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Sauk Village, Illinois
Known as Strassburg from 1839-1957
Village
Sauk Trail looking east.jpg
Official name: Village of Sauk Village
Motto: Pride and Progress
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties Cook, Will
Coordinates
Area 3.87 sq mi (10 km²)
 - land 3.84 sq mi (10 km²)
 - water 0.04 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 10,506 (2010)
Density 2,735.9 /sq mi (1,056 /km²)
Founded 1842 (Incorporated on March 12, 1957)
Government Mayor (Village President) and Village Board of Trustees
Mayor/Village President David A. Hanks (2012-2017)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 60411
Area code 708
Location in Cook County and the state of Illinois.
Location in Cook County and the state of Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Wikimedia Commons: Sauk Village, Illinois
Website: www.saukvillage.org

Sauk Village is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States, with a small portion in Will County. The population was 10,506 at the 2010 census.

Geography

Sauk Village is located at (41.488535, -87.565658).

According to the 2010 census, Sauk Village has a total area of 3.878 square miles (10.04 km2), of which 3.84 square miles (9.95 km2) (or 99.02%) is land and 0.038 square miles (0.10 km2) (or 0.98%) is water.

The village stands on the Tinley Moraine. The Glenwood Shoreline cuts through the village.

Neighboring towns include the Illinois communities of Lynwood to the northeast, Ford Heights to the north, Chicago Heights to the northwest, South Chicago Heights to the west, Steger to the southwest, and Crete to the south. The town of Dyer, Indiana, is the nearest community to the east.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 4,687
1970 7,479 59.6%
1980 10,906 45.8%
1990 9,926 −9.0%
2000 10,411 4.9%
2010 10,506 0.9%
Est. 2015 10,493 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 10,506 people (10,559 based on census data July, 2012), 3,685 households, 2,525 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,737.2 people per square mile (1,057.8/km²). There were 3,685 housing units, 3,226 occupied, at an average density of 924.1 per square mile (357.1/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 28.80% White, 62.79% African American, 1.00% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 5.90% from other races. Additionally, Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.10% of the population.

There were 3,226 households out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 29.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.7% were non-families. 17.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.24 and the average family size was 3.66.

In the village, the population was spread out with 34.5% under the age of 18, 57.5% from 18 to 64, and 8.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.9 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $53,058, and the median income for a family was $53,474. The per capita income for the village was $17,721. About 16.3% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.0% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.

History

The area that is now known as Sauk Village has been a center of activity for hundreds of years. Originally, several Native American tribes inhabited this land, which is a part of an area of high ground surrounding Lake Michigan known as the Valparaiso Moraine. The Native Americans used this high ground for transporting herd animals and trade items. Though the Potawatomi and Illinois Confederation tribes were native to the area, the Sauk people, from Michigan, became the namesake of the Sauk Trail. As the westward expansion increased during the 19th century, the Sauk tribes were forced to move westward. Annually, they would travel the Sauk Trail to collect treaty money from Canada and the United States.

This area was originally opened to American settlers in 1838. Frederick Richards and Vincint Sauter came to Bloom in 1839, and settled at New Strasburg (soon to be Sauk Village). Christian Millar, the first blacksmith, and H. Beekley, the first house carpenter, located here in 1842. Though the original settlers of Sauk Village moved here from the East Coast, their roots were in Western Europe, especially France and Germany. The first immigrants to the area were Hiram Wood, Henry Ayen, and Rowley. After these original settlers, a second wave of families moved to the Sauk Village area, including such familiar names such as Parrino, Gatto, Kavelage, Reichert, Sauter, Rickenberger, Kloss, Barnes, Jung, Schaller, Schmidt, Kline, and Peters. Postmaster Charles Sauter named the settlement Strassburg, after Strasbourg, France, home of many of the original settlers. Back when the area was originally being settled by Americans, land sold for $1.25 an acre.

