University of Chicago Medicine Breast Cancer June 2022

Residents, biz owners debate video gaming

OrlandParkBoardPic554

                                                                             Photo by Dermot Connolly
An Orland Park resident addresses the village board during a town hall meeting held Monday

at the Orland Park Civic Center to discuss the possibility of legalizing video gaming in the village.

          At least 100 people were on hand at the Orland Park Civic Center Monday to discuss the possibility of allowing video gaming in the village.

An ordinance banning video gaming in Orland Park has been on the books since 2009, but village officials acknowledged publicly last month that they are considering lifting the ban. The village board agreed to host a series of three town hall meetings to get input from residents. Monday’s meeting was the first and the opinions shared were certainly mixed.

         

“As the new guy around here, it was suggested that I am behind this idea. But I was not the guy pushing for this,” said Mayor Keith Pekau, who was elected in April.

Instead, it was the owners of local bars and restaurants who have been asking the village board to overturn the ban, so they can better compete with businesses in neighboring communities that allow video gaming. Making up for reduced sales tax revenue coming in to the village also spurred the idea of making a change.

“In my opinion, the state should not have approved gambling. But now, we’re surrounded by it and we’re looking at it in-depth, as it should be done,” said the mayor, who was joined by five trustees on the dais at the meeting.

Pekau and other village officials have already met with local religious leaders to discuss the issue, and a draft ordinance is available for viewing in the documents section of the village website. But the mayor and the five trustees who joined him at the meeting agreed that the ordinance still needs work before they would support it.

Before opening the meeting to public comment, Village Manager Joe La Margo reviewed an economic impact study done by Crowe-Horwath on the economic effect that video gaming is likely to have on the village. The study analyzed video gaming revenue data of six nearby municipalities with comparable median per capita income, and found that video gaming could contribute an estimated $415,135 in tax revenue into the village annually.

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy said that police departments in neighboring communities that do offer video gaming have found that it has not caused any crime in the businesses that do have the terminals.

Jim Harmening was among the residents who spoke out against allowing video gaming. “It changes the character of community,” he said, pointing to the 159th Street business districts of neighboring communities such as Tinley Park and Orland Hills as an example.

He also pointed to studies showing that “people who are addicted to gambling” generate 30-60 percent of the revenue generated by video gaming.

Harmening asserted that each problem gambler costs $8,000 to $15,000 in social costs.

Mike Halleran, whose family owns Orland Bowl, said video gaming is necessary for his business to survive.

“For all those who talk about the social issues, whether we pass it here or not, (the gamblers) are going to do it,” he said.

“I have three competitors within my industry in neighboring communities with video gaming. I feel I should be able to compete in my industry, but I can’t the way it is now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I don’t have that revenue stream (that the other bowling alleys do),” said Halleran.

“I don’t know why I should be punished. The cat’s out of the bag. It will never be unanimous. But the most important vote is the money.”

Tim McCarthy, the owner of Paddy B’s bar and restaurant, said his business located on Will-Cook Road “is being run out of town” because it cannot compete with businesses in nearby Homer Glen and elsewhere that offer gaming.

“We support what is going on with the draft ordinance. We have to have that playing field leveled,” he said, noting that he was speaking for 10 bars and restaurants in Orland Park experiencing similar problems.

“I don’t do much gambling. But all the villages that have it are making money on it. We have to create more money. The gamblers that have a problem will go somewhere else. It’s a no-brainer to have this,” said resident William Barra.

“The board has no duty to level the playing field for bars and restaurants. The board does have a duty to protect residents. Anyone who believes there is no harm in bringing in gambling has not studied the issue,” said Michelle Halm.

“You do listen to your residents. This is a family village, with great schools and parks. It is a big village with a small-town feel,” said Susan Dalton, a longtime resident and District 230 school board member opposed to allowing video gaming.

