Monday, January 24, 2011

Cicero celebrates Commemoration of Rev. Martin Luther King

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Cicero celebrates Commemoration of Rev. Martin Luther King

Officials of the Town of Cicero joined guest speakers who remembered the civil rights achievements of the late Rev. Martin Luther King.

Town President Larry Dominick welcomed several speakers who addressed King’s achievements at a commemoration held at Town Hall’s Community Center on Thursday January 13. King’s birthday is observed on the third Monday of each month.

Speakers also included Secretary of State Jesse White, Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Terrell, former State legislator Frank Aguilar and Kal Lwanga who talked about how King inspired him during his life.

Students from the St. Frances of Rome Elementary School and the 5th Grade class of Our Lady of Charity attended the celebration and several of their students read essays on the importance of King’s work to Americans of all races, color and creed.

Town officials attending the event included Supervisor Joe Virruso, Collector Fran Reitz, Clerk Marylin Colpo, and Trustees Dennis Raleigh, Lorraine Walsh, Maria Punzo-Arias and Victor Garcia.

“Dr. King taught me this is a wonderful world out there and we should not dislike anyone for racial reasons,” White told the audience. “All my life I have been taught to love my fellow man and woman.”

White said he met Rev. King at his college during a fraternity activism evening. He was encouraged to join King and help with the march on Montgomery protesting in support of Rosa Parks who refused to sit in the back of a municipal bus. Her refusal is often cited as the event that helped galvanize the civil rights movement in America.

“When you experience segregation, you know how bad that feels,” White told the audience, noting he was proud to participate in the protests to desegregate Montgomery’s municipal public bus system.

“Dr. King had a lot of dreams and every dream became a reality.”

White also praised President Dominick and the Town of Cicero officials and board, noting, “Under President Dominick, many wonderful things are happening in Cicero thanks to President Dominick.”

Aguilar praised Dominick noting that he launched the King Day commemorations.

“President Dominick believes in the fundamentals that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr strove to achieve. President Dominick and the people of Cicero see this as an important national holiday for all Americans,” Aguilar said.

Dominick said that he recalls growing up in Cicero at a time when race relations were at their worst.

“I grew up in Cicero when it had a bad reputation because of a few and they didn’t want African American people or Hispanics to be here. But Blacks and Hispanics are great people from great cultures. One day this world will not have any racial problems,” Dominick said.

“We all should be proud, proud that we live in Cicero and proud that we welcome everyone to our community.”

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Town of Cicero votes to approve Wirtz Beverage Illinois statewide hub project at former Sportsman’s Park

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Town of Cicero votes to approve Wirtz Beverage Illinois
statewide hub project at former Sportsman’s Park

CICERO, IL/JAN 6 Town President Larry Dominick and the Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a 600,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art distribution center for Wirtz Beverage Illinois at the former Sportsman’s Park. The new center, to be built in 2012, will serve as the wholesaler’s Illinois hub for sales, wine and spirits distribution and training programs.

The new 600,000 sq. ft. warehouse, distribution and office center will consolidate Wirtz Beverage Illinois operations from four existing sites in Elk Grove Village, Bensenville, Schaumburg and Wooddale and house as many as 1,000 existing employees.

The development is the cornerstone of the Town of Cicero’s plans to renovate the abandoned and now razed former Sportsman’s Park racetrack. WBI will purchase half of the property’s 66 acres for $6.5 million and invest $65 million in building the hub and a strip of retail properties to service the employees and local residents.

Speaking on behalf of WBI owner Rocky Wirtz, WBI officials said the company also agreed to fully fund the construction of a regulation-sized out-door hockey stadium at the Cicero Community Park located west of the development across Laramie Avenue.

“Wirtz Beverage Illinois is a subsidiary of the Wirtz Corporation which was founded by my grandfather, Arthur Wirtz, in 1926,”said grandson Arthur Wirtz III. Wirtz, vice president operations for WBI, said that the Wirtz Corporation is involved in banking, insurance, real estate, the Black Hawks professional hockey team and the United Center stadium, and the beverage business managed by WBI in five states including Illinois.

“We’re growing and we have been looking for a while to consolidate our operations, , to build one facility to support our business as we move in to the future. We are very excited to be coming to the Town of Cicero. We are very impressed with the town and its officials and the support we are receiving.”

WBI Senior Vice President Julian Burzynski said the wholesale wine and spirits business generates more than a billion dollars in total revenues each year.

After the unanimous vote of approval by the Town of Cicero Board, Town President Larry Dominick praised Rocky Wirtz and company officials saying they have shown a “clear dedication to the community.”

“I spoke with Rocky Wirtz and like many of the officers of the company we are meeting today, he is caring and committed to his business. He supports  communities where his companies are located. I told him that we will do everything we can to make their stay here welcome,” Dominick said after the board vote.

“We are honored to have Wirtz Beverage Illinois based in our town and we are excited at the many commitments that they have made towards our community, especially building the regulation outdoor hockey stadium. This is one of the greatest things to happen to our town. It will bring enormous benefits to our community and residents.”

