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Elk Grove Village Public Works Director, Vito P. Sammarco Retires

Post Date:11/30/2018 4:30 PM

It is with deep respect that Elk Grove Village announces the retirement of long-time Director of Public Works, Vito P. Sammarco on November 30, 2018.  

Vito Sammarco began his 20 years of public service with Elk Grove Village on November 30, 1998 as Assistant Director of Community Revitalization. In March 2007, he was promoted to Deputy Director of Public Works, and on February 1, 2009, Vito Sammarco was promoted to Director of Public Works, where he has served for the past decade.

Prior to his career with the Village, Sammarco earned a Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, where he went on to become a licensed Professional Engineer. Sammarco held several engineer positions in the private sector, started several consulting engineering firms, and helped design the I-355 north/south expressway as a partner with TranSystems Corporation.

In 1994, Sammarco joined the American Public Works Association (APWA). APWA offers numerous educational events, and networking opportunities to explore innovations and learn from other communities. Sammarco maintained this membership throughout his career in Elk Grove Village. Sammarco transitioned into the public sector to assist his adopted hometown of Elk Grove Village in 1998.

During his time with the Village, Sammarco has been instrumental in the implementation of numerous infrastructure projects, many of which won achievement awards and had wide-ranging impacts on the community.

Vito was a crucial piece in the success of the Industrial and Commercial Revitalization Commission (ICRC), which began revitalization efforts in 1996 with the development of a Master Plan for the modernization and beautification of the Business Park. Under his guidance, the ICRC completed nearly $150 million in upgrades to the six-square-mile Business Park, including widening and adding streets, improving intersections, truck intrusion bays, streetlights, landscape treatments, signage, and water and sewer infrastructures. Over 50 improvement projects were completed thanks to the implementation of this program and Mr. Sammarco. 

In 2011, the Elk Grove Village Public Works Department received the American Public Works Association Project of the year Award for undertaking the most aggressive infrastructure rehabilitation project in the Village’s history by performing $22 million in street reconstruction, water main replacement, sewer system rehabilitation, and similar work.

Sammarco oversaw the design and construction of the Busse Woods Trail Pedestrian/Bicycle Overpass over Higgins Road near I-290/IL-53 which was completed in 2013 and was recognized as Transportation Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association. The new overpass replaced a path that crossed six lanes of traffic on a busy roadway with roughly 50,000 motorists per day, providing a safe connection between the north and south sections of the Busse Woods 11.2 mile bike path.

Sammarco was also key in the implementation of the Busse Dam Modification project, which was completed in 2015 following five years of multi-agency collaboration, engineering studies, design and modeling work.  The project originated after several flooding events occurred in 2008, which shut down critical intersections and disrupted access to businesses, schools, churches and homes. The Busse Dam Modification project was designed to help alleviate flooding in Elk Grove Village, as well as the many communities downstream along Salt Creek. 

In addition to these infrastructure projects, Sammarco has led the Public Works Department to be proactive in response to events in the community. In 2007, the community was heavily impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), which attacked a large number of Ash trees in the community. Mr. Sammarco developed a tree nursery program to ensure that the Village would have access to trees available for replanting at a time when trees were in high demand due to the widespread regional impact of the EAB.

Since 2007, over 5,000 trees have been replanted in Elk Grove Village. Through this and other efforts, Mr. Sammarco has continued the prestigious record of 33 consecutive Tree City USA Awards. Additionally, for the past 4 years Elk Grove Village has also received the Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation, which honors communities that are committed to an even higher level of tree care.

In his role as Director of Public Works, Sammarco also directed emergency responses to numerous severe weather events.  In 2011, the Village was hit by a blizzard, also known as the “Groundhog Day” blizzard, with snowfall totaling 21.2 inches. That winter storm went down as the 3rd largest snow storm in Chicago history. A few years later in 2015, another winter storm brought down 19.3 inches of snow on the community. In response to these, and numerous other winter storms over the years, Sammarco utilized excellent crisis management skills in order to effectively remove the snow in an efficient manner.

Let’s not forget the 2017 microburst that blasted the northwest suburbs, which included 75 mph winds, rock-sized hail, downed trees, and standing water affecting Elk Grove Village. The Village lost 80 trees during that storm, which were diligently removed to clear roads for safe passage, and have since been replaced by the efforts of Sammarco and his team.

Sammarco’s impact on the community will continue long after his retirement. In early 2016, the Mayor and Board of Trustees established Elk Grove 2025, which is a long-range capital plan that includes public facility improvements, road improvements, streetscaping, bicycle/pedestrian projects, and drainage projects. All of the projects completed thus far have been overseen by Mr. Sammarco, and he has been a key part of planning for the future of the program. 

Elk Grove 2025 provides major facility improvements for the Village’s Public Works Department—including a major facelift for the Biesterfield Public Works Facility and the construction of a brand new Public Works facility to serve as the department's headquarters, which will replace headquarters at 600 Landmeier Road.

Sammarco directed the major upgrades and improvements to the Biesterfield Public Works Fleet Services facility in 2017.  This project included the addition of a salt barn, an improved building facade, modernization of the operations, and the creation of additional storage space and a small nursery for plants.

The construction of the new Public Works headquarters is nearly complete.  The conception, design and implementation of this project would not have been possible without the vision and initiative of Mr. Sammarco.

Through his time as the Director of Public Works, Vito Sammarco was responsible for:

·  2 time winner of the APWA project of the year award

·  221 street resurfacings or projects, equal to 51.7 miles of streets resurfaced or repaired

·  16.2 billion gallons of water delivered

·  Processed 145 cubic yards of wood chips (Large Branch Collection)

·  Collected 82,351 cubic yards of leaves (Leaf Collection)

·  Spread a total of 35,225 tons of salt to combat snow and ice operations

·  Alleviated rear yard drainage problems for 415 households

·  Rehabilitated 90 paver crosswalks

·  21 rehabilitated railroad spur crossings

·  Modernized 16 gateway signs

“Throughout his time working for the Village, Vito has shown an exceptional dedication and commitment.  His efforts will continue to serve the community long into the future.” said Mayor Johnson, “We offer Vito the best of wishes on a long, healthy, and happy retirement.”

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