“When the original ordinance banning video gaming was passed in 2009, five of us were not on the board. Things have changed,” said Trustee Carole Ruzich. “But the draft ordinance is still a work in progress. We don’t want gambling parlors. We don’t want a Vegas look to our town. It would be restricted to Class A licenses, meaning restaurants.”

Trustee Mike Carroll noted that the village already prohibits flashing lights on signs, but cannot legally control what is written on them.

         

“If some of these restrictions currently in the draft cannot be enforced, I think it would be a problem for a lot of us,” said Ruzich.

The trustees said they expect to have more information at the remaining two town hall meetings, set for 7 p.m. Dec. 11 and Jan. 8, at the Civic Center, 14750 S. Ravinia Drive.

Local News

reichman jewelers robbed

Oak Lawn jewelry store employee shot during robbery

By Bob Bong An employee at Reichman Jewelers in Oak Lawn was shot and critically wounded during a robbery Friday afternoon. Oak Lawn police said they responded to an armed robbery at 2 p.m. at the store at 4439 W. 95th St., across the street from Advocate Christ Medical Center. Police said they found one…

happy fourth of july - Copy

Evergreen Park, Summit fireworks kick off fun-filled Fourth of July weekend

By Bob Bong Evergreen Park’s parade and fireworks along with a party in the park and fireworks in Summit and the inaugural four-day Lyons Fest will start off what promises to be a fun-filled and noisy Fourth of July weekend in the area. Evergreen Park Evergreen Park native and Olympic silver medalist, Abbey Murphy, will…

Summit water tower

Summit names acting police chief, public works director

By Carol McGowan Summit Police Lt. Mel Ortiz has been named acting police chief to replace John Kosmowski and Jerry Rosales was appointed interim public works director to replace Bill Mundy. Both Kosmowski and Mundy are on unpaid leave after having been indicted by a federal grand jury. The appointments were announced earlier this month.…

Tatumn Milazzo was named one of the top players in the NWSL in June. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Milazzo, Pugh named to NWSL’s Best XI for June

  By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer She’s not just the Chicago area’s secret anymore. The progress of Orland Park native Tatumn Milazzo as a professional soccer player is not catching only Chicago’s attention, but that of the NWSL. The second-year Chicago Red Stars defender opened her career seeing a lot of bench time early in…

Back of the Yards graduate Roxy Herrera receives a hug after winning an award for being one of the top goalies in the country on Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Clean Sheet: Back of the Yards grad Roxy Herrera honored as one of top high school goalies in U.S.

Jeff Vorva Staff writer Roxy Herrera thinks she was 9 or 10 years old when she was the new kid on the Pumas soccer team in Gage Park. Thus, she was immediately used as a goalie for the first time in her life. “They told me the new player plays in goal,” Herrera said. “So,…

Democrat Jonathan Jackson (standing, at left) helps his famous father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. (seated), vote on June 28. --Supplied photo

Jackson, Carlson headed for left-right clash in 1st

Danny Davis triumphs; will be unopposed this fall By Tim Hadac While the Sean Casten-Marie Newman clash of incumbents appeared to draw the most attention of all congressional races on the Southwest Side, two other races made news on June 28. In the battle to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st), Jonathan Jackson…

Kathy Headley

Farewell and thanks to Nathan, Connor and David

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 As June ends, we at St. Rita of Casica Parish and St. Clare of Montefalco Shrine sadly say goodbye to Nathan Fernandes, Connor Fitzmaurice and David Marshall. The three are pre-novices discerning a vocation to the priesthood in…

Peggy Zabicki

Grateful for the freedoms we have

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Happy Birthday USA! I am so grateful for the freedom we have in our wonderful country. I hope those who choose to celebrate our freedom by lighting illegal fireworks will be arrested by our police, who I hope will have the…

Laura Ortega

Graduations are so bittersweet

By Laura Ortega Your correspondent in Greater Ashburn 4214 W. 82nd Place • (773) 627-6679 Congratulations to the Class of 2022! It’s bittersweet to see everyone graduate, especially when you can remember those same individuals graduating kindergarten not so long ago. A huge congratulations to my daughter, Liliana, who graduated eighth grade. I look forward…

