Annual Letter from the Mayor and City Council

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January, 2017


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Our highest goal as members of the City Council is to continue to improve the quality of life for all Crystal Lake residents. We take very seriously our role as public servants. As elected officials, we are responsible for making decisions of policy and law, which are implemented by Crystal Lake’s highly professional City staff. 

Due to the efforts of many, including volunteer board and commission members, community leaders, the Chamber of Commerce and most importantly, our residents, Crystal Lake’s motto, “A Good Place to Live”, continues to be true. It is also a very good place to do business, as evidenced by our robust downtown, our rebounding and thriving Route 14 corridor, and our many and growing industrial, manufacturing, and office firms.

We are happy to report that even during challenging economic times, Crystal Lake continues to provide a positive environment to do business, and through partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Crystal Lake, our business community continues to thrive and grow.  Proactive economic development programs, designed to encourage new businesses to come to Crystal Lake as well as to recognize and show appreciation for existing businesses, continues to be very gratifying and successful.  

The City’s premier Three Oaks Recreation Area, located on the pristine waters of a beautiful lake, offers many amenities including a beach, trails, a spray park, playground, scuba diving, concessions, pavilions and picnic sites with benches and grills. Also, various types of watercraft can be rented at the marina for fishing, paddling, kayaking, canoeing or just enjoying being out on the water.  Last year, a new cable/wakeboard park, “The Quarry”, opened on the north lake.  We are very proud of Three Oaks Recreation Area, a true gem for generations of residents to enjoy all it has to offer.

Another sparkling City gem, Historic Downtown Crystal Lake, is a destination spot  for the region due to its historic charm, many and varied independent shops and restaurants, and of course, the Raue Center for the Arts, which again has an exciting line-up of entertainers and productions for this season. Downtown hosts many great events, including the summer Farmer’s Market, Sidewalk Sales, Ladies Nights, Johnny Appleseed Festival, Festival of Lights Holiday Parade, the Santa House, and a much more. Downtown is a friendly place for neighbors and visitors to shop, dine and gather, and there is something fun for every member of the family. There is also ample parking, including free parking in the downtown Metra train commuter lots on weekends.

Crystal Lake’s Independence Day parade, fireworks and the Lakeside Legacy Festival are wonderful family events. We are honored that Crystal Lake is also home to many events which draw regional and national attention, including the America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta (memorialized in the Library of Congress,) and the McHenry County Youth Sports Association International Summer Baseball Championships for 15 year olds, which bring visitors to Crystal Lake from all over the world.

The Crystal Lake Public Library circulates more than one million items each year and is a twice-rated top ten library in the United States according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings. The Crystal Lake Park District (a separate governmental body with its own publicly elected Board of Commissioners) continues to actively protect open space while overseeing an outstanding park system, including Main Beach and West Beach along the shores of our namesake lake. Highly rated Crystal Lake School Districts 47 and 155 offer our children exceptional opportunities to learn and grow.

We are a community of neighbors, and even though Crystal Lake has grown over the years, it still retains that “small town charm”, which makes it so welcoming.

We thank and recognize all who have contributed and continue to contribute their time, talent and energy to make Crystal Lake the wonderful community that it is. Great things are happening and will continue to happen due to your efforts.

Mayor Aaron T. Shepley, City Council Members Ellen Brady, Ralph Dawson, Cathy Ferguson, Haig Haleblian, Brett Hopkins, Cameron Hubbard and City Clerk Nick Kachiroubas

We are a team of very dedicated elected public servants who serve on the City Council in addition to our regular employment and we do not keep regular office hours at City Hall. We always welcome your comments and communications.