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The Weeks | March 26: Walmart responds, egg hunt schedule, tunnel art saved


Flossmoor School District 161 Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 27, in Normandy Villa, 41 E. Elmwood Drive in Chicago Heights.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider offering a contract to Carol Humm to serve as Heather Hill School’s new principal. Also on the agenda is a measure to implement a tuition recovery program for cases of residency fraud. 

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, in the board room at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend the meeting virtually here. Use ID  848 9937 1322 and passcode 60422 or call 312-626-6799.
  • Highlights: The board will consider approving the appointment of Jerel Jones as Flossmoor’s police chief. 

Homewood Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend the meeting virtually here. Use ID  980 4907 6232 and passcode 830183 or call 312-626-6799.
  • Highlights: The board will consider a measure to recommend Cook County suspend the class 8 property tax reduction Walmart received in 2015 prior to opening its store in Homewood. The store was closed March 10. 

Homewood Appearance Plan Workshop will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Brief survey to fill out prior to the meeting.
  • Highlight: The village is updating the Appearance Plan, a document that guides the look of new developments and alterations to existing properties, and residents are invited to help shape the revised plan. For more information contact Village Planner Valerie Berstene at [email protected].

Improv Jam
Hosted by South of Chi Productions and The Drama Group from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at 330 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Free. No experience necessary. 

H-F Park District activities

  • Woodland Egg Hunt from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center, 20000 Western Ave., Olympia Fields. For children from 3 to 10. A non-paying adult must accompany the child. Fee is $10 for residents, $12 for non-residents.
  • Flashlight Egg Hunt from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center, 20000 Western Ave., Olympia Fields. Grab your flashlight and basket and head for the woods. Two hunts, one at 7:30 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m. For children from 3 to 10.  A non-paying adult must accompany children. Fee is $10 for residents, $12 for non-residents.
  • Lucy Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at Irwin Park, 18200 block of Ridge Road, Homewood. For children 10 and younger. H-F residents only. Free. The bunny will be on hand for photos with kids.
  • Adult Flashlight Egg Hunt from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 14, at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center, 20000 Western Ave., Olympia Fields. For adults 21 and older. Fee is $30 per person. An evening of games and adventure. Eggs hidden along the trails will be filled with prizes. Bring a flashlight and a basket. 
Kids race for eggs during the H-F Park District’s 2019 Lucky Egg Hunt. The event this year will be on
Saturday, April 1, in Irwin Park. (Chronicle file photo)


Walmart response
Last week, rumors were swirling online about the fate of the now-vacant Walmart store at 17550 Halsted St. The property is owned by Agree Realty, and Walmart has 12 years left on its lease.

In response to the Chronicle’s inquiry about future plans, a Walmart representative responded by email with a brief statement.

“Walmart is actively working with the landlord and providing assistance with the search for a tenant.”
While that still leaves a lot of uncertainty unresolved, it’s encouraging to know Walmart is open to finding a new tenant. Homewood has experience with large buildings left vacant for years, and neither the village officials nor residents want to see that.

Train station tunnel art saved
The Homewood train station tunnel was decorated with the works of local artists, some pieces painted directly on the walls and some mounted on the walls in metal frames. The eight framed art works were removed before renovation work begins. Village officials asked Metra to convey the pieces to the Homewood Historical Society. HHS officials are exploring options for storing the art until a permanent place for display can be found.

Art works are stacked in the Harwood Avenue train station entrance building in mid-March. The art was on display for years in the train station tunnel. The pieces will be given to the Homewood Historical Society, according to village officials. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Flossmoor advances in Strongest Town competition
Flossmoor prevailed over South Bend, Indiana, in the first round of voting for the Strongest Town Contest. On Monday, March 27, the program will post the matchups for the eight communities still standing.

The contest is intended to shine a light on communities that use the Strong Towns approach, which emphasizes small, bottom-up investments in the development of resilience.

In the next stage of the March Madness-style tournament, communities will share five photos that “explain how the images demonstrate their community’s strength and resilience,” according to organizers.

Voting is now open for the second round.


The Flossmoor Community Relations Commission presented some very useful ideas for moving the village forward in its efforts to improve communication and collaboration between residents and local government.

I want to applaud the three suggestions that seem designed to most directly address race issues: the creation of a diversity, equity and inclusion council, village-sponsored diversity dinners and the resurrection of the One Book/One Flossmoor reading program.

Race was an issue that was raised during the October 2022 community forum the village hosted to help improve communication and promote healing following the police shooting of Madeline Miller in July 2022. One breakout group report included the observation that racial tension in the village is submerged, present but unseen, until an incident brings it to the fore.

The leaders of Homewood and Flossmoor present the villages as places of almost idyllic racial harmony — and with considerable justification. But both villages are part of America, where racism in various forms is pervasive, so it is not wise to pretend we’re immune.

I read three books during the One Book/One Flossmoor program’s run a few years ago, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” by David Grann and “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person,” by Shonda Rhimes. 

I learned a lot from each, but the first two were especially useful for the study of racism in our society. Reading more books like those together would help us all have better understanding of the context in which our community exists.

I assume I’m not alone in receiving an education that did not not thoroughly explore the aspects of our history that were less than glowing and heroic. Learning our history and how it influences our present is a never ending but very satisfying and disturbing task. I hope the community reading program returns. It will help everyone who participates.

The commission’s report did not really address police accountability, which was the top priority for protesters who have demanded justice since Madeline Miller’s death. Perhaps that issue is one that police officials and residents can address as part of richer, more intentional conversation that could result from the CRC’s recommendations.

Good government: In the Zone
A big thanks to Homewood staff for the series of social media and web posts called In the Zone.

I followed the zoning code revision process, which took 18 months, numerous code iterations, many meetings and some very meticulous examinations of changes and the various consequences they might have.

It was a lot.

Few of us are going to go read through the new code (unless we have insomnia), but it contains information we need to know. Zoning helps shape how property is used in the village, so it influences how the village works for us all. In the Zone is performing a great public service by breaking down the dense matter of the code into accessible, bite-sized chunks.

Topics so far have included basic descriptions of three residential zones and regulations on accessory dwelling units, parking pads and corner lot fences.

Good government: Flossmoor committee membership
Flossmoor has eight committees or commissions of resident volunteers who help advise the Board of Trustees on various matters. I complained a while back that it was hard to find information about who belonged to those groups. 

I noticed recently that Flossmoor has listed the members of the Community Relations Commission, the Green Commission and the Public Art Commission. These are people with expertise in their areas who volunteer their time to help make the village a better place for all. They also represent sources for village residents to learn more about the challenges the village faces and to have input into solutions. 

It helps to know who to talk to. Thank you, Flossmoor.

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