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Wheaton Snapshot-2023 Recap
02 Feb
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Wheaton Snapshot | 2023 Recap

Welcome to “Wheaton Snapshot”—a quick take on the latest in Wheaton.

This series covers a variety of topics, such as events, operations of the city, new business openings, financial updates, and more. Stay tuned for additional updates in the months to follow.

Wheaton Snapshot | 2023 Recap

As we wrap up 2023 and look forward to 2024, it is important to take a pause to look back at the wonderful achievements and programs Wheaton brought to life this past year.

  • As a result of strict expenditure management and a strong fiscal policy, Wheaton is one of only 22 municipalities in Illinois to earn the top AAA credit rating by Standard & Poors Global Ratings.
  • The City invested $676,000 to help residents prevent sewer back-ups through three key programs.
  • Wheaton completed the Dorset Flood Improvement Project, the first capital improvement project identified in a comprehensive study of flood-prone areas.
  • To promote pedestrian safety and walkability, the City continued its new sidewalk program, adding 5.2 miles of new sidewalks.
  • 2023 marked the conclusion of a multi-year, $35 million investment in the heart of our City. Part of that project, the Downtown Pavilion, serves as a new event and gathering space, and it hosted this year’s Christmas Tree lighting.
  • Much of the cityscape project focused on replacing decades-old infrastructure, such as sewer pipes, roads, street lights, and sidewalks.
  • New amenities helped make Downtown Wheaton a destination, drawing both residents and visitors.
  • This landmark project incorporated sustainability through native plants, permeable pavers, solar panels on the pavilion, LED street lights, and features to encourage biking and walking.
  • The lead service line replacement project continued on both City and private property (with owners’ permission).
  • In 2023, Wheaton completed the construction of the Creekside Drive bridge.
  • As part of the City’s goal to promote Wheaton as a safe city, the Wheaton Police and Fire Departments continued developing opportunities to build relationships within our community.
  • Wheaton added two additional firemen, and Robert Brill became Wheaton’s new Fire Chief.
  • In 2023, businesses thrived in Wheaton. Numerous restaurants were opened, including Babam, Chipotle, Proof No. 5, Nautical Bowls, Q-Currys, and more. In addition, Wheaton welcomed new residential developments, barber shops/salons, financial groups, a bank, a fitness center, retail shops, and more. The partial list includes Ann Taylor, J. Crew Factory Outlet, Pickled, The Main Antiquarian, Liberty Square Flats, and, coming soon, Nordstrom Rack.
  • Looking forward to 2024, Wheaton will not raise the tax levy for the 5th consecutive year.
    • The 2024 financial plan includes no new taxes and an anticipated $5.9 million 2023 budget surplus.
    • The budget of $120 million for 2024 will include $30 million in capital improvements.

“Each resident, business, and organization in our community makes Wheaton the remarkable place that it is—we are fortunate to call Wheaton home. Thank you for your support of our community and your involvement.”
—Wheaton Mayor Phil Suess

Enjoy more 2023 photos from Wheaton >

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Mayor-Phil-Suess-State-of-City-Address
31 Jan
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Mayor Phil Suess | State of the City Video

From Wheaton Mayor Philip Suess | State of the City Address | January, 2024

“Happy New Year, Wheaton! As we leap into 2024, we close the books on an eventful year in our community.

From new developments and infrastructure projects to giant prehistoric visitors and the grand finale on downtown improvements, the list of noteworthy events and accomplishments in our community this year is long. For time’s sake, let’s take a look at the highlights reel.

I now present to you, in no particular order, the top 10 stories from the year in Wheaton as we continue to take our City to new heights.”

