Orland Park resident Peter Vrdolyak addresses the Orland Park Board of Trustees Monday night with concerns about changes to be made at Schussler Park. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)
Orland Park park projects meet with some public resistance
By Jeff Vorva
With the exception of a few engineering decisions that have to be finalized, some of Orland Parks parks are ready for some major face-lifts.
But not everyone is happy with the proposed plans.
The two parks receiving the most attention in the coming years will be Schussler Park and Centennial Park West.
The initial phase cost for Schussler Park will be $9.1 million and will have two new turf football fields. While the two fields will be used more for practice than games, there will be games and bleachers and a press box are also expected to be erected.
The fourth rendition of these plans was revealed at Monday night’s Village of Orland Park Committee of the Whole meeting and were drawn up after several public meetings took place with the village seeking input.
Centennial Park West has an initial phase price tag of $10.7 million and among the changes include a permanent state for entertainment. In recent years, the village has sponsored free and paid concerts and pays money to rent out temporary staging areas. And the village plans on continuing hosting concerts.
The Schussler Park improvements should satisfy the Orland Park Pioneers organization. Members of that football and cheerleading organization came to meetings in 2019 and 2020 to complain when the John Humphrey Complex was being worked on and the organization had to scramble to find places to practice.
But some residents in the Schussler Park neighborhood, located near Silver Lake Country Club, brought concerns to Monday’s meeting. Those who spoke worried about parking, noise, putting in turf, taking out turf and other issues.
Resident Peter Vrdolyak, who said he has been involved in youth sports and has been on youth boards, asked the board to reconsider some aspects of the plan because of the turf and traffic and added that the football fields should be moved to Centennial Park.
Resident James Dewey suggested the fields be made of grass to help with drainage.
Mayor Keith Pekau said Schussler Field has had drainage problems for years and installing turf will help alleviate that problem.
“We have a town of 60,000 people and we will never, ever, ever get everyone to agree,” he said. “What we’ve heard is ‘we want fields at Schussler Park, but not football fields.’ We’ve heard ‘we want football, but not there.’ We’ve heard ‘we want parks but not where I live.’
“I encourage everyone to take a step back and understand how hard this board and our staff worked to put us in a financial position where we could actually do this kind of work to our major parks. Most towns can’t do that. We’re able to do that through COVID.”
He added that people don’t always get what they want and that naysayers should enjoy what they have.
“You are not going to get everything you want at every park,” he said. “If we have a blank check, maybe we can get what we want. We’re doing the best we can with what we have and it’s going to be a remarkable upgrade.”
Persistence pays off
Pekau and Police Chief Joseph Mitchell were proactive in their belief that recently arrested Nikolas Burch receiving a $5,000 bond for resisting/obstruction and two counts of armed habitual criminal was unjust.
Burch, of Calumet City, had been on parole for armed robbery and attempted murder.
The two Orland bosses made noise about it – Pekau in the media and social media and Mitchell with some phone calls to the Department of Justice. They got results.
“The Justice Department put a hold on Nickolas Burch’s release,” Pekau said. “The case was referred to a new judge and he rescinded the previous bond and said that Mr. Burch would be held with no bond and will remain in custody.
“If we would have been complacent and allowed another violent criminal on the streets, something much, much worse could have happened.”
Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police
By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…
Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland
By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…
Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday
From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…
Hurley says August 15 is deadline to apply for Illinois State Police
State Rep. Fran Hurley is encouraging interested Illinois State Police candidates to apply by Monday, Aug. 15, to be considered for the January 2023 cadet class. “For those who want to pursue a career of service, this is a wonderful opportunity to work for a great organization that supports its members,” Hurley said. “It is…
Cunningham to host Shred Day, Mobile Health Screening and Prescription Take Back
State Senator Bill Cunningham will be joined by other Chicago elected officials for a shred day, mobile health screening and prescription take back event at Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences on Friday, Aug. 12. “As we head into the height of summer it is important that we take time to check in with ourselves…
Grand opening of District 122 Fine Arts Center
Ridgeland School District 22 will host a grand opening from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, August 11, of the district’s new Fine Arts Center at 6440 W. 95th St. in Oak Lawn, next to Simmons Middle School.
