Managing Park Forest Week of September 28, 2009

Village Board Room

The Village Board Room. (PHOTO ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF) — September 28, 2009.

Village Management

Village Board Meeting – September 29

The next meeting of the Village Board will be held on Tuesday, September 29 beginning at 8 p.m. The meeting is scheduled as such in observance of the Yom Kippur Holiday on Monday, September 28. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Strategic Planning Meeting – October 3

Mayor John Ostenburg, Finance Director Mary Dankowski, Director of Community Development Larrie Kerestes and Village Manager Tom Mick met this week with planning facilitator Paul Craig to begin discussion of the framework for the upcoming strategic planning efforts as they relate to the 2010-2011 fiscal year. A financial update of revenues/expenses will take place on Saturday, October 3 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Board Room of Village Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Career Opportunity

The Village of Park Forest is currently accepting resumes/applications for the position of Director of Public Health. For more details, visit the Village web site at www.villageofparkforest.com and click on the ‘employment’ link.

Canadian National Update

The Village Manager and Village Attorney met with representatives for Canadian National (CN) to review and execute a number of documents related to the rail company’s recent purchase of the EJ&E rail infrastructure. Courtesy of a package deal including 6 agreements with CN, the Village will realize $7,355,000 in economic benefits. Cash items total $4,805,000 and tangible economic benefits cost out at another $2,550,000. The agreements and the associated economic figures include the following:

  • Voluntary Mitigation Agreement (total value: $4,225,000);
  • Parking Lot Reconstruction Agreement (total value: $1,320,000);
  • Bridge Overpass Ownership Transfer Agreement (total value: $1,165,000);
  • Real Estate Sales Agreement and Option Agreement (total value: $635,000); and
  • Right of Entry Agreement.

This package deal with CN helps mitigate Village concerns with the rail company’s acquisition of the former EJ&E infrastructure and its impacts upon Park Forest. The settlement provides funds which will be used to help offset property value impacts for residents. The Village will maintain 80% of the revenue stream from the commuter parking lot at Homan Avenue and Hickory Street, which will also be revitalized and reconstructed by CN. The package also provides funds for a public attraction vision which will include construction of a train viewing platform, rail car feature and large-scale mural which may draw latent tourism benefits to Park Forest and the Old Plank Road Trail. Finally, the deal facilitates the transfer of bridge/overpass ownership over Orchard Drive to CN with the rail company committing to paint the structure in the near future.

Residents with questions regarding the CN settlement can contact the Village Manager’s Office at 708-748-1129.

SouthCom Board of Directors Meeting

Village Manager Tom Mick, Police Chief Tom Fleming and Fire Chief Bob Wilcox recently attended a Board of Directors meeting for the SouthCom joint dispatching agency. The agenda included discussion of personnel matters and an update on the transition to a new computer aided dispatching and records software.

Park Forest Community Development


This week, 188 inspections were performed. These included new construction, re-occupancy, inspector initiated and referral/complaint.

In Civil Court action on property maintenance code enforcement matters, the Thorncreek cases were up for status hearings. Also in the Civil cases with Thorncreek/Atlantic Associates, another round of information gathering is being sought and completed.

Park Forest Economic Development

Business Breakfast

The next Business Breakfast has been scheduled for Thursday, November 5, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The event will be held at Dining on the Green. Reggie Greenwood, Director of Economic Development for the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation will be the featured speaker. The program will focus on building business partnerships. Invitations will be sent to Park Forest businesses in the coming weeks.

Transit Oriented Development Project

Village staff attended a meeting of the Steering Committee for the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Project funded by the RTA and being conducted by the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation. This study will involve all transit stations on all Metra lines in the south suburbs. The ultimate goal is to identify TOD projects with similar characteristics that can be marketed together for development by one developer. Park Forest is a member of the Steering Committee for this project.

Economic Development Training

Village staff attended training on a new ‘return on investment’ tool developed by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. This new software tool will allow municipalities to evaluate development proposals to determine the projected property tax and sales tax revenue, and the amount of incentives necessary to make the project work. Along with the training, Park Forest will receive a free copy of the software.

Park Forest Fire Department


The Fire Department responded to 62 calls for assistance this past week including 1 triple call and 11 double calls. Automatic aid assistance was received 3 times from Matteson and once from Richton Park and provided once to University Park. Mutual aid was provided twice to the Matteson Fire Department.

