A vehicle in the southbound lane of Dixie Highway makes waves as it moves through the flooded viaduct Wednesday, July 5. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Free, Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | July 9: Questions about the viaduct, BBQ for the Troops, three concerts, meetings

THE WEEK >

Meetings

Homewood School District 153 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, July 10, in the cafeteria of James Hart School, 18220 Morgan St.

Flossmoor Public Art Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, July 10, in the committee room at village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here. ID 980 4907 6232, passcode 830183.
  • Write to the board by sending email to [email protected] or by placing written comments in the drop box outside village hall. Comments submitted before 4 p.m. on the meeting date will be distributed to all village board members prior to the meeting.
  • Highlights: Trustees will consider authorizing the purchase of two vehicles, disposal of surplus property and an updated agreement with  South Suburban Emergency Response Team. David Nelson will take the oath of office for the position of police officer.

Flossmoor Public Library Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, in the library at 1000 Sterling Ave.

  • When it is available, find the agenda here.

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, has been canceled. The board will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, July 18, at 7 p.m. in the Goldberg Administrative Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road.

Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, in the superintendent’s conference room. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlight: The board will consider approving a $29.8 million bid for building a science wing and making renovations to benefit the culinary arts program.

Stuff to do

Connect with U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly
Congresswoman Robin Kelly will hold her next telephone town hall at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11.  She plans to share updates on her work in Congress and will answer constituents’ questions. Sign up at robinkelly.house.gov/live. Constituents can also contact with her at robinkelly.house.gov/ or through Facebook and Twitter.

Property tax workshop Tuesday
The Cook County Assessor’s Office will hold a workshop from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11, 1020 Dixie Highway in Chicago Heights to help Bloom Township residents understand property tax issues. Property owners are given an opportunity to appeal their assessment if the property characteristics listed on an assessment notice are incorrect, or if the estimated market value of a property is significantly more than what it could sell for in the current real estate market. Tax appeals will be accepted until Wednesday, July 26. Information is at www.cookcountyassessor.com/event-list.

Wagner Welcome open house
Members of the Foundation for the Preservation of Flossmoor History will be on hand from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, at the foundations home, the Wagner Building at 2709 Flossmoor Road. Get a tour of the building and learn about plans for developing it into a site for telling Flossmoor’s story.

IPO summer concert July 12
Members of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra will perform two concerts at Olympia Fields Country Club on Wednesday, July 12, one at 6:15 p.m. and again at 7:45 p.m. “Winds & Keys” will feature an IPO quartet with Cynthia Fudala on flute; Naomi Bensdorf Frisch on oboe; Claire Werling on clarinet; Matthew Hogan, bassoon and Marilyn Burgeois on piano. Tickets are $39 per concert. Information is at IPOmusic.org or call 708-481-7774.

Starry Nights July 13
The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will present its second Starry Nights concert featuring “Good Clean Fun” with family fun and games from 5 to 7 p.m. before the 7 p.m. concert at Irwin Park. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Homewood seeks community input
Village officials are assessing how information can best reach residents and are asking for input. An online survey is available until July 15.

Acoustic After Hours with Andrew Robert Palmer
Andrew Robert Palmer, an indie-rock/folk singer-songwriter, will perform at the Homewood Public Library’s Acoustic After Hours at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at the library, 17917 Dixie Highway. The performance is open to persons 18 and older.

BBQ for the Troops July 15
Chevrolet of Homewood will host its annual BBQ for the Troops from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the dealership, 18033 Halsted St. Proceeds from donations go to United Service Organizations (USO), which provides support for active duty military service members and their families.

USPS passport fair
The U.S. Postal Service will host an event from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at Glenwood Post Office, 19 W. Main St. in Glenwood. USPS will help people with passport applications and offer the opportunity to have a passport photo taken.

< THE WEEK

Nonprofit will send bikes to help all Hart students learn to ride
Editor Marilyn Thomas reported that bikes will be coming to James Hart School. Outride, a California-based nonprofit, will be shipping 30 bicycles to the school as part of its Riding For Focus program.

State of Faith: Faith Lutheran Church looks for ways to ‘give itself away’
The latest installment in the Chronicle’s State of Faith series, supported by Homewood Rotary Foundation, includes a conversation with Faith Lutheran Church senior pastor Amy Wiegert about how the church actively works to be welcoming to all, including people who might have become skeptical about religion. “If there’s not a diverse group of people in the room, we’re all missing out.” 

D161 approves plan to issue up to $13 million in bonds
Flossmoor District 161 Board of Education’s authorized the district to issue up to $13 million in bonds to apply to working cash funds.

New beauty supply and tobacco stores open in Homewood
Reporter Chris Weber brought us the story about the transformation of the old Discount Tire store at 810 Maple Ave. in Homewood to a new beauty supply store along side a tobacco shop. The stores opened about a month ago.

Resident slightly hurt in home fire Thursday
A Homewood resident suffered a minor injury in a house fire Thursday evening in Homewood, according to Fire Chief Bob Grabowski. The home in the 18400 block of Dixie Highway suffered moderate damage.

Student honors for June
A number of local students are doing well at colleges and universities around the country. We posted the honors for June that we received.

OTHER NEWS

What about the Dixie Highway viaduct?
The state announced this past week what it touted as the biggest construction program in history with nearly $41 billion in Rebuild Illinois funding for improvement of roads, bridges, aviation, ports and transit projects.

My first thought was of the Dixie Highway viaduct, with its dilapidated drainage system. Wednesday night we received brief torrential rain, and I went down there to see how much water was backed up (not whether it was backed up; that goes without saying.)

A vehicle in the southbound lane of Dixie Highway makes waves as it moves through the flooded viaduct Wednesday, July 5. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
A vehicle in the southbound lane of Dixie Highway makes waves as it moves through the flooded viaduct Wednesday, July 5.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

It’s been much worse after bigger storms, but the water was deep enough that the village probably should have posted “no wake” signs. One vehicle stalled at the west end of the northbound lane, quite a few motorists wisely rerouted and a number of them forged on through, making waves but nothing worse.

I checked the Illinois Department of Transportation capital project list for 2024-2029, and I didn’t see the viaduct listed. There is one Homewood project. It involves resurfacing part of Dixie Highway downtown. 

I sent email to IDOT on Thursday asking about the status of the viaduct project. It’s possible I missed it or was looking at the wrong list. I hope to have a story this week about where it stands.

I did a story on the viaduct’s drainage problem back in 2017. At the time, the project was on IDOT’s radar and was slated to be done sometime during the 2017-2022 planning period.

It’s not a mystery what’s causing the problem. A study was done in 2004 that identified design inadequacies and a deteriorated drainage line north of the viaduct as the causes of chronic flooding. The last time the line was cleaned out was 2003. I plan to check with Homewood Public Works Director John Schaefer this week to see if anything has been done since.

The lack of action on solving the drainage problem has long frustrated village officials. Because the roadway and drainage structure is under state jurisdiction, the village can’t do anything about it. Mayor Rich Hofeld on Saturday recalled a visit with IDOT officials back in 2017 to ask for a solution.

He said Homewood officials were told there wasn’t money available for the project. He didn’t think anything had been done since then to relieve the flooding problem. 

I didn’t see the Flossmoor viaduct in IDOT’s project list, either, but Flossmoor has been making progress on its own to relieve flooding downtown. The current plan is somewhat complicated by the fact that it would require the village to build a detention basin where Homewood-Flossmoor Park District tennis courts are now, and the basin would be adjacent to Heather Hill School.

Village officials have presented the plan to both the park district and Flossmoor School District 161 and the groups are exploring the possibilities. 

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