Local News, Opinion

The Weeks | Jan. 7: Immigrant bus regs, Hibbing renovation back on, Culture closes, benefit concert, Hoops for Hunger

Meetings

Homewood School District 153 Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, in the James Hart School media center, 18220 Morgan St.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Highlights: The board will consider accepting a $1.47 million roof replacement bid for Churchill School. The board also will consider a memorandum of understanding with the Homewood Education Association extending the current agreement through fiscal year 2025.

Flossmoor Public Art Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, in the village hall committee room.

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend remotely here or dial 312-626-6799. ID 980 4907 6232, passcode 830183.
  • Contact the board at [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: The board will consider a measure that will enable HCF Homewood, developer of The Hartford, to obtain a long-term real estate loan in order to satisfy the construction loan for the building. The requirements of the redevelopment agreement between HCF, the village and the current lender will remain in place.

    Also on the agenda is an ordinance moving forward the creation of a new tax increment financing district within the existing Kedzie Gateway TIF District that would aid the redevelopment of the former Brunswick Zone bowling alley and Big  Lots retail store. American Bagel Plaza, adjacent to the east, would also be in the new district.

    The board will also consider entering into a subrecipient agreement with the county to pay for part of a sidewalk improvement project on Ashland Avenue north of Maple Road near the CN headquarters and training center.

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Board of Commissioners will hold a committee meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the Goldberg Administration Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road.

  • Find the agenda here.

Flossmoor Public Library Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, in the library, 1000 Sterling Ave.

  • Find the agenda here.

Homewood Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, in village hall, 2020 Chestnut Road.

  • Find the agenda here.
  • Attend remotely here or call 312-626-6799 using ID 991 8481 1606 and passcode 573812. 
  • Highlight: The commission will consider a request for a parking variance from the owners of the building at 810 Maple Ave. The owners want to establish a carry-out restaurant in addition to the two retail stores currently operating in the building. 

Stuff to do

Tuesday, Jan. 9

Chair Yoga. Serendipity Yoga and Wellness Studio will offer chair yoga at Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. for seniors 55 years old and up. Register here.

Mini Maestros. Rosie Joyce will lead a session from 4 to 4:45 p.m. at Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway, on the world of classical music that will include listening, dancing and creating. Registration requested, but not required. For children aged 3 to 12.

Wednesday, Jan. 10

Art Club for Teens. Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will host an art club for teens ages 12 to 15 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Irwin Center, 18120 Highland Ave., on Wednesdays, Jan. 10, 17 and 24. Students will be working with various materials and combinations including charcoal, colored pencils, acrylics, watercolors, inks and felt tips. The fee is $40 for district residents, $50 for non-residents. Click here to register.

Tutu Hullabaloo. Miss Nikki will read stories about dance and help kids ages 4 to 8 learn about the different styles of dance from 4 to 4:45 p.m. at Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway. The program continues until March 20. Register here.

STEAM and Sing. Flossmoor Public Library, 1000 Sterling Ave., will host a session for kids ages 3 to 6 from 6 to 7 p.m. that will be a “marvelous mash-up of music and S.T.E.A.M” for children who are “half musician, half mathematician or a songstress with a scientific soul.”

Homewood Historical Society. Yours truly will get a chance to talk about how he went from a 9-year-old producing his first newspaper, a one-issue, six-pager called the Daily Blab in 1968 to an old-ish guy starting the Chronicle very nearly 10 years ago. But mostly we’ll talk about the Chronicle and what people want and need from their local news source. The meeting starts at 6:45 p.m. in the meeting room at Homewood Public Library, 17917 Dixie Highway.

Friday, Jan. 12

MLK Day of Service project at Flossmoor Library. The Flossmoor Public Library invites residents to participate in service projects during open hours at the library. Drop in any time of the day to pitch in. Donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted to be donated to a local food pantry. Children under 9 years old must have an adult caregiver stay with them at the program.