Palos Heights SD128 to hold preschool screenings
Palos Heights School District 128 will be conducting a screening for all children residing within district boundaries who are 3 to 5 years of age. The screening will be held at Indian Hill School, 12800 S. Austin, on Tuesday, August 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Areas of development assessed include speech and language,…
Justice student wins Moraine Valley Foundation auto tech scholarship
From staff reports The Moraine Valley Foundation announced Tomas Martinez, of Justice, was the recipient of the 2022 Palos Heights Beautification Committee Automotive Technology Scholarship. The announcement was made at the Palos Heights Classic Car Event on July 21. The Palos Heights Beautification Committee started this scholarship in 2021 to help support Moraine Valley Community…
Chicago man arrested after holding co-workers hostage in Chicago Ridge
By Bob Bong A Chicago man has been charged after holding two employees at gunpoint Monday morning at Redline Towing in Chicago Ridge. Police said officers were dispatched at 10:50 a.m. to Redline Towing, 10103 Kitty Avenue, for an employee threatening his co-workers. Police said a man identified as Anan K. Abudayek, of Chicago, was…
‘Coach Q’ era begins at Brother Rice
By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer You might say the man they call “Coach Q” was as cool as a Q-cumber on the first day of high school football practice for the 2022 season. As an assistant coach, Casey Quedenfeld helped Episcopal High School in Texas win a private school state championship in 2019. He also…
State lays out $34.6B multi-year spending plan for roads, bridges, ports, airports, rail and transit
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday laid out a $34.6 billion six-year spending plan for road, bridge, transit, rail, airport and port upkeep. It’s the latest multi-year plan backed by the state’s 2019 Rebuild Illinois bipartisan infrastructure law, which doubled the state’s motor fuel tax…
2022 Illinois State Fair officially opens
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The 2022 Illinois State Fair officially got underway Thursday when Gov. JB Pritzker and Secretary of State Jesse White cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of the main entrance to the fairgrounds. “As many of you know, the Illinois State Fair, one of my favorite events…
CAPITOL RECAP: State Fair begins in Springfield
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois State Fair organizers unveiled the 101st State Fair butter cow Wednesday, an unofficial kickoff of the fair which began Thursday, Aug. 11, and runs through Aug. 21. The sculpture – by Iowan Sarah Pratt – consists of more than 800 pounds of recycled butter…
‘Grow with Us’ State Fair, butter cow theme a nod to agriculture, infrastructure
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois State Fair organizers unveiled the 101st State Fair butter cow Wednesday, an unofficial kickoff of the fair which begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 21. The sculpture – by Iowan Sarah Pratt – consists of more than 800 pounds of recycled…
Pritzker eying Indiana firms after abortion law signed
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker said this week that he is actively reaching out to businesses in Indiana and other states that have recently passed restrictive abortion laws in hopes of luring those companies to Illinois. “Well, already I’ve reached out to companies that are affected in…
Regulatory work behind 1 million EV push in full swing in Illinois
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Ten months after Illinois lawmakers passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act which set a goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on state roads by the end of the decade, state agencies are engaged in a flurry of regulatory planning aimed at meeting those goals.…
10-day sales tax reduction on clothing, school supplies begins Friday
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Friday and lasting through Aug. 14, the state will reduce its sales tax rate from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent for certain clothing items costing less than $125 and school supplies. The “tax holiday” was included in Gov. JB Pritzker’s “family relief plan,” one prong…
Pritzker highlights Rebuild Illinois funding for Cahokia Heights sewers, Rend Lake Resort
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinoi [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – When state lawmakers voted on bipartisan lines in 2019 to double Illinois’ motor fuel tax and raise several driving-related fees, it laid the groundwork for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, the largest in Illinois’ history and the first in nearly a decade. The plan, spanning six…
CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats choose Hernandez as new party chair
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – The vote for state Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez as the Democratic Party of Illinois’ first Latino chairwoman was unanimous and uneventful Saturday morning – the drama had occurred in the days prior in a power struggle of some of the state’s most prominent Democrats. Hernandez was backed Gov. JB…
Pritzker: Monkeypox disaster declaration will aid in vaccine distribution
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker issued a public health emergency declaration and declared Illinois a disaster area in response to the monkeypox virus Monday, a move his office said would help mobilize resources. The governor’s office said the proclamation will aid in moving vaccines to the most impacted…