Wilber Heights proves attractive to businesses
Wilber Heights has proved attractive to businesses because of its lower property taxes and lower traffic congestion. Because Wilber Heights is in an unincorporated area, city property taxes are not assessed.
"It's a convenient location, and we've got our biggest customer right down the street," said Corey Freeman, a bookkeeper with Mike Bushman Trucking, which hauls rock, sand and construction debris.
The company's largest customer is Sport Redi Mix, which rents property back to the trucking company.
Mike Bushman Trucking moved into Wilber Heights in November, across from Sport Redi Mix on Wilber Avenue. In March it moved to its current location in the neighborhood on Paul Avenue.
"We're not right in the middle of town where we have to deal with traffic all the time," Freeman said.
Greg Sizer bought a car repair business in the area a few years ago, expanding a business he owns on Springfield Avenue.
"I bought it because it's a growing location," Sizer said of his spot at 2408 N. Market St. where he owns and operates Send A Friend Auto Care.
"All in all, it's a good neighborhood," Sizer said. "Like any other neighborhood, it has its issues."
Business operators say most of the area's residents have been good neighbors and that businesses and residents inform each other about safety and property issues.
Longtime resident Tena Bean, who lives on Wallace Avenue, agreed.
"Anything that can happen to them can happen to us," Bean said.
"The businesses try to be good neighbors because we live in and around" the residents, said Cindy Eaglen, who owns several properties in Wilber Heights, including Illini Recycle, Gotta Potty portable toilet service and Feathered Friends Avian Rescue and Rehab. (An earlier version of this story included incorrect information about Eaglen's companies.)
But Bayler acknowledged, "It's tough for all the people who live here with the trucks going up and down the roads."
Donna Scott, who has lived on Paul Avenue for 30 years, said traffic can be a problem.
While both businesses and residents keep a watch out for each other, some visitors and business employees drive through at high speed, she said.
Bean said some business employees also speed down Wallace Avenue. She said that with a dozen or more children still living in the area, traffic problems for her are a big concern.
Acton Gordon and Dan Petrella contributed to this report.