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Despite setbacks, LeClercq declares rosy outlook for Oswego economy

Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq will be featured speaker during Feb. 17 Oswego Chamber Legislative Committee-sponsored State Village Address.

Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq will be the featured speaker during the Feb. 17 Oswego Chamber Legislative Committee-sponsored State of the Village Address. | Submitted

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Candidate forum

The Oswego Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate’s forum in anticipation of the April 9 election for the Oswego Village Board.

Incumbents Jeff Lawson, Judy Sollinger and Scott Volpe and new candidates Kenneth P. Duda, Scott Finkenbinder, Ryan Kauffman and Pam Parr are all running for four-year terms. Three seats are open.

The candidate’s forum will be at 6:30 p.m. March 6 at Oswego Village Hall, 100 Parkers Mill.

Updated: March 20, 2013 6:27AM

OSWEGO — The village’s outlook for economic development is good, despite some high-profile setbacks and regional economic malaise.

That was the message Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq tried to convey during his address to the Oswego business community at the Oswego Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Village event Monday morning.

A Pier 1 Imports will be opening in town soon, as are two new popcorn shops — The Popcorn Store and Page’s Popcorn.

“People love their popcorn. That’s what the survey says,” LeClercq said.

They’ll be added to the 900 or so businesses in Oswego, about 36 percent of which are home-based businesses, LeClercq said.

And residential development is also steadily returning, LeClercq said.

“We are pleased to announce that we’ve experienced growth — for the third year in a row we’re seeing an increase in housing permits,” said LeClercq.

Oswego ranked seventh in new housing starts among communities in the Chicagoland area in the fourth quarter of 2012, losing some ground since the fourth quarter of 2011, when Oswego ranked fourth in new residential projects.

“Look at that, we’re number seven. Things are still happening here in Oswego.”

Housing now occupies roughly 67 percent of developed land in the village, according to LeClercq, but in the coming year, the village’s economic development department will be focused on light industrial and office developments and mixed residential-commercial areas.

LeClercq added that there’s plenty of land for developers to choose from, and suggested that Oswego could be far more built up than it is now.

“The comprehensive plan has a study area of approximate 37 square miles, of which 23 square miles are still available for future development. So think about that — over sixty-something percent is still available for development,” he said. “There’s a lot of open space. There’s still a lot of great opportunities here in Oswego.”

Still, the address ended on a less positive note — the news to some that Walmart had decided to locate its newest Sam’s Club store at a site near Routes 30 and 34, in Montgomery.

Village Administrator Steve Jones called the decision to locate outside of Oswego, “very disappointing.” The decision, he said, had ultimately come down to traffic counts, which were higher at the Montgomery intersection of Routes 30 and 34.

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