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Resident of La Grange, IL for 31 years
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No Chris - they took a positive action. The lack of follow through falls on your board who evidently didn't have the interest and concern to check out the drains when they started to fail and have not followed through.
Mr, Brogan's concerns about the existing Gordon Park seem to focus on the drainage problems at the ball fields. Actually, it was the Park Board that Kevin Shields was a part of that tried to correct that problem. When they swapped land at Gordon Park for the additional land for Elm Park so that the Village could erect the water tower, part of the arrangement was that the Village would redo the drainage of the ball fields. Afterward, the YMCA frequently complained about dirt from the park rising in their drains after heavy storms. Perhaps the Village tied the ball field drains into the sewer line under the abandoned Shawmut Ave. During hearings for La Grange Place, we heard engineering testimony that this sewer was extremely old and would need to be rebuilt. If the current Park Board truly had any interest in Gordon Park, they could have spent a portion of the money they have shelled out for legal fees to have an engineering firm examine why the fields still flood. If the Village is at fault, they should be made to correct a problem they may have created. During the hearings for La Grange Place, we heard no testimony about the potential for serious damage to the water tower if the contour and elevation of the ball fields and surrounding park were changed, dumping more water under the water tower. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a collapsing water tower adjacent to a land mark park that was poorly conceived and engineered?
Tsk. How vengeful and irresponsible - totally out of character from what I would have expected from you Chris. In the several newsletters and blogs that I do, I have far more respect for people than to plaster their names and addresses on the internet. For all those interested in commenting to the so-called defenders of our parks and park space, their names are listed at the end of the document cited in Chris' comment above. The last time I checked they were all listed in the La Grange phone directory. Just look them up on You might want to commend them for the arrogant, inept and fiscally irresponsible manner they have conducted themselves as a Park Board in the whole matter of selling park land.
Judge Gillis made an interesting comment at the last court session. She said that the law does not anticipate that a Park District would already have a buyer for its land when it make a petition to sell land. It's conceivable that the Park District could continue to seek court approval to sell the land, and thereby keep the court action going until the judge rules. I hope they don't spend money doing that, but who knows?
In an interview with the News on La Grange, Christopher Ganschow was quoted as saying that the Metropolitan YMCA is considering bids from several local contractors to tear down the derelict building. Apparently the YMCA is getting ready to be good neighbors with the rest of the village.
The YMCA threatened once before to pull out of the deal - last year to force the Park District to go to the referendum to sell the park land. Maybe they really do have another potential partner. In the meanwhile, it is high time that the Village made the YMCA tear down their derelict building. It is interesting that Christopher Ganschow now cites concern that the proceeds from the ARP sale would not generate the "seed money" to build a new La Grange Area YMCA facility. When they originally announced the closing of the Ogden Ave. facility, the YMCA said that building a new La Grange YMCA would depend on the community's willingness to financially support a new building - that after La Grange area residents gave the YMCA the property and supported it financially for many years. It is also interesting that Ganschow is now pulling the La Grange YMCA board back into the deliberations. Three years ago, the Metropolitan YMCA office pulled control of the project away from the La Grange YMCA and left them outside of negotiations.
This has turned into a truly complicated mess. It appears that the objectors, going all the way back to 2008, have spared ARP and the Village of a development that would have come on line this year with 83% more retail and 21% more apartments than ARP believes will be viable in the market by, probably, 2011 - much less right now. How much money is coming into the tax coffers from the almost entirely empty La Grange Pointe, all of the empty retail spaces in town, the undeveloped former home of Hallowell and James and the unsold town homes adjacent to the Post Office? Given the scope of changes ARP wants to make to their plans, and their stated desire to amend the list of amenities that was made a requisite to the approval of the Plan Commission for La Grange Place in the first place, it is hard too see how the Village can avoid sending this back to the Plan Commission for proper procedural handling- unless they want to face yet another set of lawsuits. It seems foolish to argue about Shawmut Avenue, since the Village is likely not going to have the money to build the street unless ARP pays for it. And, ARP says they don't need Shawmut Ave. Judge Gillis has signaled, I believe, that she can rule to allow the sale of parcel 3, even though there might not currently be a buyer, which makes it all the more important to go to trial to determine if the judge supports the sale of the park land as being in the best public interest. And now ARP has made it clear that the Village and all taxing bodies involved can benefit from the tax revenues from La Grange Place without the use of the park land. That goes back to the original question of whether or not it was ever right to sell public land-open space - park land.