Sunday, Jan. 14

Classical Music Concert. The fourth annual concert from 4 to 5 p.m. at Flossmoor Community Church, 2218 Hutchison Road is part of Flossmoor’s MLK Day of Service project. The concert will feature pre-conservatory student-musicians from the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago playing works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Barber, and Roumain. The event is free, but any monetary donations collected will help Open Access, a 501(c)3 charity, fund weekend backpacks of food for students who face weekend food insecurity in South Holland and Glenwood, and Community Closets located in South Holland and Richton Park.

Hoops for Hunger Tournament. Homewood-Flossmoor High School will host the basketball tournament on Sunday, Jan. 14, and Monday, Jan. 15, in the varsity gym at 999 Kedzie Ave. in Flossmoor. Donations of non-perishable food items will be collected for Respond Now on both days. Games on Sunday, Jan. 14, are: 1 p.m. Stagg vs. Kankakee; 2:30 p.m. Bloom vs. St. Laurence; and 4 p.m. Rich vs. Marian. Tournament will continue on Monday, Jan. 15, with: 1 p.m. Hillcrest vs. Riverside-Brookfield; 2:30 p.m. Thornton vs. Niles North; and 4 p.m. H-F vs. Romeoville. Admission is $15 per person.

News & Notices

Immigrant bus regulations. The Chicago Tribune ran a story on Jan. 4 about suburbs enacting new regulations in response to buses carrying immigrants, mostly from Texas, stopping in suburban communities after Chicago imposed new regulations on the buses. Hazel Crest will consider an ordinance regulating unscheduled intercity buses at the board’s Jan. 9 board meeting. The problem, according to officials in the communities enacting similar ordinances, is that bus companies are delivering immigrants without warning, giving municipalities no time to arrange for their care.

Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld said the village will not consider following suit. He said as a non-home rule municipality, the village doesn’t have the statutory authority to adopt such regulations. He said the way immigrant families are being treated as they are sent north without intergovernmental cooperation is inhumane.

Hibbing Building project is back on. On Dec. 11, Hibbing Building owner Joe Peters said he was going to end the project of renovating the building at 18121-18123 Harwood Ave. in Homewood after receiving a stop order from a village inspector. At issue was whether concrete work on the front of the building had been properly permitted. Peters said he already had the permit for the work. There was an outpouring of support for Peters on local social media channels. Within a week, village officials said they had talked to Peters and ironed out the problem. On Dec. 22, Peters posted on Facebook to thank supporters and confirm that the project was a go. When renovations are complete, he plans to open a hotdog shop in one side of the building and Old Fashioned Donuts will use the other half.

Culture closes. Owners of Culture, a restaurant and music venue at 18031 Dixie Highway, announced on Jan. 2 that the business is permanently closed. The business faced more than the usual startup challenges. It opened on New Year’s Eve 2019, less than three months before the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions slammed the economy. It opened again in June 2020 as restrictions started to ease. The process of adding a kitchen to the building required a temporary closure during the first part of 2022. The business reopened in July 2022.

Girls STEAM Celebration. The sign-up deadline is Jan. 15 for the Homewood Science Center’s annual celebration and mentoring event for area middle school girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering, art and math. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 13 at the Prairie State College Conference Center, 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights. Register here.

Tax Preparation. Beginning Monday, Jan. 8, seniors will be able to register in person at the Irwin Center for an appointment for free in-person tax assistance. Actual tax preparation will begin on Monday, Feb. 5 and continue every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through April 10. The Irwin Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 708-957-7275.

Top 5 stories last week

I came across an article this week that offers another example of how busy roads can be reimagined to better serve their communities. The BLVD in Lancaster, California, is another project that demonstrates what’s possible when people are prioritized over vehicles in urban design.

The proposed lane restructuring of 183rd Street is not as dramatic a change as what Lancaster did. The California city cut traffic collisions in half after reshaping the street with fewer lanes and a landscaped center island. The SFGate article notes the area saw 40 new businesses open and increased tax revenue for the city.

Not everyone loves it, however. Some locals say The BLVD has attracted homeless people and is not safe for pedestrians at night. And rising rents meant the city’s Chamber of Commerce could no longer afford its headquarters there.

This approach to restructuring costs a lot more than restriping lanes, but the idea of shifting transportation priorities from moving vehicles quickly through our communities to enabling people to move about safely is still worth keeping on the table.

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