Month: June 2017

Maywood Metra Station Officially Opens to Riders

Metra_use this

Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins cuts the ribbon on the new Metra commuter station during a ceremony on June 30. | Photo provided 

Friday, June 30, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

A new, nearly 900-square-foot indoor Metra commuter station formally opened for riders on Friday. Local elected officials, village staff and representatives from various entities involved with the station’s construction were on hand at the station, located at the corner of 5th Ave. and Main St., for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception.

The new station, which is heated and features heated flooring, replaces an existing shelter that was similar to a bus station and that residents felt was inadequate. The station also features  40 new parking spaces on Main Street.

The roughly $2 million station had been in the works since at least 2011, when the village applied for a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) grant to secure construction funds.

“I am so pleased to cut the ribbon for our new Metra Commuter Station,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins. “The station is lovely and quaint and hearkens back to the glory days of Maywood that we will bring back. It will shelter our citizens as they wait for the train, and it will give others riding through another look at our town.”

Metra Station 2

Mayor Perkins, Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon and Metra President and CEO Don Orseno walk into the new station. | Michael Romain/VFP

Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno said that 27 Metra trains a day stop in Maywood, going both directions. The new station, he said, is among more than 240 Metra commuter stations in the Chicago area.

“We couldn’t be happier that the Village of Maywood has provided this wonderful new facility for the benefit of their citizens and our customers,” said Orseno.

“At a time when capital dollars are hard to come by, it takes cooperation like this to get things done. We hope this furthers Maywood’s economic development efforts and grows our ridership.”

Metra station 1

Maywood residents get their first glimpses into the new Metra station on June 30. | Michael Romain/VFP

Christopher B. Burke Engineering, based in Rosemont, did design engineering and observed the construction of the station, which was designed by FGM architects.

“This new Metra station is an important addition to the Maywood community and will hopefully make Maywood residents’ commutes a bit more enjoyable,” said company president Christopher B. Burke. VFP

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Breaking: Fire Breaks Out at 1606 Madison in Maywood on June 30

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A two-floor apartment building at 1606 Madison St. caught fire on June 30. All of its residents have been displaced. | Michael Romain/VFP

Friday, June 30, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 5:48 p.m. 

A serious fire broke out inside of a two-flat apartment building at 1606 Madison St. in Maywood this morning, according to Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh.

Bronaugh said the fire happened at approximately 11:44 a.m. When firefighters and other emergency responders arrived, they found an unidentified adult male who was disabled and bedridden in a basement apartment.

“An initial search turned up a man who was unable to get out of the basement on his own,” Bronaugh said during a phone interview Friday.

The chief said that the man appeared unharmed, but was taken to Loyola University Medical Center as a precaution.

Bronaugh said the fire started in the living room of the top-floor apartment. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The three-unit building was fully occupied said fire investigators. All of those residents have been displaced.

One of them said she is the niece of the disabled man. She said the man lived with her and that she had just moved into the apartment on Thursday.

“I signed my lease yesterday,” said the woman, who declined to be identified. She said her uncle was being treated for possible smoke inhalation. VFP


District 209 Approves Facilities Master Plan

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An aerial view of the Proviso East High School campus in Maywood. | Google Earth

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

The Proviso District 209 Board of Education unanimously approved a contract with Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins and Will to draft a Facilities Master Plan and a Health Life Safety Survey at its June 13 meeting.

Work is set to begin this summer while school is not in session. The contract approval is the latest step in moving the district toward a more holistic vision for its campus facilities. For the last several years, D209 has been using a capital and construction list. A Facilities Master Plan, however, fuses curriculum needs, technological upgrades, current facility conditions, and enrollment projections into one document that is used for long-term planning.

“Our district spent many years not addressing the capital needs of our buildings. We are starting the process,” D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez told the Review in March after the board selected Perkins and Will. “There’s a lot to be done.”

The Health and Life Safety Plan will cost $179,900 and the Facilities Master Plan will be $139,900, according to district spokesperson Cynthia Moreno.

Drafting a facilities plan is also a necessary step toward dissolving the state-mandated Financial Oversight Panel. Such panels, according to Illinois law, are a way for the state to offer emergency financial management assistance to local school districts. D209 has had a FOP since 2008, although the panel was reorganized in 2012, expanding its powers and adding more members.

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An aerial view of the Proviso West High School campus in Hillside. | Google Earth

“That’s the number one thing that has to happen,” Craig Shilling, the panel’s chairman, told the Review in March. “It is primarily getting the facilities piece into something that is sustainable.”