Thanks Chris - I'll look forward to seeing it in either place.
If Atlantic Realty does not need an extended Shawmut Ave. for their development, even if the Village would like the street for access to the area, there would be the major question of who would pay for the street. It's doubtful ARP would participate in that cost in any large amount. They have already said they want to scale back their proposed amenities to the Village in exchange for the PUD. And the Village, having given $1M to the La Grange theater, has little left for necessary improvements to the La Grange Rd / Ogden Ave intersection, much less considering building a street. Someone from the Village needs to step up with a meaningful contribution to the discussion.
Thanks for the update. I know that transcribing is a lot of work if PDLG didn't give you a copy of their response, but I sure would have preferred reading about it than having to listen to Mary Ellen Penicook.
Movie theaters have no business selling alcoholic drinks. The previous owner of the La Grange Theater tried this and was rebuffed.
WilliamDobias is now following the daily editor
Aug 1, 2009
WilliamDobias is now following Kathleen
Aug 1, 2009
WilliamDobias is now following Tim
Aug 1, 2009
Thanks for the "heads-up" Joe. Evidently uniform crime statistic reporting does not require differentiating home robberies when someone is home versus when no one is home. It is alarming that there may be an increase of more dangerous criminals operating in LaGrange, and should give the Village President and Council rise to increasing the police force now that they have greatly increased transient traffic in LaGrange and made it more inviting.
Chris - Thanks for your thoughtful response to BTRIAK. Over the past year or so you and I have engaged in several dialogs on this blog which I have found enjoyable and beneficial. It was far easier to do so on the blog, and we were able to do so because we both clearly identify ourselves. I'm always skeptical of someone's views, like those of BTRIAK because he (or she) lacks the strength of conviction and self-confidence to readily identify themself in their posts. Over the past two years I have gotten to know Thom Rae a little, although I can't say that I know where he came from or why he is here. I do know that he started this blog to satisfy a personal desire to provide such a community service, probably eventually for profit, not because he had some personal agenda or ax to grind. He had studied a number of similar blogs in different parts of the country and knew what he wanted to publish and referred me to several of them as examples of what he thought were good community news blogs. As to living in Brookfield where he can afford an apartment and starting a blog called "Everything LaGrange" - that's probably very reasonable. Would anyone start a blog in Brookfield and then try to enlarge its coverage to include LaGrange? That's probably not a very good business model. Starting in LaGrange and spreading to Western Springs, Brookfield, etc makes more sense. The editors of The Suburban Life think highly enough of Thom's journalistic abilities to take him on as a stringer whenever they are short-handed on staff. Thom hasn't just spent his time covering our disagreement about Gordon Park or the Village Board's continuing lack of "sunshine" in their meetings. When a La Grange Park boy went missing, Thom posted it right away. We all read about the tragic accident on 47th Street and its aftermaths here long before any other of the media had it. Unfortunately our Gordon Park disagreement and our Village president and her staff have given Thom compelling stories that have dominated the news blog at times. As to the value of the "Everything LaGrange" blog in our community, when did you ever see The Suburban Life submit FOIA's and work at scooping another news organization as they did on Friday with the latest episode of the pawn shop saga. It appears that Thom Rae is setting a standard by which electronic media in our town will be judged. Perhaps what BTRIAK and others are trying to do is discredit Thom, who seems to have a growing number of readers before the next Village President election. It appears that we already have the next "LaGrange Business Assoc. candidate" on hand to try and succeed Liz Asperger.
If the promoter is going to be allowed to bring in a lot of food vending as she did this year, she should be required to set up an eating area with tables and lots of garbage containers on the sidewalk to avoid trash being dropped on the street.
I tried these lights out today. They make the same design mistake that the old ones did. When the count down is on, the "do not walk" (hand) symbol flashes. Drivers making right turns into the crosswalk assume, as they have done to me, that this means the pedestrian should not be in the crosswalk and they aggressively make their turns. It has happened to me on more than one occasion at La Grange Rd and Ogden. The signals would be far better and more understandable if the "walk" (figure) symbol flashed with the count down instead of the "do not walk symbol (hand)."
