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Homewood families flock to annual Public Works Department open house 

Ethan Bauer and Hope Peele play on a sand hill at the Homewood Public Works Department open house on May 18.
(Nuha Abdessalam/H-F Chronicle) 

The Homewood Public Works facility opened its doors on May 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to offer community members a chance to understand what the department does and how it does it. 

They had the opportunity to see the various equipment used for road maintenance, water treatment, and tree planting, and they learned about the intricate processes involved.

The event served as a prelude to National Public Works Week, which runs May 19- 24. Community members were able to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of the efforts to maintain a community’s infrastructure and environment. 

Remy Steeve, left, waves while getting a ride on a Homewood public works boom lift. (Nuha Abdessalam/H-F Chronicle)

The open house was also a family-friendly gathering that fostered a sense of community. The bright day was filled with laughter and excitement as kids and adults alike got to understand equipment operation, enjoy a ride on the boom lift, explore the water plant facility, and witness  demonstrations on tree planting and water central repairs. 

Public Works worker Chris Kleckner said, “We do this yearly so people can see what we do; it’s nice. It helps the residents to see and recognize what we do because we get left behind.” 

The Public Works Department is responsible for the functions of a village or a city, including engineering, construction, and utilities for the benefit of citizens. This encompasses public buildings, transport infrastructure, public spaces, public utilities, and other public assets or facilities, all of which are crucial for a community’s smooth functioning and development. 

In simpler terms, “We’re the ones who make sure your roads are safe, your water is clean, and your trees are healthy,” added Kleckner. 

Hope Peele, a 4-year-old Homewood resident, attended the event with her aunt. They joyfully jumped and dug in the sand/salt hills with other attendees including a new friend, 7-year-old Ethan Bauer, who could not contain his excitement when jumping and digging and exclaimed, “This is so cool!” 

Remy Steeve, a Homewood resident, and his grandparents came out for the activities and to ride “all the rides.” The 6-year-old could be caught high in the boom with a Public Worker waving fiercely and proudly to those watching. Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle caught up with the adventurer and asked what he liked most: “The BOOM. I grabbed so many sticks when I was up there, too.” 

The opportunity allowed community members and residents to get to know the people working in their neighborhoods daily, learn about the current and upcoming projects for the village, while enjoying snow cones, beverages, hot dogs, chips, and more.

“Residents can now have a behind-the-scenes look at what skillsets, tools and equipment are needed to keep the village’s infrastructure,” Kleckner said.

Water shoots from a water main section as part of a demonstration of how public works crews repair leaking water lines.
(Nuha Abdessalam/H-F Chronicle)

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