|The Greater O'Hare area, comprised of more than two-dozen vibrant municipalities surrounding O'Hare International Airport, is the major force driving the economy of the Northeastern Illinois region, with an educated, diverse workforce, a dynamic mix of business and industry, and a commitment to defining the cutting edge of technology.|
Years of careful planning have created a solid transportation system, plentiful recreational activities, retail centers drawing tourists from the entire Midwest, and a variety of housing choices, from apartments and condominiums to luxury homes.
The area has some of the most business-oriented local governmental officials and state legislators in Illinois. Because of this, an aggressive entrepreneurial spirit pervades the entire region, with government working with the private sector to ensure that the economy continues to expand and diversify.
Clustered around O'Hare International Airport, the region continues to experience significant growth in jobs, personal income, business development, tax base and availability of commercial space. "The area grew up around the airport, and the airport is the economic engine that drives our region," said Laurie Stone, President and CEO of the Greater O'Hare Association of Industry and Commerce. "O'Hare is truly the goose that lays the golden egg." A plane takes off or lands every 60 seconds at O'Hare. At that rate, the economic impact of O'Hare creates a year of local employment every four minutes and generates $100,000 of personal income every nine minutes, most of which is spent locally.
Cultural opportunities are also part of the equation. Live theater, world class shopping, professional sports, a variety of fine restaurants, museums and art galleries are plentiful within the Greater O'Hare region or a short drive or train ride away in Chicago. Public and private elementary schools and high schools are ranked among the top in the state. The area is served by four public two-year community colleges, a four-year college, and branches of three universities. In addition, nearly a dozen additional colleges and universities are within commuting distance.
In short, the Greater O'Hare area offers a wealth of opportunities for business growth and good living and has the right mix of economic diversity and solid planning to ensure those opportunities will continue well into the 21st Century.
The Greater O'Hare region is located in Cook and DuPage Counties, west and northwest of Chicago, in the northeast section of Illinois. It is made up of roughly the first and second rings of suburbs around O'Hare International Airport. Communities touching O'Hare, which is part of Chicago, are Bensenville, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village Franklin Park, Schiller Park and Rosemont. The next ring around the airport includes Addison, Arlington Heights, Elmhurst, Hoffman Estates, Itasca, Lombard, Melrose Park, Mount Prospect, Niles, Norridge, Northlake, Palatine, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, River Grove, Schaumburg, Villa Park and Wooddale. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County and Wheaton is the county seat of DuPage County. Cook and DuPage share a border. Some communities overlap the two counties. The state capitol, Springfield, is about 200 miles south in Downstate Illinois and reachable by train, plane or auto.
Arlington Heights, towards the north of the Greater O'Hare region, is the largest suburb in the Chicago area. Its vibrant downtown offers live theater, upscale condominiums and art cinemas. It is home to the Arlington International Racecourse, a world class racing facility. Schaumburg, at the western edge of the region, is a major retail center, famous for the Woodfield Mall, and boasting more retail establishments than any city in Illinois outside of Chicago.
Elk Grove Village, in the center of the region, has the largest industrial and business parks in the world. Lake Michigan is about 25 miles from the center of the Greater O'Hare region. The Des Plaines River meanders through a picturesque Cook County Forest Preserve at the east end of the region.