Opponents of industrial redevelopment of Calumet Country Club hoped the Forest Preserves might be persuaded to purchase the land, but a preserves official said it doesn't meet the criteria to be a high priority acquisition. (Chronicle file photo)
Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | Nov. 5: What’s up with Calumet Country Club, help Open Access Thanksgiving meal, Cleopatra, The Doors, a new festival in the works

DEMOCRACY WATCH

Homewood resident proposes Calumet Country Club solution: Invite the Sox
Before the pitch to attract the Chicago Bears to Country Club Hills, a Homewood man proposed that Hazel Crest officials invite the Chicago White Sox to relocate to Calumet Country Club. 

David Janocha, a founder of South Suburbs for Greenspace, the organization that formed in 2021 to oppose industrial uses of the golf course, addressed the Hazel Crest Board of Trustees on Sept. 12 to pitch the idea.

Janocha is a familiar face at Hazel Crest board meetings. He lives near the country club  west of Dixie Highway and north of 175th Street, formerly part of Homewood but annexed earlier this year by Hazel Crest. He’s not a fan of putting warehouses on the property, but he is a fan of the Sox.

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He noted that there were reports in August in Chicago media outlets that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf was considering selling or relocating the team. Reinsdorf later denied he was considering either, but if he does, Janocha said that would be an opportunity for the Southland.

“I’ve grown up my whole life as a White Sox fan,” he said. “I don’t know about anybody else in the room, but I’d be much more interested in seeing a ballpark across the street from my house that I could walk to rather than factories and warehouses.”

A Hazel Crest resident addressed the board following Janocha’s comments. She asked whether there were any updates on the redevelopment of the golf course. Late in 2022 and for the first few months of 2023, Catalyst Consulting, a group working in partnership with property owner Walt Brown held a series of open sessions to inform the community about their vision for the project.

The Catalyst partners, led by Jerry Lewis and Vince Bass, proposed a warehousing complex at the core of the site that would be surrounded by housing, recreation, retail, education and manufacturing uses. At a public forum sponsored by the NAACP on March 15, Lewis said he hoped to present plans to Hazel Crest in May.

In response to the resident’s question on Sept. 12, Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry said, “We have not heard from them at all.”

I have sent email to Vince Bass and Walt Brown to find out the status of the project, but I have not heard back yet.

Several redevelopment projects in Homewood have stalled recently because of challenges with financing. Even though last year’s inflation spike has eased, the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates in its battle against inflation, and that has changed the calculations of developers, according to Homewood officials.

It’s possible that’s a factor in the delay of the Calumet Country Club project. I hope one of the developers involved will let us know what’s going on soon. I can be reached at [email protected].

Opponents of industrial redevelopment of Calumet Country Club hoped the Forest Preserves might be persuaded to purchase the land, but a preserves official said it doesn't meet the criteria to be a high priority acquisition. (Chronicle file photo)
Calumet Country Club, formerly part of Homewood, could be redeveloped, but a specific plan had not been submitted to Hazel Crest at last report. (Chronicle file photo)

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Meetings

Flossmoor Board of Trustees will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, in village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road. 

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here or by phone at 312-626-6799.  Use ID 811 3268 0544 and passcode 60422. 
  • Highlights: Trustees will consider recommending to the county a Class 8 property tax relief designation for Rainbow Cone at 19805 Crawford Ave.; a contract not to exceed $149,814 for Phase 2 engineering on the Central Business District Roadway, Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvements project; adopting an estimated tax levy in preparation for the final levy adoption at the Dec. 4 meeting. 

Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233 Finance Committee will meet at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the Viking Room, South Building, 999 Kedzie Ave.

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the Goldberg Administration Building, 3301 Flossmoor Road.

  • When the agenda is available, it will be posted here.

Flossmoor School District 161 Community Engagement Committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Normandy Villa, 41 E. Elmwood Drive, Chicago Heights. 

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Appearance Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend virtually here.
  • Highlights: The commission will consider a request for a sign variance by St. John Neumann parish, 17951 Dixie Highway. The parish wishes to replace a monument sign with an electronic sign. The commission will also consider a request by All Nations Community Church, 18620 Kedzie Ave., to replace its monument sign with an electronic sign. There will also be an update from staff on the status of revisions to the village’s appearance plan. 

Stuff to do

Every day
Open gym. The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District hosts open gym times (except Nov. 22) at the H-F Sports Complex, 18221 Aberdeen Ave. in Homewood, from 4 to 6 p.m. for kids aged 8 to 13. A parent-signed waiver needs to be on file for participation. From 6 to 8 p.m. the gym is open for anyone high school age or older. Bring your driver’s license or school ID to prove residency. The fee is $5 for district residents and $10 for non-residents.

