In April 2021, the Village of Homewood trustees approved “A Resolution in Support of Intergovernmental Cooperation Between the Village of Hazel Crest and Homewood Regarding the Future Development of Calumet Country Club.”
In May 2021, the Village of Hazel Crest trustees approved “A Resolution Supporting the Concept of Intergovernmental Cooperation with the Village of Homewood in Connection with the Future Development of the Calumet Country Club Property.”
The resolve apparently did not last.
At the end of September, I asked Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry if he had engaged in any discussions with Homewood officials about the future of the country club. He said he talked to Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld occasionally, but he did not say they talked about the redevelopment prospects.
A few weeks ago, I asked Hofeld if he had talked with Alsberry about the country club. He shook his head.
The two mayors are on the same page, to some extent. Both strongly opposed the previous redevelopment plan presented to Homewood by Diversified Partners, which would have converted the green space into a warehousing center that would generate considerable truck traffic.
But each blamed the other for not working together when that plan was coming forward.
Now Catalyst Consulting is planning to propose that Hazel Crest annex the property and approve its version of the redevelopment plan, one that would include a wide range of uses, including hospitality, recreation, retail and agriculture. Those uses, though, would surround a core complex of warehouses, the one use both mayors and both communities have opposed.
Perhaps now is the time to put those resolutions into effect and talk with each other.
THE WEEK ->
Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road, Flossmoor.
- Find the agenda here.
- Attend virtually here using ID 894 0687 0693, passcode 60422 or join by phone 312-626-6799.
- Highlights: The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax levy at the beginning of the meeting. Approval of the levy is also on the agenda. The board will also consider scheduling a public hearing on Feb. 6, 2023, for a new tax increment finance district in the downtown area, the Downtown Redevelopment Plan and Project.
Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the Goldberg Administration Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road, Flossmoor.
- Find the agenda here.
- Highlights: The board will consider the district’s property tax levy and discuss pavilion rental fees.
Homewood Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road, Homewood.
- Find the agenda here.
- Attend virtually here. Meeting ID 991 8481 1606 and passcode 573812.
- Highlight: The board will consider a special use permit for a salon/spa at 18203 Dixie Highway and will continue its public hearing on the comprehensive zoning code revision.
“A Christmas Carol” live at Bookies/The Rock Shop
Local storyteller Greg Weiss will perform Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Bookie’s/The Rock Shop. Weiss has been performing the Christmas classic for years at venues throughout the region.
How would a free car change your life?
The deadline is Friday, Dec. 9, to enter Chevrolet of Homewood’s eighth annual new car giveaway contest. The dealership is accepting short essays that answer the question of what impact a free new car would have on someone in need. Contestants should submit a 200-word or less essay at homewoodchevycares.com. The winning contestant will be notified on Dec. 21. Dealership officials will present the new car to the winner on Dec. 24.
Miracle on Martin
Continue celebrating the holidays with Miracle on Martin, 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. It’s a smaller event than Holiday Lights but with its own charms. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides, a chance to make s’mores around a bonfire, listen to roaming carolers and enjoy I Spy windows in downtown businesses. The event will take place on Martin Square downtown, north of Ridge Road and south of Chestnut Road.
Holiday musical performance with Nanny Nikki
Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave., will host Grammy-nominated artist Nanny Nikki at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. She will bring life to classic holiday children’s songs as well as some original music.
<- THE WEEK
Snowflake hunt is on
Every snowflake allegedly is unique in nature. Not in Homewood. Every decorative snowflake mounted on light poles in the downtown area is the same, except one. Now that the snowflakes are up, Mayor Rich Hofeld is again giving out coupons to anyone who can report where the odd snowflake is located.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, Hofeld said at least a dozen people had stopped in between 9 and 11 a.m. to claim a coupon from Krispy Kreme, Twisted Q or Juanchos Tacos.
Homewood Public Works updates
Public Works Director John Schaefer was at the Meet the Mayor session Saturday, Dec. 3, so I asked him about recent projects.
Street patching is almost done, he said. The work should be completed in the coming week.
The pump repair at Izaak Walton Nature Preserve has been delayed because the contractor had trouble getting some materials, but work is expected to start soon and the project should be done this month. Preserve officials are concerned because without the pump to keep lake levels high enough, fish populations could be at risk as winter sets in.
Schaefer is still working on finding a good solution for improving safety at Gottschalk Avenue and 183rd Street. The village ran a test this summer of making Gottschalk a dead-end at 183rd, and residents on Gottschalk expressed strong support for that move. However, residents on nearby streets opposed the moving, some saying they thought it would increase traffic on their streets.
Schaefer is considering other options, including possibly using curb bump-outs to create a traffic-slowing curve in the street north of 183rd Street. No decision has been made on which option to try next.
The project is part of a larger effort by the village to slow traffic and improve safety along 183rd Street, a major thoroughfare that has become notorious for speeding motorists and traffic accidents.
Flossmoor Public Works Update: Berry Lane
The Berry Lane drainage project in Flossmoor is nearly complete, and workers are about to finish the project’s crowning touch for the village’s first green infrastructure road project: permeable brick pavers. According to the village website, the project is one of the first of its kind in the South Suburbs.
The pavers, which run for several blocks south on Berry Lane from Sunset Avenue, sit atop a new storm sewer system with larger capacity than the flood-prone area had before.
TOD for the environment
The most common reason Homewood officials generally give for the effort to attract transit-oriented developments, which typically are mixed-use commercial/residential buildings, to the downtown area is the economic benefit of increasing population density in proximity to train service. More people downtown will help local businesses flourish.
There might be another advantage to bringing more people together in less space. In a blog post last week, Richard Day makes a case for TOD development in Chicago as significant energy-savers over single family dwellings.
That’s not a new idea, of course, but as the effects of climate change continue to increase in dramatic fashion, it might be an idea worth pursuing more assertively.
Homewood’s new Hartford Building is up and should be completed sometime early next year. The village has three other potential TOD projects in preliminary stages. Flossmoor is interested in attracting a TOD project to land on Flossmoor Road in the block just west of the train station.
It could be these projects will be local contributions to combating the global climate crisis.
Metra holiday train
The Metra holiday train made stops in Homewood and Flossmoor on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The train cars included holiday decorations inside, plus a chance to visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves. There were goody bag handouts and other fun.