Scout - Please don't question Orlando Coryell's motives. From day one of his involvement almost two years ago, he has opposed the use of park land to build a private development. Neither Orlando nor any of the rest of us oppose development of the YMCA property, but believe that a very good and profitable development could be built on the YMCA property without the use of park land. The trouble is that the Park District jumped on an opportunity (they thought) to "monetize" some park land when they were approached about a small corner of unused land and a parking lot. This response to you is too short to get into what they need that money for. It was the Park District's concern about not getting "short-changed" in the auction, I believe, that led them to executing the contract with ARP before the actual auction which led, in part, to their problems as reported above. Further compounding the problem is that our Village officials fell in love with the idea of building the biggest development ever built in La Grange (or in neighboring towns for that matter). And the YMCA got seduced by the extra money that they could realize if the developer squeezed more onto their property by building an access road on park land and getting credits against serious density deviations from code on the YMCA property itself by including park land in the development. All of this being done on property that the YMCA had given to them through generous contributions from people from Cicero to Downers Grove and Willow Springs to Oak Park. The YMCA had other bids and proposals - I've seen one very nice one that only used YMCA land which would not have given the YMCA as much money, but would have been very nice for the Village. The blighted corner is the millstone of our Village officials. No one insisted that the YMCA clean up the very corner of La Grange Road and Ogden after Jack-in-the-Box vacated it in the 1980's. And the Village did not insist that the YMCA tear down their building after they vacated it. Have you ever noticed how nice the lots on La Grange Road and on Joliet Road in Countryside are after the owners demolished motels and planted grass? We could take a lesson from Countryside. If ARP leaves this project now, it probably will take a while to get another developer in place. But, the Village can get a very fine development without giving up valuable, scarce park land.
Who the heck does LaPidus think he is, calling anyone to warn them off of opening a business in La Grange? I don't remember voting to elect him into any office and am not that impressed with the value his business provides to an upscale community like La Grange. There are sandwich shops and there are sandwich shops.
Hey Joe - You express a reasonable concern, but it's hard to see how one business could cause the police department additional work compared to what the near 300 apartments and 30,000 sq ft of retail at La Grange Place would cause. Of course, the LGBA lusts for those apartment dwellers and the additional traffic that all of that retail might bring, but Beacon Place has already started to experience the burglary problems that an increase in transient traffic can bring.
The La Grange Business Association gets up on its high horse and Bob Pilipszyn hops right to doing what they bid. Faster than he's doing anything about 47th Street. Who's paying this guy's salary? And what town does Michael LaPidus go home to when he ponders what's good for the future of all of us here in La Grange? I'm not fond of the idea of a pawn shop if that is what it really is, but I'm tired of the LGBA running the village.
Joe - If you're giving money as a private citizen, I sure salute your civic-mindedness-- giving money to this Park Board for anything (beyond what they're already hitting you up for taxes). On the other hand, if you are a vendor or contractor doing business with the park district, or a lessee at their facility, I wish that they would do a better job of competitively bidding contracts, negotiating and awarding work so that you might feel a little less prone to give some money back in these tight economic times.
Chris - It doesn't matter where the money is coming from. If you're tight on funds, use it for something else. Why waste it blowing explosives up a tube? And they're not my kids. I was referring to the "me" generation's concerns about their own gratification, rather than their kids benefit.
The League of Women Voters warned us that this coziness with the La Grange Business Association and rampant development would be what was in store if Liz Asperger became Village President. We citizens need to focus on just who these unelected "shadow" figures are - R. Pilipiszyn and Patrick Benjamin - they are promoting and following policies that don't mesh with keeping the character of La Grange what it has always been and that earlier Village Boards worked hard to preserve. No one speaks out publicly, but these individuals do a very good job of keeping details of what they are doing from the Village Board other than Asperger and her close followers as they do with the citizens. Add to them Dean Bissias at the Park Board who has mismanaged his Board into one fiasco after another as they try to cash in park land, and we have a real trio!!