In 1847, St. Jakob's Church was built. Father Francis Fischer was the first priest of the church, which had twenty parishioners. In 1871, the original church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The church was promptly rebuilt, only to be struck again in 1873. After this second lightning strike, the church was moved to what became the corner of Sauk Trail and the Calumet Expressway, where it would stand until its razing in 2004. The name of the church was changed from the German St. Jakob to St. James in 1917 as a result of anti-German attitudes due to World War I. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, St. James Church experienced a shortage in revenues. Area residents helped by hand-digging the basement of the church in order to create a hall that could be rented out. On November 11, 1940, a tornado touched down in the area, causing extensive damage to the roof of St. James Church. Area residents may have known the Old St. James Church as the Old Community Center. The graveyard directly behind where the Old St. James Church stood is the St. James Cemetery at Strassburg. It is the final resting place for many of Sauk Village's original settlers. While the church was being readied for demolition in 2004, former Trustee Richard Derosier, while cleaning the attic of the old church, stumbled over an old relic cross that once hung in the old St. James Church. The old relic cross now hangs at the entry to St. James Church some 150 years later. The original bell, cast in the 19th century, stands outside St. James Church today as a testament to the history and sacrifices of so many families of Sauk Village.

When the Calumet Expressway was built in the late 1950s, the Strassburg area was seen as a prime real estate development. The AMBO I Construction firm moved into the area in 1956, building homes in what is now known as the Garden Section, near the Calumet Expressway and just south of Sauk Trail. The community was incorporated on March 12, 1957, as Sauk Village, since there was a town in southern Illinois that already had the name Strasburg. Thomas J. Nichols served as Sauk Village's first president.

Since its incorporation in 1957, Sauk Village has undergone considerable change and expansion. By 1961, a special census showed that Sauk Village had 1,258 homes and 5,774 residents. Strassburg and Cynthia Street (now known as Wagoner) Schools were built during this time to accommodate the needs of residents' children. Though construction came to a virtual halt during the mid-1960s, by the early 1970s development was beginning again. In 1970, Rickover Junior High School opened its doors, and additions were made to the existing schools. Throughout the 1970s, developments such as the Amber Manor Apartments (now known as the Crossroads), Surreybrook Plaza, and St. James Estates were booming. Under the direction of Mayor Theisen and the Village Board, the Village Hall and Police Station moved out of a renovated residential duplex to the now Old Village Hall in 1977 on Torrence Avenue. The building at the time would cost about $250,000, considerably less than the $5 million the new Village Hall would cost in 2008.

The area continued to expand through the early 1980s with the addition of more homes to the St. James Estates area and new subdivisions such as the Carlisle Estates and Southbrook. The Community Center behind the old Village Hall first opened its doors in 1982, coinciding with the village's 25th anniversary. In the late 1980s, construction began on the Sauk Pointe Industrial Park on Sauk Trail west of the Calumet Expressway. Pacesetter Steel became the first company to move into the park in 1988. During the same year, Sauk Plaza underwent a 1.1 million dollar renovation project, which brought several new businesses into the community.

The 1990s promised to be yet another decade of expansion for Sauk Village. In 1990, Carolina Freight opened for business, bringing numerous jobs to the area. Building began in 1993 on the Carolina Subdivision, south of Sauk Trail and east of the Calumet Expressway. This subdivision would be the first residential development in nearly a decade. The 1990 census showed Sauk Village as having a population of 9,704. The 2000 census data showed the population at about 10,411.

2005 saw an investigation into the finances of School District 168 and what was described by the Cook County State's Attorney as the "worst case of financial fraud by a public official." Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ryan, School Board President Louise Morales, and Building and Grounds supervisor Edward Bernacki were all charged with felonies for stealing funds from the school district. Ryan was the only one who was sentenced to a prison term of 8 years. Ryan was released in 2008 after serving more than two years and repaying some $400,000 in restitution to District 168.

In 2007, bold plans were being made for the construction of a new Village Hall and Senior Citizen Center. Groundbreaking began in August 2007 on the new Sauk Village Municipal Center and Senior Citizen Center. The groundbreaking coincided with the village's 50th anniversary celebrations. On November 1, 2008, the new Village Hall was dedicated at a ceremony attended by Mayor Roger Peckham and the Board of Trustees, by former mayors Paesel and Collins, former village trustees Joseph Wiszowaty, Mary Seery, V. Zeke Luther, Rita Kueny, Patricia Hasse, former village clerks Marjorie Tuley and Elizabeth Selvey, and several other local mayors and many other distinguished guests. The New Municipal Center is an open concept contemporary design occupying about 18,500 square feet (1,720 m2) and costing $5 million. Construction took 14 months and was to be paid for not with property tax dollars but from impact fees resulting from the influx of industrial development in the village's Logisticenter, according to Village Manager Dieterich. Because of the national economic downturn by 2012, impact fees generated were not adequate to cover the debt service on the Revenue Bonds issued in 2007 to build the Municipal Center. The Village was forced to levy property taxes to cover the bond payments in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The old Village Hall was taken over by the Police Department.

