Managing Park Forest Week of September 7, 2009


Park Forest Village Hall. (Photo: Wendy Heise)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– September 7, 2009.

Village Hall Closed

Village Hall will be closed on Monday, September 7 in observance of the Labor Day Holiday. Village Hall will reopen for business at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8.

Village Board Rules Meetings

The Village’s Board’s Rules Meeting that would usually take place on Monday, September 7, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, September 8 at 8 p.m.

The next Saturday morning Rules Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 12 at 10 a.m.

Meetings take place in the Board Conference Room of Village Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Canadian National Update

Village staff continued its ongoing discussions and negotiations with representatives of Canadian National (CN) this week as the Village works toward a series of settlement agreements with the rail company. Residents may recall that in 2008 the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) officially reviewed CN’s proposed acquisition of the EJ&E rail arc, part of which winds through Park Forest across Western Avenue. The STB was in receipt of numerous documents and public comments from Village Officials related to concerns that the community had regarding environmental impacts such as traffic congestion, impacts on economic development efforts at Norwood Square Shopping Center, and adverse implications with emergency response operations along Western Avenue. These concerns were tied to the anticipated increase in trains along the EJ&E rail arc that would lead to a 400% increase in rail traffic passing through Park Forest. In spite of Park Forest’s efforts and those of other communities along the rail arc, the STB approved CN’s proposed acquisition in late-January 2009.

In the months since, Village Staff has convened numerous meetings and conference calls related to CN’s interest in 1) complying with STB suggestions that the rail company seek Voluntary Mitigation Agreements with impacted communities along the rail arc; and 2) purchasing a portion of Village-owned property which will help facilitate CN’s construction of a switch rail from east/west bound lines to north/south bound lines. The result of the sessions with CN is a series of agreements with the rail company that will be presented to the Village Board for its consideration. It is likely that discussion and approval of these agreements will take place at the Board Meetings on Tuesday, September 8 and Monday, September 14 and if necessary, Tuesday, September 29.

Residents with questions regarding CN or the agreements noted above can contact the Village Manager’s Office at 708-748-1129.

Strategic Planning

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 discussions of the framework for the upcoming strategic planning efforts as they relate to the 2010-2011 fiscal year. And while the document will not be officially in place until July 1, 2010, advance planning is already underway. Dates on the calendar include a financial update of revenues/expenses on the mornings of Saturday, October 3, 2009 (beginning at 8:30 a.m.) and a Board goal-setting session on Saturday, October 31, 2009 (beginning at 9 a.m.). Both sessions will take place in the Board Room of Village Hall. Residents are always welcome to attend. Plans are also in the works for a strategic planning lecture which might include invitations being sent to other taxing districts serving the residents of Park Forest.

Park Forest Community Development


This week, 200 inspections were performed. These included new construction, re-occupancy, inspector initiated and referral/complaint.

In Civil Court action on property maintenance code enforcement matters, under the directive of the court, several actions took place in addressing problem properties. Meanwhile, 381 Blackhawk was scheduled in the Adjudication Hearing Process.

Park Forest Economic Development

New Signs

Village staff interviewed two sign contractors who submitted proposals for a new sign at US 30 and Orchard Drive. Both contractors propose using Watchfire Signs, from Danville, Illinois, for the LED portion of the sign. Watchfire brought a demonstration truck to the Village to enable staff to see what the LED sign will look like. This will help ensure that a sign is recommended that will best meet the Village’s needs for visibility and clarity. The goal is to bring a recommendation to the Board for a new sign by the end of September, and to complete construction of the new sign this calendar year.

Planning Workshop

Four Plan Commissioners attended a Planning Leadership workshop sponsored by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on Saturday, August 22. At the Plan Commission meeting held on September 1, a presentation was made to the entire Commission about the workshop.

Good Egg Award

The Good Egg Award Committee met to review nominations and selected two Park Foresters: Commission on Human Relations Chair, Alfreda Keller, and Sherry M. Marnell. A reception and awards ceremony will be held prior to the Board of Trustees’ meeting on Monday, September 14, from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Park Forest Fire Department


The Fire Department responded to 60 calls for assistance this past week including 10 double calls and 1 triple call. Automatic aid assistance was provided twice to Matteson and three times to University Park.

