St. John is open for business

2013-02-24T00:00:00Z St. John is open for businessBy Lu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

ST. JOHN | Rapid population growth during the last decade has nearly doubled the size of St. John, making it the fastest-growing community in Northwest Indiana. That’s also opened up opportunities for expanding commercial and retail businesses.

Over the last few years, the town has made significant investments in the community’s infrastructure to accommodate the growth in people and business.

However, the Town Council realized that those important infrastructure investments need to be paired with other efforts to maximize business growth, said Stephen Z. Kil, St. John town manager.

One of those efforts led to an active partnership between the town and the St. John Chamber of Commerce. The Town Council also formed an Economic Development Committee to create “an aggressive marketing strategy for St. John,” he said.

“We are taking a proactive approach toward reaching out to small and large, well-established commercial and retail ventures, to attract superior business development in our community,” Kil said.

In 2012, for example, St. John officials and the St. John Plan Commission began working with McDonald’s Corp. of Oak Brook to build the town’s first golden arches at 97th Lane and U.S. 41. The site in the Eenigenburg 2nd Addition is currently the location of Eenigenburg Quality Water. That building will be torn down to make way for McDonald’s and a new facility built on the next lot north of the restaurant.

A comprehensive marketing brochure to attract high-end retail business and restaurants to St. John was to be unveiled in the middle of the month, and will be aggressively marketed with such organizations as the International Council of Shopping Centers, Kil said.

“The proximity to Chicago has made St. John an extremely attractive place to raise a family and still be able to work in the Chicagoland area,” he said. “With 7,000 acres of prime real estate poised for residential and commercial development, St John is ready to work with the retail community.”

In addition to available facilities, land and infrastructure, the quality of life in St. John provides another incentive for businesses to locate in the Tri-Town community. These qualities are among the key facts highlighted in the comprehensive marketing campaign.

The median household income in St. John is $97,895, nearly double that of the national average.

St. John consistently exceeds national and state averages in employment, with 70 percent of the population in the workforce.

Home values in St. John exceed national and state averages on a consistent basis with the median home value at $265,300.

Lake Central School Corp.’s expansion of Lake Central High School is part of a $160 million construction project designed to accommodate future growth.

The town has also received recognition for its quality of life twice in the last four years.

In 2009, CNN Money Magazine ranked St. John 48th among the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States. Earlier this year, Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Rankings tapped this town of 14,205 residents as The Best Place to Raise Kids in Indiana.

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