The project has several phases, beginning with a demographic survey to examine birth rates, enrollment trends and population change. Then Perkins and Will plans to audit the district’s buildings to ensure mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection components for compliance and identify any necessary upgrades.

The next step includes an “educational assessment” and “capacity analysis.” The Perkins and Will team will observe Proviso students during school hours in the fall to determine how the existing facilities at PMSA, Proviso East and Proviso West meet current educational needs. This includes examining classroom sizes, security features and student traffic flow during class breaks.

An oversight committee will be formed as well and will include district administrators, parents, faculty, staff, community members, and board of education members. The committee, which will meet bi-weekly throughout the process, will be a “sounding board as issues arise, meeting agendas are developed, [and] planning ideas/solution are generated,” according to the proposal submitted by Perkins and Will.

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An aerial view of the PMSA campus in Forest Park. | Google Earth

There will be at least four bilingual community engagement meetings, too.

“The general intent of these community engagement sessions is to review the established vision driving the facilities master plan, highlight findings and issues at each campus, and thoughtfully articulate a range of possible solutions,” the proposal says.

Once final options are identified, with the help of the oversight committee, the school board will assess and, if necessary, get clarifications and feedback, before voting to approve the plan.

If all goes well, the process will be completed by spring 2018. VFP

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Milestones: Broadview Judge Appointed to Oak Park Hospital Board | Bellwood Bank Appoints New VP

Cherly Ingram.jpgTuesday, June 27, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

Judge Cheryl Ingram, a Broadview resident who has presided in the Fourth Municipal District of Cook County since 1994 and was elected to the Circuit Court county-wide in 1992, was recently appointed to Rush Oak Park Hospital’s Board of Directors.

According to a statement released by Rush Oak Park on June 27, Ingram “was first drawn to the hospital for the medical expertise it provides.”

“My family and I have always been pleased with the services we have received from the Rush family,” Ingram noted in the statement. “Having had personal involvement with the hospital assured me that this was the type of organization that I wanted to help grow.”

Bruce Elegant, the hospitals president and CEO, said he welcomes the addition of the Broadview resident.

“We’re pleased to have Judge Cheyrl Ingram by our side as we continue to provide expert and compassionate health care for the community,” Elegant said.

Ingram joins distinguished company on the board, whose voting members include:

  • David Ansell, MD | Senior Vice President, Community Health Equity, Rush University Medical Center | Associate Provost, Clinical Affairs, Rush University
  • Donna M. Carroll | President, Dominican University
  • Anthony Mitchell | Vice President of Communications, Chicago Council of Global Affairs
  • Joan Kurtenbach | Vice President of Strategic Planning, Marketing & Communications, Rush University Medical Center
  • Gary McCullough | Chief Executive Officer, ARI Packaging
  • Sandra Sokol | Retired Municipal Clerk, Village of Oak Park

Pan American appoints new VP 

Chris parker revised.pngPan American Bank & Trust, based in Melrose Park, announced last month the appointment of Christopher J. Parker as vice president, relationship executive and office manager at the bank’s Bellwood branch, located at 2801 St. Charles Rd.

“With over a decade of financial experience, Parker brings not only his expertise, but also his investment in the local Bellwood community,” according to a company statement.

Parker is currently president of the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce and is also a member of the Maywood Chamber of Commerce.

“Chris brings the enthusiasm, client-centered, relationship-focused approach that Pan American Bank & Trust thrives on when interacting with our clients and helping them live their dreams,” stated Frank Cerrone, Pan American’s president and co-CEO.

“We know that Chris will continue to do great things for Bellwood and the surrounding communities,” he said.

For more info on Pan American, click here. More in the video below:


Housing Forward’s Prevail Program Moves Offices | Broadview Company Expands


6632 W. Roosevelt Rd

The new offices for Housing Forward’s Prevail program and a Walk-In Center at 6632 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Oak Park | LoopNet

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews || Updated: 7/14/17

Housing Forward, a social service agency headquartered in Maywood, has announced that Prevail — a program designed to provide support services and specialized employment resources for families in the western suburbs that “are experiencing an emergency financial crisis” — will move from its current location at First United Church of Oak Park to new offices at 6634 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Oak Park. The move will take place on July 5.

“Founded by area congregations 12 years ago, the Prevail Programs of Housing Forward (formerly the Walk-In Ministry) have been operating out of First United Church of Oak Park since the beginning,” according to a statement released by Housing Forward on June 27.

“We are endlessly grateful for their support in allowing us to operate rent-free for all those years”, stated Lynda Schueler, Housing Forward’s executive director.

