Thomas Brown, the East Hazel Crest mayor and lawyer for Palos Heights, is happy his village is one step closer to getting a casino. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)
East Hazel Crest to cut Palos Heights in on casino
By Jeff Vorva
The Illinois Gaming Board awarded a casino to an area divided between Homewood and East Hazel Crest and the towns plan to give nearby communities a small piece of the action.
Palos Heights, Orland Park and Worth are three of a host of communities that will receive a small percentage of the adjusted gross revenue generated by the casino.
Thomas A. Brown, the mayor of East Hazel Crest, is the attorney for Palos Heights and he was a happy man on Dec. 8, when he got the word that his village had earned the bid.
“I want to thank them for saving a village,” Brown told ABC7. “They saved our little village of 1,300 people.”
And it will give a little revenue to many communities in the south suburbs as well when it opens in 2023.
The proposed 70,000-square-foot casino will be on a 24-acre site at Interstate 80 and Halsted Street. It will have a hotel and entertainment and could open up 800 jobs.
Gambling in Palos Heights has been rejected over the years by the board and a citizens vote in a referendum for gaming machines.
But Ald. Jerry McGovern has been bringing it back up after area restaurants and bars took a beating during the pandemic shutdowns of 2020.
He had planned last Tuesday to revisit discussions about the machines at a License, Permits and Franchises Committee meeting.
“I first started this in December or January and then I let it die for a while,” McGovern said. “But I didn’t let it die because I was doing all of my research.
“Now I’m comfortable with what I have, and I really feel that it’s time to bring it back out again.”
He knows people will still oppose his moves.
“I’m sure there will be, but I’m optimistic,” he said. “People are going to come out and tell me that it was defeated in the referendum three years ago.
“But three years ago, you didn’t have all of these advertisements on TV,” he said. “Every commercial during the Bears game or Bulls game or Sox game has gambling. They want to add two casinos in the city of Chicago. And now we will have one far south.”
The council voted 5-3 against allowing gambling in 2013.
Michael McGrogan, McGovern and the late Alan Fulkerson voted in favor of video poker machines.
Voting against were former council member Dolores Kramarski and current members Don Bylut, Robert Basso, Jeffrey Key and Jack Clifford.
The referendum in 2018 lost 3,319 to 2,522.
“Times have changed,” McGovern said. “When we had our vote, Orland Park did not have it. Now Palos Park even brought it up. We are an island. We have a business district we need to build up over the years.”
McGovern insists that this is for the businesses who were hit hard in 2020 and who continues to lose business because surrounding communities have the machines.
Getting the machines into the businesses is still going to be a process.
“It’s not mandatory for every restaurant to have them,” he said. “All you are doing is opening the door to give the restaurant owners an option. Then he still has to go four or six months, eight months, for license preparation before he puts his first machine in. And there is a hell of an added expense into it.”
