Hidden Meadows Plan, Water Rate Hike, on the Agenda in Park Forest

Hidden Meadows proposed development

The latest plan for the new development at Hidden Meadows. Click here for larger image . (Graphic: VOPF)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Park Forest Village Board has a long night ahead of it Monday. The evening begins at 6:00 p.m. as the Plan Commission and staff members gather to update the board on proposed plans for the development coming to the former Hidden Meadows Golf Course. At 8:00 p.m. the board will convene for a Rules Meeting, which will immediately be followed by a Regular Meeting where action will be taken on several items.

Many board members will attend the 5:00 p.m. kick-off event at Freedom Hall for the 2008 Police Athletics Activities Center, or P.A.A.C.

Hidden Meadows Concept Plan

The formal meetings begin with a presentation of the concept plan for the proposed Hidden Meadows development. According to Vice Chair Doug Price’s cover memo to Mayor Ostenburg and the Board of Trustees, the Concept Plan “includes many design elements that are different from the concept plan that was submitted by the developer in response to the Village’s initial request for proposals.”

The plan includes more commercial area than original plans called for, according to Price “a 3.68 acre parcel that includes a mixed use – retail and rental apartments – development. The Plan Commission is unanimously supportive of the increased size of this parcel. It is important for the Village to be prepared for the additional traffic that is likely to be generated on Stuenkel Road when the interchange at I57 is constructed. This commercial corner will also be important to serve the needs of the residents in this neighborhood.”

The new plan also provides the new neighborhood with more access to the Forest Preserve.

Proposed Water Rate Increase

During the Rules Meeting, the board will consider an ordinance to amend water rates.  In this case, “amend” means “raise.”

Village Manager Tom Mick cited several of the water infrastructure challenges Park Forest has faced and measures the board has already taken to address them:

Over the past several years, the Village has taken steps to address the many infrastructure needs facing the community. As these needs pertain to water infrastructure, the Village’s efforts include the following:

  • Constructed a new water plant designed to meet the needs of the community for decades to come. This new facility, which went into service in mid-2007, replaced an antiquated plant that had been constructed in the 1950’s.
  • Upon identifying less than desirable fire flow levels at certain locations in the community, an extensive water main replacement project unfolded to improve fire flows. These areas included the southeast corner of the community in and around Autumn Ridge Apartments and Forest Brook Townhomes, Juniper Street, Park Street at Westwood Drive; and Rich/Green Streets.
  • To aid the fire flow and water pressure issue, the Village began construction of a new water tower on the southeast side of the community that is currently under construction and is expected to be in service by this Fall.

While staff continues efforts to seek out grants and other outside source of funding to help support these infrastructure upgrades, the Village Board noted the need for a major infrastructure project and approve an infrastructure maintenance fee in April. This fee will fund a $3,000,000 construction project scheduled for fiscal year 2008/2009. This project will replace approximately 11,500 feet (2.18 miles) of water main.

According to Mick, the primary reason for the rate increase is the increased cost of operating the water plant:

These increasing costs related to the added cost for transportation and processing of the chemicals to operate the plant. Costs have increased 54% to $540,000, from the prior year. When preparing the 2008/2009 budget these anticipated cost increases resulted in a $141,206 loss in the Water Fund.

The proposed  rates are based on the anticipated 4% annual increase in operating costs.  Currently, residents pay $8.00 per 1,000 gallons of water.

Proposed Charge per 1,000 gallons Added Cost to Bill (Average) Additional Revenue Generated
7/1/08 8.32 $3.70 $168,700
7/1/09 8.65 3.81 173,975
7/1/10 9.00 4.05 184,519
7/1/11 9.36 4.16 189,791
7/1/12 9.73 4.28 195,063

Happy Trails to Judy Sopiarz

After a lengthy career of dedicated service to the Village of Park Forest, Nursing Supervisor Judy Sopiarz is retiring. The board will honor Sopiarz with a resolution recognizing and thanking her for her dedication through the years. The resolution follows:

A Resolution Recognizing And Thanking Judy Sopiarz For Her Dedication In Serving The Residents Of Park Forest

  • WHEREAS, Judy Sopiarz is a Registered Professional Nurse with a 1967 Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from St. Xavier University; and
  • WHEREAS, Judy Sopiarz has worked as a professional for more than 40 years at Carl Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Applewood Skilled Care Facility, the St. Francis Mother House, Osteopathic Hospital and Clinics and finally Nurses Plus, the Park Forest Health Department; and
  • WHEREAS, during her tenure as a Public Health Nurse, Nursing Coordinator and, finally, Nursing Supervisor for the Village’s Health Department, she has prevented illness, saved lives and eased the pain of many hundreds of Park Forest residents; and
  • WHEREAS, Judy’s professionalism, work ethic, work performance, and collegiality with residents and co-workers from all Village Departments has been a source of inspiration and a role model for newer professionals and stands as an example of grace under pressure and dignity in times of personal stress; and
  • WHEREAS, Judy has contributed many volunteer hours in the Village with the youth soccer program, the Park Forest Nurses Club and other community organizations during her 39 years as a resident of the Village of Park Forest; and
  • WHEREAS, Judy and her husband Rich have raised four children to productive maturity, have nine grandchildren, three angels, a red hat, a red suitcase and a hot passport; and
  • WHEREAS, she now wants to play with babies, have fun with friends and travel.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Park Forest, Cook and Will Counties, Illinois, that gratitude and appreciation be extended to Judy Sopiarz, RN, not only for her exemplary service as an employee of the Village of Park Forest Health Department but as an actively engaged resident volunteer. Her activity helped build a healthy community and many Park Foresters are better for her having been involved in their care. We wish her a happy and healthy retirement full of all the adventures she wants to pursue. We wish her happy trails.

The author is a Trustee in the Village of Park Forest