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Homewood board denounces trucking center plans

Editor’s note: This is the third story in a series exploring the proposed redevelopment of Calumet Country Club.
The Homewood Board of Trustees have denounced plans for a trucking center development in place of the Calumet Country Club.
During a special meeting July 18, board members and Mayor Rich Hofeld were in agreement that the proposed plans by Arizona-based Diversified Partners CRE would be too intense for the area.
The consensus was that the estimated traffic of 300 trucks per day entering and leaving the facility would not be suitable near a residential area, and whatever development ends up filling the space must include a substantial effort to preserve the environment.
Hofeld said he and Trustee Barbara Dawkins visited a large distribution center in Elwood and a trucking facility and noted factors like pollution, noise and truck traffic.
“They feel they’ve made the concessions by putting a berm along 175th Street, putting trees around the detention area. Boloney,” Hofeld said. “It’s still a heavy industrial development, and all I think about is 300 truck movements a day? No.” 
Dawkins said what struck her about the Elwood site was that it was in the middle of an open, rural area rather than a residential area.
“Not only is it horrific aesthetically, but also the sound, the smell,” she said. “It is not a place that we should be raising our children or we should be living (near), particularly when we have folks living right across the street from this place.” 
The trucking center is proposed for the northwest corner of Dixie Highway and 175th Street in place of the 102-year-old country club, which includes 116 acres in Homewood and 12 acres in Hazel Crest. 
The owners of Calumet Country Club are filing a lawsuit against Homewood with the intent of disconnecting the property from Homewood. Homewood officials believe they would then ask to be annexed into Hazel Crest.
If successful, the developer could appeal to Hazel Crest to support the trucking center. This would then have Homewood no control over any aspects of the development.
“Probably the most onerous of all, and I take offense to this, it started off as what appeared to be a worthwhile development,” Hofeld said.

Dawkins said the board would continue to actively consider every option.

“It really angers me, just as I know it angers you all,” she said.
Trustee Lisa Purcell said she personally would want the country club to remain a golf course, as she comes from a golfing family.
“There’s no way in the world that I would want to see the development happen that they are proposing, anything even close to that,” she said. “You have my word, as well as everybody I’m sure, that we are doing everything we possibly, possibly can to make this not happen. Whatever we can do.”
Trustee Karen Washington said she and others on the board are “completely open” to suggestions from residents on how to fight the lawsuit.
“I’ve been here since 1994 and have no intentions of leaving Homewood; this is home,” she said. “Anything that would harm air quality or possibly reduce home values, possibly produce more crime, I’m totally against it.”
Trustee Lauren Roman urged residents to email the equity owners of Calumet Country Club, LLC, and tell them why they oppose the development. The list of owners can be found on the village website.
“Hopefully, this group of people will eventually realize that as a community, this is not what we want, and they will try to market it to a different developer,” she said.
Trustee Larry Burnson asked residents to conduct research of their own and continue bringing forth suggestions.
“We beat our heads against the wall all the time trying to figure out what we can do to prevent this,” he said. “If you come up with something, give Mr. (Village Manager Jim) Marino a call right away, because man, we would like to stop this in a heartbeat.”

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