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Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau discusses the next steps in the Downtown Triangle project at the May 2 board meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau discusses the next steps in the Downtown Triangle project at the May 2 board meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

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Pekau says Orland Park is trying to fix Triangle ‘disaster’

By Jeff Vorva

It’s almost like Oliver Hardy turning to Stan Laurel and saying, “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into,” in the old movie comedies.

Whenever progress on the Orland Park Main Street Triangle is made, Mayor Keith Pekau can’t resist taking shots at previous village boards for what he says is a project that got the village in a financial mess years ago.

“None of us were here, when this disaster started,” Pekau said. “We sunk $100 million into it. None of us here had anything to do with that. We’re trying to correct that.”

Months ago, the village hired Edwards Realty to consult and draw up plans for improvement for the nine-acre area and some of those plans include multi-story buildings to house office space and apartments as well as a large amphitheater to bring in entertainment and events to the village.

The board voted on May 2 to accept contract proposals during a 45-day period with residential use not to exceed 45 percent of the project.

Big money is going to go into this project, but Pekau said the current board is trying to turn a bad situation into something that will benefit the residents of Orland Park.

“It’s been a challenge for us for a long time – over 20 years,” the mayor said. “It’s something that burdens the board, our management team and there are a lot of reasons why we have the financial issues because of that project. It’s a glaring example of why government doesn’t belong in development.

“Keep government doing what they should do. Keep them out of the things they shouldn’t because it really straps the government from being able to do the things they should.”

Originally, the proposal for the board to vote on was that no more than 55 percent of the project but Pekau jettisoned that idea and insisted on 45 percent.

“My personal opinion is that we saw what the people of Orland Park wanted and residential ain’t one of them,” he said. “We want to minimize residential as much as possible. I would say 45 percent is the maximum.”

Master plan for buildings

The board is also looking into a master plan for 21 buildings in the village including Village Hall, the Civic Center, the Franklin Loebe Center, the Centennial Park Aquatic Center, the Cultural Arts Center, the Sportsplex, the police station and more.

Lagat Architects of Chicago and Oak Brook drew up a long-range plan on improvements and repairs needed. The total for the 10-year project would be a shade over $49 million.

In 2022, the Loebe Center would get the most attention with $1.5 million of work that needs to be done.

1 Comment

  1. Susan mcmillan on May 12, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    What is the triangle?

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