of self, where people still stroll the spas, boutiques and a microbrewery.”
In addition to the historic downtown, the village’s main commercial corridors include Park Avenue (Route 176), Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) and Peterson Road (Route 137). Residents support local businesses through the Shop60048 program.
Community events draw residents and visitors together, including Libertyville Days, First Fridays, Let’s Wine About Winter, Car Fun on 21, Dog Days of Summer, Out to Lunch, Libertyville Farmers Market, David Adler Festival of the Arts and Dickens of a Holiday.
Access to Chicago is easy for Libertyville’s 20,431 residents via the downtown and Prairie Crossing Metra stations, and Interstate 94. There are over 900 businesses in Libertyville, including major employers such as Advocate Condell Medical Center, Volkswagen Credit, Hollister, Fabrication Technologies and Brightstar.
Mundelein is a great place to start … and star.
The Village of Mundelein, a vibrant and progressive community of nearly 32,000 residents, is situated in the center of beautiful Lake County, Illinois – one of the strongest areas of commercial and industrial growth in the nation, with excellent housing, recreation, educational and business opportunities. Mundelein takes pride in its brand promise: “Mundelein will be Central Lake County’s premier location for entrepreneurs and known as a welcoming community.”
Mundelein is a full-service community with municipal services second to none. The village provides fire and police protection, water delivery, wastewater treatment, building inspection, engineering design and inspection, street maintenance and economic development assistance for anyone interested in finding the ideal location for their business. Each department’s highest priority is providing exceptional and reliable customer service.
Retailers find Mundelein an excellent business location in terms of accessibility and population – 42,000 households (110,160 population) within a five-mile radius. The village is home to both national chains and privately-owned specialty stores. The comprehensive downtown plan is transforming the area into an exciting retail and residential environment.
Often referred to as “the Heart of Lake County,” the Village of Mundelein is well positioned for convenient access to and from the City of Chicago and the greater Chicago region.
Excellent location, modern business parks, reliable infrastructure, water resources and a well-managed and progressive local government contribute to Mundelein’s success. A wide range of community events bring many visitors to town, including Mundelein Farmers Market, Mundelein Community Days, Craft Beer Festival, Concerts in the Park, Park-On-Park Cruise Nights, Mundelein Arts Festival, Santa’s Cottage and other special events and festivals.
Vernon Hills is the premiere shopping destination in Lake County, thanks to its many national stores, recently expanded Hawthorn Mall and the current Mellody Farm development under construction. The village also serves as home to numerous large employers, business parks, restaurants and retailers.
This community of 25,678 residents was unincorporated farmland in 1958 when developers purchased some of that land and built a 125-home subdivision, which they quickly incorporated and named “Vernon Hills.” The population of the community was so minuscule that until 1971, the Vernon Hills police and fire departments were run out of a local motel!
All of that changed in 1971 when plans were announced for the construction of a large shopping mall on the northwest corner of the intersection of Route 60 and Milwaukee Avenue. Elected officials immediately purchased two portable buildings to serve as their new village hall, and both residential and commercial development in the area took off. In fact, nine years later in 1980, Vernon Hills’ population had grown to almost 10,000 residents.
Hawthorn Mall has been an integral part of the Vernon Hills landscape for years. The mall offers a wide variety of amenities and great shopping, including Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears and other well- known retailers. A recently remodeled dining court, new 12 theater AMC and great places to dine like Maggiano’s, The Claim Company and Dave & Buster’s have enhanced the mall to meet growing consumer needs. New construction across the street from the mall at the northeast corner of the intersection of Route 60 and Milwaukee Avenue has begun for Mellody Farm – a mixed use commercial and residential development with 260 apartments and 270,000 square feet of retail space with Whole Foods, Nordstrom Rack, REI, and Homegoods anchoring the center. This $200 million investment in the community is a testament to the village’s strong economic position and cements Vernon Hills as the premiere retail destination in Lake County.
Today this full-service community covers 7.92 square miles, offering a Metra station, outdoor Arbortheater, golf courses, a public library and award-winning schools.
Special events and concerts enjoyed by all include Summer Celebration, Ribfest, outdoor concerts, Oktoberfest and several holiday events.