  • #10: Wheaton welcomes new leaders
    • Three Wheaton City Council members were up for re-election in 2023.
    • Newcomer Brad Clousing was sworn into office as Councilman at Large.
    • Erica Bray-Parker was elected to her second term as Councilwoman at Large.
    • Mayor Phil Suess was re-elected to a second term as Mayor of Wheaton.
    • Dawn Didier became the City’s new City Attorney.
    • Robert Brill became Wheaton’s new Fire Chief.
    • Princeton J. Youker was promoted to Police Chief in 2023.
  • #9: City celebrates completion of downtown cityscape project
    • 2023 marked the conclusion of a multi-year, $35 million investment in the heart of our City.
    • Much of this project focused on replacing decades-old infrastructure, such as sewer pipes, roads, street lights, and sidewalks.
    • New amenities helped make Downtown Wheaton a destination, drawing both residents and visitors.
    • This landmark project incorporated sustainability through native plants, permeable pavers, solar panels on the pavilion, LED street lights, and features to encourage biking and walking.
    • It also created gathering spaces, added wider sidewalks and safer crosswalks, incorporated modern signage, and realigned the Illinois Prairie Path.
    • The City hosted the Downtown Streetscape Celebration in conjunction with the official grand opening of the Wheaton French Market in the City’s new pavilion at Liberty & Main.
    • The new pavilion has also served as a new event space, including for this year’s Christmas Tree lighting.
  • #8: Warhol Comes to Wheaton
    • Color and creativity filled the summer months, as the Andy Warhol Portfolios Exhibit at the College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center inspired Pop Art in Wheaton.
    • Communities were challenged to honor four notable individuals from their community in Pop Art style.
    • Wheaton’s four faces were historian, Glennette Tilley Turner; abolitionist, and Wheaton College’s first president Jonathan Blanchard; Wheaton’s first female mayor, Marget Hamilton; and actor/comedian, Jim Belushi.
    • Pop Art infiltrated Wheaton in creative ways, through programs at the Wheaton Public Library, events, and more.
    • Wheaton’s Fine and Cultural Arts Committee selected local artists to paint Downtown Wheaton fire hydrants in Pop Art style.
    • The Commission hosted a birthday party honoring Andy Warhol’s art, complete with live music and activities.

To discover the rest of this incredible list, simply play the video on this post.

“Each resident, business, and organization in our community makes Wheaton the remarkable place that it is. Cheers to another great year in Wheaton!—Wheaton Mayor Philip Suess

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Wheaton Snapshot -Summer '23
03 Nov
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Wheaton Snapshot | Summer ’23

Welcome to “Wheaton Snapshot”—a new series that provides a quick take on the latest in Wheaton.

This series will cover a variety of topics, such as events, operations of the city, new business openings, financial updates, and more. Stay tuned for additional updates in the months to follow.

Wheaton Snapshot | Summer ’23

This summer was exceptionally busy in Wheaton. We hosted a variety of events to appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. The graphic at the top of the page illustrates some of the most exciting happenings during the summer of 2023. These events included:

  • Dinos in Wheaton!
  • Field of Honor memorial
  • Wheaton’s Annual Independence Day Fireworks and Parade
  • The opening of the Wheaton Pavilion
  • Wheaton Warhol
  • The welcoming of Swedish visitors from our sister city, Karlskoga, Sweden
  • Cantigny Park’s Voyage en France
  • Frida Friday’s on Hale, under the popular Tents on Hale
  • Wheaton Municipal Band concert series at Memorial Park
  • And more

That is quite a list! As we eagerly await the upcoming holiday season, it is wonderful to remember what an active, successful, family-oriented summer we enjoyed in Wheaton. Thanks to all who contributed their time and efforts to help Wheaton celebrate summer.

Enjoy more photos from Around Town >

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Wheaton Municipal Band-CBS2-news
31 Jul
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Wheaton Municipal Band Makes CBS 2 News Chicago

Dr. Bruce Moss-WMB-Director

“I really love it. This is what I wanted to do.” —Dr. Bruce Moss, Wheaton Municipal Band Director & Conductor

Calling the Wheaton Municipal Band one of Chicago’s “hidden gems,” CBS News Chicago explores the secrets to this group’s ongoing success and popularity. Music Director and Conductor Dr. Bruce Moss shares, “It’s not just the band. It’s the community, the spirit, the joy that people get from this. It’s a wonderful experience, and it’s a great way to share the joy of making music.”

This talented local band has been entertaining crowds since 1930. They have band members who have been in the band 50+ years, as well as musicians in the early part of their musical journey, like their 20-year-old flutist. In total, the band features more than 80 excellent musicians. Some of the band members are college music majors—some are not—but they must be top-notch performers to make the cut for the Wheaton Municipal Band.

Come out and see what the buzz is about on Thursday nights in Memorial Park, Wheaton. See our Events section for listings, or visit the Wheaton Municipal Band website for more details.

See the interview by CBS 2’s Joe Donlon, below.

Also view this video here, CBS News Chicago

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Karlskoga Sweden visitors-Wheaton sister city
24 Jul
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50th Anniversary of the Sister City Relationship: Karlskoga, Sweden and Wheaton, Illinois

Wheaton-Fireworks

In 1973, a sister city relationship was established between the City of Wheaton and Karlskoga, Sweden. In early July, 2023, three guests from Sweden visited Wheaton to commemorate this 50-year anniversary. Our Swedish guests included Tony Ring, Chairman of the Municipal Board, Karlskoga municipality; Anna Ragén, Chairman of the Municipal Council; and Mikael Ragén, Anna’s husband.

