Business / Economy / Government

Video Gambling Café One Step Closer To Moving To Roosevelt Road; Kathy’s Kitchen To Relocate From 5th To 17th

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Patrons at Penny’s Place, a video gambling facility in Calumet Park, in 2015. | Gary Middendorf/Daily Southtown

Thursday, March 10, 2016 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 4:02 PM

At a March 9 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees approved a motion to place a request by Lacey’s Place LLC, a proposed video gambling café, for a Class M liquor license onto the agenda of the March 15 regular board meeting for final approval.

The board voted 5-2 in favor of the proposal. Trustees Antoinette Dorris and Ron Rivers voted against the measure.

The March 9 vote wasn’t binding and was only the prelude to what could still turn out to be a rather lengthy approval process even if the board gives the business — which would be located at 611 W. Roosevelt Rd. — its final stamp of approval.

According to village attorney Michael Jurusik, the applicant would still need to address “certain code compliance issues,” such as building out the facility in compliance with state and local codes and paying certain business fees.

“That will be the condition of approval, because that’s part of the template of your stock liquor ordinance … That way, you’re protected,” Jurusik said, addressing the board.

While there are already village ordinances on the books with specific regulations pertaining to video game cafes (see here and here), an ordinance that would seek to regulate their proliferation throughout the village is still under review (see here).

At a Feb. 24 public hearing on the matter, several trustees Dorris, Rivers and Lightford had voiced misgivings about allowing a video gambling business to setup in the village for a variety of reasons, including what some officials and residents considered it’s potential for attracting public nuisance problems, such as loitering.

Trustees in support of the proposed establishment — which is essentially a place where several video game machines are setup — noted that the potential revenue from the business could be significant and that, contrary to some people’s perceptions, the establishments are typically low-key affairs more likely to be frequented by senior citizens looking for entertainment than rowdy groups of teenagers.

At the Feb. 24 meeting, Jeffery Rehberger, the proposed venture’s co-owner, estimated that, based on figures from other video gambling establishments he’s opened, the Roosevelt Rd. location could generate between $30,000 and $40,000 of annual revenue for Maywood from taxes and fees.

Since the state legalized video gambling in 2012, gambling establishments have proliferated, particularly throughout Chicago’s western suburbs.

According to an October 2015 Chicago Tribune report, Oakbrook Terrace had nine, and Countryside had 17, such establishments at the time.

Some suburbs that have welcomed the establishments, such as Chicago Ridge, have seen tax revenue from gambling nearly double over the course of a year.

Opponents of the establishments, however, note that the tax revenues pale in comparison with what the owners of the businesses stand to profit and aren’t worth what they perceive to be substantial quality of life issues.

“I’m not looking to have a large number of these,” said Trustee Michael Rogers, countering some of the criticism lodged against the the gambling businesses. “I can’t see myself approving more than three initially and growing as we see how it goes. But [the] ordinance does exist, this type of business does exist without many problems in a number of towns [and] it is potentially a revenue source.”

“You can’t just have it all. You can’t say no to every business and then expect there to be revenue sources. We have to say responsibly yes and responsibly no to certain things — that is what this process is all about.”

Kathy’s Kitchen, a Fifth Avenue staple, seeks a move to Madison

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A ‘No Trespassing’ notice posted on the door of Kathy’s Kitchen in Maywood by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department | Village of Maywood

Kathy’s Kitchen, one of a handful of dine-in restaurants in Maywood, is seeking to move from its longtime home at 9 N. 5th Ave. into the former of location of Coleman’s Barbecue at 1008 S. 17th Ave.

Kathy’s Kitchen was evicted from its 5th Ave. location roughly two weeks ago, according to village officials.

At a March 9 board meeting, Trustee Antoinette Dorris expressed surprise and disappointment at the restaurant’s closing.

“I received a couple of phone calls from people who frequent that restaurant and they wanted to know why they closed,” she said. “I just want to find out did we do everything possible to assist in helping this business?”

Village officials noted that the closure wasn’t a result of any dereliction on their part and that the apparent suddenness of the closure was typical of business closures.

“The village was not an instrument in that closure,” said Trustee Michael Rogers. “I think the thing on the window is something the County Sheriff does on behalf of the owner … There was nothing we did that was involved with that process. It was a dispute between the owner and a tenant, essentially.”

The owner of Kathy’s Kitchen, Dennis Moran, was present at the March 9 meeting, but declined to comment. His daughter noted that they had already signed a lease for the 17th Avenue property.

“Kathy’s Kitchen was [one of the] only places we could go to sit down and have a meal,” said Maywood resident Gloria Clay, who is also a member of the village’s police and fire commission. “Whatever needs to be done, let it be done; give this man an opportunity to open [back] up … because we need somewhere to sit down without going to Oak Park or some place else.” VFP

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