Dominick said the remaining 33 acres of Sportsman’s Park will hopefully become home to a big-box retailer.

The Town of Cicero purchased Sportsman’s Park in 2003 for $16 million and converted the racetrack into a horse and auto racing center. But problems with noise, dangers for the horses on the asphalt track and competition with auto racetracks in other Illinois towns forced the operation to close.

In 2008, Cicero purchased and developed the 11 acre Community Festival Park across from Sportsman’s. The park has become very successful and has been home to the town’s full summer festivals and events.

Trustees joined in praising the plan.

“Wirtz Beverage Illinois officials worked directly with the town officials an dtrustees from the beginning. We’re very excited to have this come to Cicero,” said Trustee Dennis Raleigh.

“This is a great day for the Town of Cicero,” said Town Supervisor and Trustee Joe Virruso.

“We are very honored to have you select the Town of Cicero for your future home,” said Trustee Maria Punzo-Arias.

“I think that this addresses the wishes and dreams we wanted to incorporate in to the plan for our residents,” said Town Collector and Trustee Fran Reitz.

About two dozen members of the audience wore red and black Blackhawk’s jerseys during the meeting.  

The $70 million facility will include significant technological advancements, office space, training facilities, and warehouse space.   It would complement the company’s current facilities in Rockford, Peoria and Belleville.  In 2009, WBI distributed wine and spirit products to more than 17,000 on and off premise accounts statewide, totaling $850 million.  Wirtz Beverage recently was named the Illinois distributor for Bacardi USA, which will cause those numbers to climb in the months and years ahead.

Wirtz Beverage Illinois is a member of the Wirtz Corporation family of companies.  Wirtz Corporation has diversified holdings in real estate, insurance, banking, entertainment and sports, including the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.   Wirtz Corporation will maintain its corporate headquarters at 680 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Town of Cicero welcomes Wirtz Beverage Illinois decision to build statewide hub at former Sportsman’s Park

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Contact: Ray Hanania
January 6, 2011                                                                                 rhanania@thetownofcicero.com
                                                                                                           

Town of Cicero welcomes Wirtz Beverage Illinois decision
to build statewide hub at former Sportsman’s Park


CICERO, IL/JAN 6 Town President Larry Dominick and the Board of Trustees are expected to vote Tuesday to approve a 600,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art distribution center at the former Sportsman’s Park that will serve as the wholesaler’s Illinois hub for sales, wine and spirits distribution and training programs.

Despite the challenged economy and real estate industry, Cicero continues to push forward with plans for expansion and job growth. The agreement with Wirtz Beverage Illinois (WBI) would bring up to 1,000 existing jobs into the town.

“At a time when the real estate industry is distressed, Cicero continues to attract development and expansion that benefits our community and the region. I am thrilled to bring this to the Town Board and the people for their approval. It’s a win-win for everyone and step forward in our continuing efforts to strengthen Cicero economically. It reinforces our commitment to our residents to bring in new businesses and to build on our community programming,” said Cicero Town President Larry Dominick.

“Wirtz Beverage Illinois will be relocating a majority of their 1000 current employees to the new Cicero headquarters, and as they continue to grow, so will the economic impact and opportunities for our community.”

A leading distributor of the world’s premium wine and spirits brands, WBI announced the plans will also include training and conference facilities.

WBI Senior Vice President Julian Burzynski thanked the Town of Cicero and President Larry Dominick for their support in working to meet both the needs of the community and the needs of business.

“We looked at a number of sites in the Chicago area in a diverse group of communities and Cicero came out on top for a variety of reasons; ultimately, this site was the best fit in terms of civic leadership, location, accessibility and cost,” Burzynski said.

“We hope to receive the approval of the Town of Cicero and the State of Illinois for this important project and we are grateful for the leadership exhibited by Larry Dominick and his team.”

In addition, Wirtz Beverage Illinois also has proposed construction of a lighted, full-sized outdoor community ice rink - including equipment to maintain and service the facility - and the redevelopment of nearby park property.

“We understand that as a premier wholesaler in the country, we are held to a higher standard.  From our sales, marketing and training programs to our facilities, equipment and infrastructure, we will continue to make the commitments necessary to maintain and enhance our standing in the industry,” explained Rocky Wirtz, President of Wirtz Beverage Group.

The $70 million facility would sit on more than 35 acres and would include significant technological advancements, office space, training facilities, and warehouse space.   It would complement the company’s current facilities in Rockford, Peoria and Belleville.  In 2009, WBI distributed wine and spirit products to more than 17,000 on and off premise accounts statewide, totaling $850 million.  Wirtz Beverage recently was named the Illinois distributor for Bacardi USA, which will cause those numbers to climb in the months and years ahead.

Upon approval by the board, WBI would transition its offices, training facilities and warehouse operations, presently located in Schaumburg, Wood Dale, Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, to the Cicero facility in 2012. 

Wirtz Beverage Illinois is a member of the Wirtz Corporation family of companies.  Wirtz Corporation has diversified holdings in real estate, insurance, banking, entertainment and sports, including the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.   Wirtz Corporation will maintain its corporate headquarters at 680 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.


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