Mary Stanek

Peck playlot taking shape

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that makes a great difference in our lives” – Fred Rogers. Who remembers the play lots of the 60s and 70s? Can you recall…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
reichman jewelers robbed

Oak Lawn jewelry store employee shot during robbery

By Bob Bong An employee at Reichman Jewelers in Oak Lawn was shot and critically wounded during a robbery Friday afternoon. Oak Lawn police said they responded to an armed robbery at 2 p.m. at the store at 4439 W. 95th St., across the street from Advocate Christ Medical Center. Police said they found one…

happy fourth of july - Copy

Evergreen Park, Summit fireworks kick off fun-filled Fourth of July weekend

By Bob Bong Evergreen Park’s parade and fireworks along with a party in the park and fireworks in Summit and the inaugural four-day Lyons Fest will start off what promises to be a fun-filled and noisy Fourth of July weekend in the area. Evergreen Park Evergreen Park native and Olympic silver medalist, Abbey Murphy, will…

Summit water tower

Summit names acting police chief, public works director

By Carol McGowan Summit Police Lt. Mel Ortiz has been named acting police chief to replace John Kosmowski and Jerry Rosales was appointed interim public works director to replace Bill Mundy. Both Kosmowski and Mundy are on unpaid leave after having been indicted by a federal grand jury. The appointments were announced earlier this month.…

Tatumn Milazzo was named one of the top players in the NWSL in June. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Milazzo, Pugh named to NWSL’s Best XI for June

  By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer She’s not just the Chicago area’s secret anymore. The progress of Orland Park native Tatumn Milazzo as a professional soccer player is not catching only Chicago’s attention, but that of the NWSL. The second-year Chicago Red Stars defender opened her career seeing a lot of bench time early in…

Back of the Yards graduate Roxy Herrera receives a hug after winning an award for being one of the top goalies in the country on Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Clean Sheet: Back of the Yards grad Roxy Herrera honored as one of top high school goalies in U.S.

Jeff Vorva Staff writer Roxy Herrera thinks she was 9 or 10 years old when she was the new kid on the Pumas soccer team in Gage Park. Thus, she was immediately used as a goalie for the first time in her life. “They told me the new player plays in goal,” Herrera said. “So,…

Democrat Jonathan Jackson (standing, at left) helps his famous father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. (seated), vote on June 28. --Supplied photo

Jackson, Carlson headed for left-right clash in 1st

Danny Davis triumphs; will be unopposed this fall By Tim Hadac While the Sean Casten-Marie Newman clash of incumbents appeared to draw the most attention of all congressional races on the Southwest Side, two other races made news on June 28. In the battle to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st), Jonathan Jackson…

Kathy Headley

Farewell and thanks to Nathan, Connor and David

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 As June ends, we at St. Rita of Casica Parish and St. Clare of Montefalco Shrine sadly say goodbye to Nathan Fernandes, Connor Fitzmaurice and David Marshall. The three are pre-novices discerning a vocation to the priesthood in…

Peggy Zabicki

Grateful for the freedoms we have

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Happy Birthday USA! I am so grateful for the freedom we have in our wonderful country. I hope those who choose to celebrate our freedom by lighting illegal fireworks will be arrested by our police, who I hope will have the…

Laura Ortega

Graduations are so bittersweet

By Laura Ortega Your correspondent in Greater Ashburn 4214 W. 82nd Place • (773) 627-6679 Congratulations to the Class of 2022! It’s bittersweet to see everyone graduate, especially when you can remember those same individuals graduating kindergarten not so long ago. A huge congratulations to my daughter, Liliana, who graduated eighth grade. I look forward…

Mary Stanek

Peck playlot taking shape

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that makes a great difference in our lives” – Fred Rogers. Who remembers the play lots of the 60s and 70s? Can you recall…

DVN First United Realtors House Ad
Regional Bennett Auto Rebuilders House Ad