Water testing began detecting concentrations of vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen, in the communities well water in 2009. The Village took one of the three wells it has off line as concentration levels continued to rise. With the Village stuck in political grid lock and a legal battle with the State of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, by 2012 the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stepped in and forced the Village to provide bottled water to the residents until a temporary air strippers were installed to remove the vinyl choloride from the well water. By August, 2012 the State of Illinois installed temporary air strippers and the village discontinued providing bottled water. Permanent Air Strippers were on the drawing board in 2012 and construction finally became a reality as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency approved a low-interest loan of $4.8 million for the village. Construction on the permanent air strippers got under way by spring of 2014 and is expected to be complete by fall, 2014.

On March 12, 2012, voters went to the polls and approved a referendum to abandon the Village's well water in favor of Lake Michigan Water. To date there has been no plan or timeline provided as to when the Village will transition to Lake Michigan water as "Permanent" air strippers are scheduled to be installed in Fall, 2014. In 2013, as part of the "water improvement plan" upgrades to the Iron Removal System installed in 1988 are to be completed.

McConathy Public Library

A group of avid readers began a volunteer library which was housed in the basement of Katz Corner School, once located on Burnham Avenue. In June 1973, a referendum was passed and the Sauk Village Library District was formed in 1974. Jack Hurwitz was the first library director. He was assisted by Mary Frances Pena, who later would become head librarian.

The library outgrew the basement at Katz Corner School and moved to a single-story house at 1909 Sauk Trail, and Linda Gapsewitz became the new director. In 1984, the library moved to a storefront in Surreybrook Plaza. In 1986, the Sauk Village Library District Board of Trustees changed the district's name to the Nancy L. McConathy Public Library District, to honor library district trustee and Village Clerk Nancy L. McConathy, who had died suddenly.

In 2006, under the direction of the Library Board and Library Director Nanette Wargo, the library finally realized the vision of all of those volunteers and moved into their very own library building. The building was originally envisioned for land once owned on 223rd Street near Torrence Avenue, but was built at 21737 Jeffery Avenue. The building was designed by ARC Architects of Frankfort, Illinois.

Development and growth

The largest growth of the village came in the early 1990s when the village annexed nearly 1 square mile (2.6 km2) as a result of a major land grab with neighbors Steger and Ford Heights. The size of the annexation was only rivaled by the growth in the early 1960s when the village just began and housing growth was at an all-time high. The largest parcel annexed came in 1991 when 500 acres (2.0 km2) at the northwest corner of Sauk Trail and the Calumet Expressway was finally added to the village. The 500-acre (2.0 km2) parcel was previously proposed for the GM-Saturn plant by Mayor Paesel and the new Chicago Bears Stadium by Trustee Wiszowaty.

Development would finally take off in 2004 when Sauk Village marketed the property to national developers and selected DP Partners out of Reno, Nevada. In November 2004 the company entered into a development agreement with the village. In January 2005, DP Partners closed on the first 100 acres (0.40 km2) and began development two months later. In its master plan, the company plans to spend $150 million to develop 5,000,000 square feet (460,000 m2) of warehouse and manufacturing space. LogistiCenter Business Park currently occupies 325 acres (1.32 km2) and has a 496,260-square-foot (46,104 m2) distribution facility (expandable up to 1.2 million square feet).

Winpak announced they were locating a portion packaging facility in Sauk Village, after purchasing 28.9 acres of land within the LogistiCenter development in 2011, a Class A business park. The 2011, buildout was for 267,000 sqft and in 2016 Winpak completed their planned expansion to a total of 615,000 sqft. Through incentives by the State of Illinois, Cook County and Commonwealth Edison, Winpak was able to remain in Sauk Village.


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