New Employee

Welcome wishes are extended to Nicole Hallberg who began work on September 1 as the Fire Department’s new part-time office assistant.


Members of the career division are reviewing the features, use and maintenance of the department’s thermal imaging cameras. Though the cameras are from the same manufacturer, they are different models and therefore have slightly different features.

This week members of A-Shift are reviewing the Incident Action Plan for Monday’s Scenic 5 Mile Run & More. The IAP process is a new venture for the fire department and is aimed at more complete compliance with National Incident Management System (NIMS) requirements for emergency operations. By using IAP’s for planned tasks, members will be more familiar with them in actual larger scale emergencies and will transition to their use more ready.

Members of the Paid-On-Call (POC) division spent their training time learning about master stream devices. These deluge and deck guns flow significant amounts of water at fires in order to assist in controlling large incidents. Members of the POC division went through the operation of the deck gun on Engine 54 and a ground mounted deluge gun, similar to the one carried on Engine 56.

State Technical Rescue Team Validation

This week, Deputy Chief Bruce Ziegle and Firefighter/Paramedic Bill Brei assisted in the State’s technical rescue team validation exercise. Each year the Illinois Terrorism Task Force brings 10 technical rescue disciplines. Deputy Chief Ziegle will be working with the command and control group overseeing the exercise, while Firefighter/Paramedic Brei will be assisting at one of the scenario sites.

Park Forest Police Department

Senior Services Provider Network

Officer LaTara Chaney attended the Senior Services Provider Network training class held at the Harvey YMCA on managing and responding to Alzheimer sufferer’s complaints. The class is for Police Officers and any other organization that might come in contact with the patients.

Safe Halloween

Safe Halloween participant applications will be mailed out the middle of September. Anyone interested in attending, donating or volunteering can contact Officer Chaney at 708-748-9536 or [email protected].

Mediation Training

Governors State University is hosting mediation training for Restorative Justice Programs on September 19 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the university. The program is for victim/offender mediation and peer juries for those people who are interested in becoming a mediator.

Park Forest Public Works

Smoke Testing

Smoke testing was completed last week. Baxter and Woodman will be analyzing the data and will be preparing a report on their findings.

Lincoln Highway Gazebo

The concrete work for the Illinois Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway Interpretive Gazebo was completed this week which included the handicapped sidewalk to the entrance of the gazebo. The landscape and carpentry work is scheduled for October 2009.

Field Operations

Street sweeping was completed last week. A watermain break was repaired at 225 South Orchard. A storm sewer repair at Westwood Drive and Rich Court was completed. Sanitary sewers were cleaned and street lights relamped/repaired. Storm sewer inlets were cleaned in response to a rain even on August 27. A 2” valve was repaired at 1 Hemlock.

Water Plant

Water Plant Operator Bill Gott began a 10-week course at the Kallsen Center in Tinley Park for an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency C & D Water Operator Class.

Stewart Spreading continues hauling out the sludge at the lime lagoon.

Recreation and Parks

Aqua Center

Bids were received for the bathhouse project on August 27. Over 50 bidders attended the opening and a total of 73 bids were received in 16 different trades. The Architect and Construction Manager are now analyzing the bids. Bids for several items were taken as ‘alternates’ that may not be accepted to keep the project within budget. After a recommendation is prepared, the Board is expected to have it on their September 8 Rules Meeting agenda with approval scheduled for the September 14 meeting. Members of the parks staff have made good progress removing contents of the bathhouse and the old concession building to clear them for the work. If all goes well, construction is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 15.


The live draft for the Second Annual Recreation & Parks Fantasy Football League took place at Village Hall this past Sunday evening. This season, the Southtown Star will actively participate in the 12 team league by entering a team. Also, watch the Star for weekly standings of the league. For more information, call Kevin Adams at 708-748-2005.

Source: Village of Park Forest Weekly Manager’s Report