Fire Department Training

Career division members focused on paramedic certification. Three times per year, each paramedic is required to complete a continuing education cycle which includes a reading assignment, study booklet and examination. At the time of the examination, the paramedic must receive a grade of 80% or better; if unsuccessful, the paramedic is allowed a retest involving a different exam on the same subject matter. Topics for these continuing education sessions vary from year to year and are intended to keep the paramedics’ knowledge and skills at the highest possible level.

On September 18, the Paid-on-Call Division (POC) along with the career divisions, performed a live-fire exercise with the department’s automatic aid companies. This training not only assures the members will work well together at emergency scenes, but meets requirements of a number of regulatory and rating agencies in the process. The POC and career divisions train together at least monthly and involve automatic aid companies whenever possible.


The Fire Department has received notice from the Enbridge Pipeline Companies Safe Community program that a grant has been awarded in the amount of $1,000. This grant was received to support improvements to the props at the department’s fire training site. Although not enough to completely fund the project, these funds, combined with other funding, will help to make the site more useful to Village fire fighters and those of surrounding communities.

Park Forest Police Department

Police Training

The entire Police Department is currently undergoing firearms training at the Lynwood Police Department’s outdoor range. The training will be conducted over a two day period.

Officers Justin Rimovsky and Davis Habecker have just completed the 40-hour Juvenile Officer training, which was held at the Burbank Police Department.

Park Forest Public Works

New Watermain

The new watermain has passed the chlorination test and the contractor will finish transferring over the existing water services. By the end of next week, the contractor will have finished abandoning the old watermain and begin restoration of the construction area. Orchard Drive will continue to be open to one-way traffic northbound. Southbound traffic is being redirected ruing restoration.

Paving of Parking Lot #2

Village staff have been reviewing the CN Railroad plan for the repaving of Parking Lot #2 in Matteson.

Reducing Phone Bill

Ken Eyer and Debbie Camilli met with Joe Koller of Sprint-Nextel regarding the phone bill. He provided information on how money can be saved by changing to the Sprint Business Essentials Plan.


A meeting was held with representatives of Porters Uniform Apparel about the Village’s current uniform use. Information was presented on possible cost savings to the Village.

Field Operations

Landscaping restoration work was completed from watermain breaks. Two watermain breaks were repaired at 373 Blackhawk and 67 Cherry. Sanitary sewers were cleaned and street lights were relamped village-wide. Several crew members attended the IRMA Shoring and Trenching class held at Village Hall on September 22.

Public Works Training

Mike Carroll, Paul Husband and Todd Cann recently attended a Management and Leadership for First-Time Supervisors/Managers seminar held in Oak Lawn.

A mandatory review of the Commercial Driving License laws was attended by many of the crew members.

Water Plant

Assistant Chief Operator Mike Gasser is attending the Illinois Potable Water Operators Association conference in Springfield, Illinois this past week.

Recreation and Parks

Beautification Awards

Carolyn Hoff and other staff sent out over 600 letters this week for the Beautification Awards Program scheduled for Sunday, October 25 at 2 p.m. at Freedom Hall. Plan and come and meet the award winners and see a wonderful presentation of photos prepared by Rob Gunther of some of the most beautiful landscaped and well-kept homes in the Village.

Aqua Center

Last week, an asbestos abatement survey was done in the old concession building in preparation for demolition. Staff prepared a keying plan to be furnished to the hardware supplier, for over 30 new doors to be installed in the new layout of the building.


Results of the Chicago Area Runners Association on-line survey of the Scenic 5 & More race came in this week. Over 100 runners rated the 2009 edition. On 13 organizational categories (scale of Poor-Fair-Good-Excellent-Outstanding) between 64% and 90% rated items either Excellent or Outstanding. 90% rated ‘traffic and course marshals’ in the top two rankings. 85% of respondents gave the event an overall rank of Excellent or Outstanding and 92% reported they would run the race again.

Freedom Hall

The first new seats graced the Manilow Theatre this weekend. Installation is complete, except for a few detail adjustments that need to be made. This is a project that has taken a long time in the planning. Attendees at the various Series events will be in for a pleasant surprise.

Source: Village of Park Forest Weekly Manager’s Report