Managing Park Forest Week of December 28, 2009

Mary Wilson and Mayor John Ostenburg

Mayor John Ostenburg (right) presents Mary Wilson with a proclamation recognizing her 24½ years of service to the Village of Park Forest. Mary recently retired. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– December 28, 2009.

Village Management

Village Board Meeting

The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for Monday, January 4 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend. Village Board meetings air live on cable access channels (Channel 4 for Comcast subscribers and Channel 99 for AT&T subscribers) as well as on the Village web site at www.villageofparkforest.com.

To view previously held Board Meetings, visit the Village’s web site at: http://www.villageofparkforest.com and click on the date of the meeting you wish to watch.

Village Hall Closed

Village Hall will be closed on Friday, January 1 in observance of the New Years holiday.

Commonwealth Edison Presentation

Representatives from Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) made a presentation at the December 14 Meeting of the Village Board of Trustees. The presentation included details on efforts in 2009 by ComEd to upgrade and enhance the reliability of the electrical system serving Park Forest. In summary, the utility company replaced two H-frames in Park Forest and replaced approximately 3,700 linear feet of underground cable. Additionally, ComEd installed 500 linear feet of new overhead electrical wire and 920 linear feet of new underground electrical cable. At the conclusion of the presentation, Mayor Ostenburg and the Trustees lauded ComEd’s continued efforts in addressing electrical service reliability issues in Park Forest. These extensive efforts have been ongoing since 2003 and the resulting benefits have been noticeable by the citizens of Park Forest.

Legacy Square Resident Meeting

This past week, the Village coordinated a meeting with residents of the Legacy Square subdivision regarding property taxes. Mayor John Ostenburg and Sam Brown from the Cook County Board of Review facilitated the meeting, which aimed at educating attendees on the process associated with tax assessments and tax appeals in addition to answering any questions which were posed. Mayor Ostenburg also shared insights on the Village’s portion of a Park Forest property tax bill and how the dollars forwarded to the Village are allocated as related to municipally-provided services.

The Village of Park Forest coordinates meetings such as the one this past week as an extension of its ongoing Neighborhood Meetings Program. This program began in 2004 and entails the Village Board and Staff meeting with various neighborhoods of the community in an effort to share information and understand any areas of concern addressed by the residents.

Park Forest Community Development

Building

This week, 166 inspections were performed. These included new construction, re-occupancy, inspector initiated and referral/complaint.

In new construction/building permit activity in the first 15 days of December, 13 permits have been recorded. Over the past 5 years, the month of December has averaged 24 permits being issued. At our current pace, 27 building permits could be issued this month. In December 2008, a total of 20 building permits were recorded.

In Civil Court action on property tax maintenance code enforcement matters, 80/90 North Street was up for a status hearing.

Park Forest Economic Development

DownTown Mural

The design for the next DownTown mural has been finalized. This mural will feature the activities that occur in the DownTown, including the Farmers Market, Main Street Nights, the Tall Grass Art Fair, the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, and the Scenic 5 and More. The Village will conduct a silent auction to offer the opportunity to model for the 35 figures in the mural to anyone who is interested. Proceeds from the auction will help to defray the costs of this mural and to establish a Park Forest public art fund. So, if you want to memorialize yourself or someone else in the mural and help fund future public art projects, consider bidding for this opportunity. The silent auction is expected to be open from February 1 to February 20. Watch for more information in early January.

New Resident Reception

The next New Resident Reception will be at the Illinois Theatre Center on Saturday, January 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The reception will include a comedy show which will include BET Jay Deep along-side other local comedians. The children will be able to attend a class of crafting provided by Etel Billig. The reception is open to all Park Forest civic organizations who would like to exhibit. Call Evelyn Sterling at 708-283-5621 or e-mail [email protected] to reserve a table.

Park Forest Public Works

Sewer Work

Sunset Sewer and Water continues to work on the 54” culvert on Forest Boulevard. Weather conditions have limited work progress.

Canadian National (CN)

Staff is reviewing Canadian National’s Phase II plans for the commuter parking lot. CN expects work to begin on this stage in early 2010.

Thorn Creek Bridge

Staff is working on placing a weight limit sign for vehicles crossing the Village’s Thorn Creek Bridge. This load restriction posting is required by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Fire Hydrant Replacement

Staff is preparing a fire hydrant replacement proposal. This contract is expected to go out to bid in January.

Field Operations

A watermain break was repaired at 320 South Orchard. Sanitary sewers were cleaned and street lights relamped/repaired Village-wide. Streets were salted in response to freezing rain, sleet and snow events. A hydrant was repaired at 428 North Orchard.

Water Plant

Applications have been received and the review process begun for the Water Plant Operator position. The first round of testing was December 15. The position will need to be filled due to a planned April retirement.

Recreation and Parks

Parks

On December 16, the regular meeting of the Old Plank Road Trail Management Commission was held in Park Forest and members heard about the Railfan Park planned for near the Matteson Commuter lot next to the trail. The new park feature at the train station is expected to become and important destination on the Old Plank Road Trail.

The Department submitted an EPA Environmental Education Grant Application on December 14 which would provide funding to help furnish the new environmental classroom at the Aqua Center and include educational programs, displays and school partnerships. Discussions have already taken place with the consultant that helped develop the interpretive signs at the Central Park Wetlands. The requested amount is $63,000 which requires a 25% match from the Village, all in in-kind services.

Aqua Center

Great progress is being made in the west end of the bathhouse and work is underway on plumbing and walls in the east end. The plumbing contractor began installation of the solar hot water heating system on December 15. The roofing contractor began installing the skylights. The electrical contractor continues to run conduit and install light fixtures. Installation of the vinyl tile floor in the classroom is scheduled to being next week.

Those on Facebook (www.Facebook.com) can search for the “Park Forest Aqua Center” page in the upper right corner and follow a photographic record of the project.

Sources: Village of Park Forest Weekly Manager’s Report and Village of Park Forest website.