Business and Economic Development

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A recent survey of Wood Dale business owners found that three things attracted them to Wood Dale to live and start a business:

  • The city offers a perfect location within easy range of transportation for their supplies, products and people.
  • DuPage County tax levels are substantially lower than taxes in nearby Cook County (which includes the City of Chicago).
  • The Wood Dale city government shows a business-friendly attitude, which includes such support as two tax increment finance districts and a facade improvement program.

And there’s a fourth factor, too, said Kelley Chrisse, assistant director of community development for the City
of Wood Dale.

“We are also what a lot of people refer to as a small town,” Chrisse says. “They like the atmosphere here – the feeling that they’re part of a family.”

When the farm towns west of Chicago began turning into suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s, Wood Dale grew rapidly because it offers ideal transit options for both residents and businesses.

The Wood Dale train station on Metra’s Milwaukee District West Line is right in the middle of town, near the new clock tower and garden. With almost 60 trains a day stopping there, the line takes riders to Chicago’s Union Station in 35 to 45 minutes. About 600 people a day board Metra trains at Wood Dale.

Only 82 percent of the parking near the station is used each day. That is good news for riders but is seen as a challenge by the city’s leaders to improve ridership and capitalize on one of the city’s assets.

“In the new Wood Dale Comprehensive Plan that was approved in August 2018, we identified that we could make even better use of our train station,” Chrisse said. “We’re expanding access to the station by improving sidewalks in the depot area and by encouraging employers to start shuttle-bus service between their plants and the station.”

Meanwhile, businesses enjoy access within minutes by road to the air freight facility at O’Hare International Airport – one of the world’s busiest airline hubs – and to Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific intermodal rail yards.

An extensive system of super highways connects the Wood Dale area to neighboring states in every direction. But big changes are coming in that network thanks to what is known as the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access Project.

For years Illinois planners have been working on this effort to improve auto and truck access from the west Chicago suburbs to O’Hare. In 2017, the controlled-access, two-lane Illinois Route 390 (formerly known as the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway) was extended several miles right through the north side of Wood Dale. In coming years, this super highway will be extended from there to the airport’s western edge, providing a shortcut directly to the Jane Addams Tollway/Kennedy Expressway (I-90) and Tri-State Tollway (I-294). Passenger cars, buses and taxis will be able to drive from Wood Dale to the airport in just a few minutes.

The city government is working to encourage reinvestment along the new stretch of Route 390, which Chrisse described as “the front door to our community.”