During their stay, we visited the Warhol Exhibit, Cantigny, the Field of Honor, Wheaton College, College of DuPage, the Morton Arboretum, and, of course, Downtown Wheaton. We had a wonderful time touring all these local gems!

They planned their visit so that they could enjoy a significant holiday in America. In honor of our Independence Day, they attended the Wheaton Park District 4th of July Parade and Fireworks. Tony, Anna, and Mikael had also visited Wheaton in June, 2019, and they enjoyed all Wheaton had to offer.

Wheaton Sister City Visitors-from Karlskoga Sweden-Visiting Wheaton College with President Ryken

Mayor Phil Suess hosts Wheaton Sister City Visitors from Karlskoga, Sweden. Above, they are visiting Wheaton College with President Ryken.

What Is a Sister City and How Did it Get Started?

The sister city relationship was initiated through the work of Wheaton resident and City Council member Arnold DeLuca, PhD. The interest in the sister city relationships was initiated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. Dr. DeLuca established criteria for the sister relationship and researched possible candidates. Requirements for sister city consideration included comparability with Wheaton in terms of:

  • size/population;
  • demographics/education;
  • heritage similar to Wheaton;
  • other considerations—such as having a college

The relationship was finalized in 1973 by the establishment of Wheaton’s Sister City Commission. Over the years, there have been multiple interactions with Karlskoga, including visits by hockey teams, baseball teams, and music groups. The most recent visits were in June, 2019, when representatives of Karlskoga, including a local youth baseball team, visited Wheaton. I personally visited Karlskoga in September, 2019, in recognition of the 100th Anniversary of Democracy in Sweden.

The Rich History of Karlskoga, Sweden

The origins of Karlskoga date back to the 1500s with a focus on iron castings for cannons. With a population of roughly 48,000 people, Karlskoga is located about 2 1/2 hours east of Stockholm and about 50 miles from Gothenburg.

Situated on a lake, Karlskoga has an auto racetrack, an ownership interest in an airport, and the municipality has a university. Karlskoga’s identity is that it is the hometown of Alfred Nobel. The municipality is the home to a casting company known as Bofors. This company began casting iron for cannons, which morphed over the years into one of premier manufacturers of anti-aircraft guns. Their products included the Bofors gun, which Churchill credited for winning the Battle of Britain. Nobel was the owner of Bofors from 1894 to 1896 and maintained an estate in Karlskoga. Upon his death, in 1896, Karlskoga was determined to be Nobel’s hometown for purposes of his will, because Karlskoga was the place where he maintained his horses.

The municipality is also known for the manufacturing of “powders,” a euphemism for explosives; has a manufacturing complex built into the side of a mountain; and manufactures pharmaceuticals.

The governmental structure of Karlskoga is different from Wheaton and is more comparable to that of our county structure. The Karlskoga municipality is responsible for local government, the schools, and recreation. The municipality does not have responsibility for the police, which are organized on a national basis in Sweden.

More About Our Visitors

Tony and Anna were elected to their positions in 2019 on a moderate platform known as the “Moderate Alliance.” This platform placed emphasis on fiscal stability and economic growth. The election of Tony and Anna represented the first change in Karlskoga’s political leadership in over one hundred years.

Tony is a retired race car driver, and he had driven professionally for both Porsche and Ferrari. Since retiring, Tony has been involved in broadcasting and public relations activities.

Anna holds a doctorate from Karlstad University. Her doctorate focused on “delving deeper into the activities and actors that exist in the ecosystem that works to promote innovation and commercial activity linked to higher education and research.” Anna’s current and past responsibilities have included positions with Swedish manufacturing companies, working at Orebro University, focusing on innovations and utilization of research, external relations, and being CEO of Orebro University Holding A.B. In conjunction with her husband, Anna is a partner in several small technology companies.

Mikael is the owner of several small businesses in the Karlskoga area.

Karlskoga, Sweden map - collage

 

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Warhol Wheaton-2023
30 May
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Wheaton Warhol Opens—Mayor Suess Welcomes the “Faces of Wheaton”

Wheaton’s Warhol Pop Art Challenge Public Art Display Unveiling

In celebration Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop at the College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center, local artist Geoff Bevington recreated images of four prominent local figures in the Warhol style: Jonathan Blanchard, Marget Hamilton, Glennette Tilley Turner, and Jim Belushi. View the video of this event, below.

The 20 ft. wide by 7 ft. tall art installation will overlook the library’s West Plaza throughout the summer of 2023 in celebration of Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop, presented by the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage.

Learn more about Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop at the College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center

Browse Wheaton Warhol Events 

 

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