Local News, Opinion

Half Week | June 12: Calumet Country Club pivot, Thornton Township turmoil, H-F Steppers camp, youth scientist achievement

Calumet Country Club redevelopment could be pivoting to housing project

Calumet Country Club in Hazel Crest continues to operate
its golf course, but the owner is exploring a new plan for
redevelopment. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Golfers are playing rounds at Calumet Country Club this summer, three years after an Arizona developer had hoped to convert the property into a warehousing facility, but his plans are shifting to another use.

Owner Walt Brown said he is exploring the possibility of developing housing for migrants on the site after two commercial ventures did not move forward.

The influx of immigrants sent to the Chicago area the past two years by Texas authorities suggests there is a need for more housing.

The Chicago Tribune reported on June 6 that about 43,000 asylum-seekers arrived in Chicago since 2022. The Chicago Sun-Times reported June 10 that the city’s homeless population tripled in the past year, mostly because of the arrival of immigrants.

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Brown did not provide a timeline for developing the housing project.

The previous plan for the country club property was a multifaceted commercial development proposed by Catalyst Consulting Group. The plan presented to the public during the fall of 2022 and early spring of 2023 would have had a warehousing anchor surrounded by a number of other uses, including hospitality, recreation, urban agriculture and office.

At a community forum in March 2023, Jerry Lewis, one of the Catalyst partners, said the group hoped to present plans to the Village of Hazel Crest sometime in May.

I ran into Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry a few weeks ago and asked what the status of the project was. He said the village had not received any plans.

The Catalyst website is no longer active, and partners have not replied to emailed requests for an update. A phone number published by the group in a promotional magazine was not working when I tried calling last fall. A video presentation showing the Catalyst plan is still available on YouTube.

The country club was part of Homewood from about 1980 to 2021. The previous owner, an LLC composed of area business people, petitioned the state to disconnect from Homewood after plans to develop a warehousing use did not receive support from Homewood officials. See a timeline of events here.

Thornton Township turmoil continues at budget adoption meeting

Melanie Jongsma of the Lansing Journal reports that the usually routine matter of adopting the Thornton Township budget did not go smoothly on Friday, which was the deadline for finalizing the budget.

The road and bridge fund budget was approved, but the general fund and general assistance fund budgets were tabled.

Township residents have been increasingly vocal in demanding transparency regarding finances, and the three-hour meeting included a number of disruptions, including an effort by township Supervisor Tiffany Henyard to have a resident removed by South Holland police. The resident ultimately was allowed to stay in the meeting.

The Journal reported that the meeting originally scheduled to consider the budget for the township’s three main funds on Tuesday, May 28, was cancelled nearly an hour after it was supposed to begin. Henyard said there was not a quorum present.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at township hall, 333 E. 162nd St., South Holland.

Learn step from the best

Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s successful step team, HF Steppers, finished its season last month with five consecutive victories and three consecutive first-place finishes, according to school officials.

The team turning its attention to helping the next generation learn step at a summer camp. No prior experience is needed. The fee is $50. Sessions are from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on July 8, 10, 12, 15, 17 and 19.

For more information, contact Coach Wesley Stewart at [email protected].

Local youth scientist completes study

Julian Grisius, center, receives a certificate at a recent science fair.

A few months ago, local science student Julian Grisius sought volunteers to help him with a research project, and a number of H-F people stepped up. He completed the study, “The Effects of Medium Richness on Affective and Opinion Polarization,” and competed with it at the Illinois Junior Academy of Science regional and state science fairs.

He was selected as one of two students to present their research at the Illinois State Academy of Science annual meeting in April.

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