Lakeside Bank 2022.July
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Says ComEd’s Response Lacking

Oak Lawn Board Is Frustrated with Utility Following Monday’s Storm

The aftermath of the storm that created havoc in Oak Lawn on Monday was the subject of much debate during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday night.

While the storm caused serious damage to homes due to falling trees and limbs, Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) said ComEd’s reaction following the heavy rains was ineffective at best.

ÒI’m personally disappointed with ComEd,” said Olejniczak. ÒComEd people didn’t have a plan. ComEd said power would be back on Thursday. That is unacceptable.”

Other trustees were in agreement that ComEd officials could have done more after Monday night’s storm raced through the village, causing serious damage to homes in some areas.

Trustee Tim Desmond (1st) did not attend the meeting due to the death of his father.

ÒTrustees were out there and we didn’t see any coordination by ComEd,” added Olejniczak. ÒThey had no boots on the ground after the storm.”

Olejniczak estimated that more than 4,000 households were without power after the storm. He added that many residents were not able to watch the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory over Boston due to no electrical power.

ÒWe were at a meeting earlier with ComEd and they had no answers,” added Olejniczak. ÒThey do not do a good job of preventive maintenance.”

Olejniczak asked the board to consider filing a complaint to the Illinois Commerce Commission for what he said was a lack of urgency displayed by ComEd after the storm.

ÒI’m fed up,” said Olejniczak. ÒWe need better, reliable service.”

Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury echoed Olejniczak’s sentiments by saying that she was Òvery disappointed” with ComEd.

Bury joined Olejniczak on Monday night to inspect the damage and check with residents following the storm. Both said they had not seen a ComEd truck as of 11 p.m. Monday night.

Larry Deetjen, the Oak Lawn village manager, was also disappointed with ComEd. He was frustrated that no senior officials from ComEd attended a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Deetjen also pointed out that there was no power at 95th and Cook and 95th and Central. Many people were out celebrating the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory and it could have been dangerous, Deetjen added.

ÒI’m disappointed with ComEd,” said Deetjen. ÒI hope the board reaches out to their CEO. That’s why we went to aggregation in the first place. At least we have saved the residents some money.”

Also being considered was a request to assign 20 parking spaces on the first floor of the Metra parking garage for the use of employees and employers of local businesses.

Trustee Carol Quinlan (5th) had some concerns about the proposal. She felt that the parking should be on a first come, first-served basis.

ÒMy big thing is that the commuters pay and they pay for prime spots,” Quinlan said. ÒWho is going to pay for those spots? Are the businesses going to pay for those spots? Talking to commuters they are very upset. They don’t want to give up those spots.”

Bury replied that as far as first come, first served in regards to parking, the corporation considering to locate near the Metra station pointed out there is a lack of parking.

The franchise requested 30 to 50 spots but the village worked out a compromise of 20 parking spaces, excluding the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum.

Quinlan countered that if that is the case, other businesses like Starbucks could also make such requests. Where is the line going to be drawn, she asked.

ÒIt’s an experiment,” said Deetjen. ÒWe start with 20. They wanted 30 to 50. But right now what I’m hearing (from businesses) is that we are not parking-friendly.”

Deetjen added that the garage is underutilized right now and a partnership with businesses needs to be developed.

Trustee Mike Carberry (6th) then suggested developing the whole first floor for businesses.

After a brief pause, Deetjen said Carberry’s suggestion was well worth noting.

The board agreed to consider the matter at a later date.

In other news, Bury read and presented a proclamation to members of the Illinois Combat Wounded Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart. She thanked them for supporting causes and projects in Oak Lawn. She also said that Oak Lawn Òis officially the Purple Heart Village.”

Olejniczak also thanked those residents and community leaders who took part in the second Oak Lawn Bicycle Tour. The nine-mile tour drew a large crowd of participants of all ages, including an 83-year-old, said Olejniczak.

During the question-and-answer session before the meeting, a resident said that he heard a rumor that Mariano’s Fresh Markets, destined to be the anchor store at the 111th Street and Cicero TIF site, was pulling out of the project to locate in Evergreen Park instead.

Deetjen responded that Bob Mariano, owner of Mariano’s Fresh Markets, is indeed locating in Evergreen Park. They plan to open a store in Frankfort, as well. However, Mariano’s is still definitely coming to Oak Lawn, Deetjen pointed out.

Village Clerk Jane Quinlan said that she and Bury attended a variety of events this past weekend.

She noted that Sunday was the final Mass celebrated by the Rev. William Corcoran, the pastor at St. Linus Parish. Corcoran will soon be leaving St. Linus. Jane Quinlan said that the Mass was well attended and very emotional.

The next Oak Lawn Village Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9.

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