After almost six years as Johnstown's village manager, Sarah Phillips leaves behind a community poised for economic development, downtown revitalization and major roadway improvements.

After almost six years as Johnstown's village manager, Sarah Phillips leaves behind a community poised for economic development, downtown revitalization and major roadway improvements.

Phillips will leave her official duties as village manager on Dec. 12 to become the city manager of Rolling Meadows, Ill., a community of about 25,000 people.

During her time in Johnstown, Phillips views the retention and expansion of Atrium Manufacturing as one of many highlights.

During the summer of 2005, the village began discussions with Atrium regarding its need to expand and possibly leave Johnstown. Through a series of meetings, Phillips led an effort that resulted in Atrium purchasing 150 acres adjacent to the current Industrial Park.

The village committed to extending the roadway and utilities in exchange for Atrium's construction of a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with the possible expansion to 300,000 square feet.

In addition, Atrium committed to hiring additional full- and part-time employees over the course of the next seven years.

Atrium's owners credited Phillips for keeping the business in Johnstown and named the new roadway "Phillips Avenue" in her honor.

"That will be something that I will remember for a lifetime," Phillips told The Independent.

During her tenure in Johnstown, the municipal building also received a 3,500-square-foot addition, allowing for the construction of the council chambers. The addition provided meeting space for the village council, school board and mayor's court and it's frequently rented by non-profit organizations.

It was renamed the Robert Burrell Municipal Building after his death in April 2007.

Phillips also helped secure funding for the Wastewater Treatment Plant renovation in 2004.

A "Toilet Paper Tearing" Ceremony was held on June 21, 2006, to open the new plant, which provides the village the opportunity to grow for the next 20 years with modifications to the existing plant.

Under Phillips' leadership, Downtown Johnstown, Inc., was formed to continue the downtown renovation project.

In September 2005, the village completed the Downtown Revitalization plan and began pursuing designation as a Main Street Community.

Monthly board meetings have been held and the board has begun the process of renovating the cupola of the old town hall building. (See related story, page 3.)

In December 2006, a revised Comprehensive Plan of the Johnstown area was also completed.

With the onset of residential and commercial growth in the early 2000s, the village began the process of updating its comprehensive plan. A committee of residents, school board representatives, township representatives, real estate developers and government officials began this lengthy process, conducting several public hearings and finally submitting a plan to council for adoption.

"The plan represents the development process for the Johnstown area for the next 15 to 20 years," Phillips said.

Various other developments that have occurred in the last five years include construction of the Babcock Library, the new Kroger complex currently under construction and a new CVS set to start construction in the spring; and installation of the traffic light at Duncan Plains and U.S. Route 62.

Council also recently completed the annexation of another 120 acres into the industrial park for future economic development.

Also, in the last five years, new standards were set for residential developments that contribute to the school system.

Most recently, the village was awarded a $1.2-million Safety Grant that will enhance the traffic signals at U.S. Route 62 and state Route 37/Main Street. The renovation will include the construction of turn lanes with dedicated lights and new mast arm signal heads.