Area Sports Roundup: Orland Park Pioneers honored; local hoops teams win Thanksgiving tourney titles
By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Two youth football teams teams were honored by the Orland Park Village Board for winning Super Bowl championships in their respective divisions. The Orland Park Pioneers’ varsity and super lightweight players received awards and recognition Nov. 21 from the board and Mayor Keith Pekau, who has the distinction of playing…
Pritzker won, now you’ll pay
By Ray Hanania If you listened to Gov. JB Pritzker’s campaign rhetoric, you would think Illinois was well on its way to economic recovery. Pritzker threw a few hundred dollars at us in state tax money, spent hundreds of millions on himself and to help Darren Bailey win the GOP primary last June. Then he…
Cook County Board approve Aguilar’s proposal for a sheriff’s helicopter
The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted overwhelmingly last week to approve Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar’s proposal to lease a helicopter to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. While Cook County is among the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, its helicopter fleet lags far behind other large urban areas. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has…
Football Class 5A State Championship: Roadrunners win shootout for fourth state title
By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth opened the season in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season the afternoon of Nov. 26 with a 45-44 win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign to take the IHSA Class 5A state championship. In between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and…
EPCHS art teacher draws something every day In Inktober
A series of drawings from Evergreen Park Community High School art teacher Libby McArthur will grace the walls of the Evergreen Park Public Library through the end of November. The drawings, collectively known as her ‘Inktober’ collection, were made during October. McArthur took part in a worldwide drawing month activity that had specific prompts for…
OLCHS Thanksgiving food drive a success
OLCHS students and staff participated in the annual Student Council Thanksgiving food drive. Cans, paper goods and over $1,750 in cash/gift cards were collected on November 21. Participating teachers were DeMatteo, Hennelly, Jepsen, Kallenborn, Kolimas, La Spina, Meyers, Strelow, Vazzana, Watson and Wirtz. Numerous district offices also donated items. The winner of Student Council’s handmade “Turkey Chalice” award was Eric…
Palos Park Police Cadet food drive underway
The Palos Park Police Cadet program is in holiday season mode and the program’s annual Holiday Food Drive is well underway. Cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department, 8999 W. 123rd Street. Collections will continue through…
Orland Township to hold Bingo with Santa
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, don’t think twice about attending Orland Township’s Bingo with Santa! Children and their families are invited to join Santa Claus and Supervisor Paul O’Grady with the Board of Trustees in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with pizza and a fun game of Holiday Bingo, just for…
Food prices high, but supply strong
By Richard Guebert Jr. Americans look forward to celebrating the simplest of gifts and gathering with family and friends around the table during the holiday season. It is also often a time of giving thanks as Illinois farmers mark the end of another growing season. The past few years have confronted all Americans to pivot,…
Moving towards an abortion amendment
By Rich Miller The Illinois Senate Republicans’ new leader, John Curran, told Capitol News Illinois the other day that there was nothing left to do on the abortion topic in Illinois. “The reality is, what else can we do here in Illinois?” Sen. Curran said. “The laws of Illinois are more weighted towards guarantees of…
Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – People walking through downtown Springfield on Monday morning looked up to an unusual sight – a helicopter hovering over the Old State Capitol, dropping a rope and lifting away the flagpole that sat atop the bronze-colored dome. “We took off the flagpole of at the Old…
Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who recently announced he has the support for another term as House speaker, says he looks forward to governing with an even larger supermajority than he had during his first two years. “Expanding our caucus was definitely a priority of…
Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Senate Minority Leader-elect John Curran will take over a caucus that’s more than doubled in size by the majority-party Democrats. His goal: “Bring balance to state government.” “Because we’re going to produce better results with that balance for working families throughout all Illinois communities,” Curran said…
CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, Nov. 15, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers Grove.…
With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Changes may yet come to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform before its Jan. 1 effective date, but some of its major proponents in the General Assembly said the results of the Nov. 8 general election have signified that the ship has sailed drastic amendments to…
McCombie to take reins of House GOP caucus
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Tony McCombie said Wednesday that her top priority when she becomes the next House minority leader will be to rebuild the GOP caucus following last week’s elections that were, for Republicans, a disappointment. “The top priority is to bring balance to the Republican Party,”…
GOP chooses new leadership in General Assembly as Dems retain control
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers…
Right to unionize amendment projected to pass
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois voters have approved a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing workers the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining. Estimates compiled by multiple media outlets projected Tuesday that the ballot measure had support on an estimated 53 percent of the total ballots cast in the election,…
Theis, sworn in as chief justice, says partisanship has no role on state Supreme Court
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Mary Jane Theis was sworn in as chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday in a public ceremony, becoming the fourth woman to hold the gavel since the court was created in 1818. By next month, the Democrat will find herself presiding over a…
CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats maintain control in Illinois
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – As votes continued to be tallied this week, returns showed Illinois Democrats would hold every statewide elected office and maintain supermajorities in the General Assembly while extending their majority on the Illinois Supreme Court. After a fiery election night speech in which Gov. JB Pritzker excoriated the Republican Party…