Tuesday, Nov. 7
Smartphone Photography 101. Molly Page will share phone photography tips and tricks from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the meeting room of Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway. The session is intended for adults.

Wednesday, Nov. 8
Cleopatra, The Last Pharoah of Egypt. Martina Mathison will portray the last Egyptian Pharoah at the Homewood Historical Society meeting, 6:45 p.m. in the meeting room of Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway.

Thursday, Nov. 9
Nature play date. The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District hosts a play and explore time from 9 to 10 a.m. that helps kids 2 to 5 learn about nature at the Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center. Grown-up meet up at the same time. Stay for a snack picnic afterwards. A non-paying adult must accompany participant. The fee is $5 for district residents, $7 for non-residents.

Learn to read food labels. Nutrition educator Christine Rosandich will share information on how to understand food labels and how to spot harmful ingredients from 7 to 8 p.m. at Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave. Registration is not required.

Friday, Nov. 10
Beach party. Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will host a beach party for kids aged 6 to 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Irwin Community Center, 18120 Highland Ave. There will be activities, snacks and a movie to remind you of the warm sun on your skin. Kids can dress up in their favorite beach or vacation attire. The fee is $34 for district residents, $44 for non-residents.

Tribute to The Doors. “An American Prayer” will take the audience back to 1960s Los Angeles to experience the music of The Doors at Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Blvd., Park Forest, at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, Nov. 11
Improv. TeenProv will open for South of Chi Improv. The show is from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway. Cost is $10 at the door.

STEM Saturday. The Homewood Science Center will host its regular science activity session for kids aged 3 to 12 in the meeting room of Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway. 

Prairie State College open house. PSC invites prospective students to the Fall 2023 Open House from 10 a.m. to noon at the main campus, 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights. Students will have an opportunity to explore the campus, meet the faculty and staff and discover the wide array of educational programs and resources available at PSC. On-air radio personalities from Power 92.3 and 106.3 FM will be on campus with giveaways, including concert tickets and more. Light refreshments will be provided. Those planning to attend this free event can register in advance here.

Roller derby season championship. The last Chicago Knockouts bout of the year pits the Horrific Haunters against the Retro Rumblers for the championship. Doors open at 7:15 p.m., and the bout starts at 8 p.m. in the Homewood Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road, Homewood. General tickets are $15, trackside tickets are $20. Accessible seating available at no extra charge. Surprise musical guest follows with a 35-minute set.

Save the date

LivWell Festival. Circle June 8, 2024, on your calendar. Activities, food, vendors and speakers will fill Irwin Park with fun, family-friendly opportunities to improve your health and wellness. More details to follow soon.

Butterball Burner. On Nov. 19, the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will host its annual Butterball Burner 5K Fun Run at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 19. It’s a chance to burn off a few extra calories before a big Thanksgiving meal. All ages welcome. Registration is $30 before Nov. 14. Day of race registration is $35. Click here to register.

Notices

Businesses collect food for Open Access Thanksgiving meal. Open Access provides complete Thanksgiving meals to 1,000 area families in need. Local businesses help create those meals by collecting non-perishable food items. Monetary donations can be made at the website until Nov. 21. Food donations can be made until Nov. 11 at the following businesses:

  • First Reformed Church, 15924 S. Park Ave., in South Holland — stuffing.
  • Abbott’s Printing, 611 E 170th St., South Holland — green beans.
  • Redbird Café, 2057 Ridge Road, Homewood — corn bread.
  • Serendipity Yoga, 18300 Dixie Highway, Homewood — corn bread.
  • Cancer Support Center, 2028 Elm Road, Homewood — all the sides.
  • Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway, Homewood — all the sides.
  • Loulou Belle, 2049 Ridge Road, Homewood — green beans.
  • Jonathan Kane Salon, 18065 Harwood Ave., Homewood — boxed potatoes.

Flossmoor seeks service projects for MLK Day of Service. Village officials invite local businesses, non-profits, volunteer groups, neighborhood clubs and associations, friends and neighbors to help make a difference in the community by hosting a project for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 15. Last year the village coordinated 23 service projects. This year, organizers hope to grow the number of volunteers and projects even more. Make a suggestion for a volunteer project, including your location and volunteer needs, via this online form, or contact Stephanie Wright at 708-335-5472, [email protected].

Metra holiday train tickets go on sale. Metra will be bringing holiday magic to the Electric Line on Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 with special holiday train rides with Santa and Mrs. Claus and other holiday characters. Tickets for Metra’s holiday trains went on sale on this website on Nov. 1. Tickets cost $5 each and must be purchased in advance.

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