According to the statement, the organization’s Prevail programs and services “have helped thousands of households with emergency financial assistance, short-term stability services and employment readiness programs to address their immediate financial and housing crisis and find jobs.

“Last year alone, that office was visited by 1,032 people representing $84,406 in financial support and more than 170 individuals accessing employment services.”

In addition to the Prevail program, the new Roosevelt Rd. location will also house a Walk-In Center, staffed by Housing Forward and designed to service west suburban clients.

The expansion comes after Housing Forward was chosen to lead a nine-agency partnership called Coordinated Entry, a new Cook County crisis system designed to make it easier for homeless people, or those at-risk of becoming homeless, to get the emergency services they need.

An open house will be held for the new offices, located on the second-floor of 6634 W. Roosevelt Rd., sometime in September. Housing Forward’s headquarters and daytime support center wills till operated out of 1851 S. 9th Ave. in Maywood.

For more information, visit

Broadview company expands 

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A facility located at 2105 W. 21st St. in Broadview, where Printing Arts has leased nearly 47,000 square feet of additional space. | Submitted photo

Printing Arts, a printing production and materials storage company based in Broadview, recently signed an agreement to lease nearly 47,000 square feet at 2105 W. 21st St., a facility that’s nearly 121,000 square feet.

“The lease represents an expansion for Printing Arts, which currently occupies an adjacent building,” according to statement released by Darwin Realty, the real estate brokerage and property development firm that represented the building’s owner, Welbic III Broadview 21 LLC, while working closely with Printing Arts during the transaction.

“We are pleased to able to accommodate the growing space needs of this valued tenant,” stated Mandy Lewandowski, a Darwin Realty associate. VFP

Advertising from a valued partner 

Community Bank AD_April 20 2017


Chronicle: Proviso Won’t Need to Pay Nearly $2M in Fire Repair Overruns | Special Meeting Tuesday

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A 2014 fire at Proviso East High School. | Steve Redick

Monday, June 26, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

According to a June 26 Cook County Chronicle report, “A circuit court judge has dismissed the District 209 Proviso High School Board and its insurance company from liability for $1.8 million in over-budget bills submitted by a politically connected fire restoration and construction company.”

The district’s attorneys said that former D209 Supt. Nettie Collins-Hart “had no legal authority to enter into contracts over $25,000, and then board president Dan Adams had no personal authority to sign any documents without a formal roll call vote of approval by the school board as a whole,” the Chronicle report notes.

Read the full report here.

Special D209 meeting Tuesday, June 27

The D209 school board will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, June 27, 6 p.m., at Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 W. Roosevelt Rd., to discuss the board’s mission, vision, core beliefs, board of education goals and board meeting structure, according to the meeting agenda.

D89 board reconfigures

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Sally Alondra Casillas, center, pictured with her fellow Putting Children First Party candidates and veteran board members Veronica Bonilla-Lopez, left, and Regina Rivers. | Putting Children First Party

From a statement by D89 Board President Gwaine Dianne Williams:

“The Board of Education bid farewell to long serving, retired Board member Loretta Gustello and welcomed newly elected Board member, Sally Alondra Casillas.

“With its re-organization of officers, the D89 Board remains unified and dedicated to the mission of equity in education for all of our children.”

Below: (L-R) Kasharii Parker, Jesse Macias, Veronica Bonilla-Lopez, Dianne Williams, Loretta Gustello, Regina Rivers, Marie Urso | District 89

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Caputo Cheese Brings on New Culinary Executive Chef | Suburban Rents are Too Dang High

Chef Erika Durham.jpgMonday, June 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Caputo Cheese — the maker of craft cheese with two stores, Caputo Cheese Market, located in Lake Forest and Melrose Park — has hired executive chef Erika Durham (pictured).

“”We look forward to having Chef Erika join our team,” said Natale Caputo, the company’s president, in a statement. “She has a wealth of experience and brings an innovative and dynamic perspective to our organization. We look forward to seeing her gourmet creations for our customers.”

Durham obtained a degree in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in 1996 and had worked in restaurant and hotel kitchens before going into corporate catering, the statement reads. Her clients include Oprah Winfrey, the Lyric Opera House, People Magazine and Herman Miller.

Durham has also worked with celebrity chefs, including Art Smith, Paul Prudhomme, and Paul Bartolotta.

Too high indeed … 


“Apartment landlords in the suburbs keep hiking rents, and their buildings are a little emptier as a result,” according to a June 12 report in Crain’s Chicago Business.

According to Appraisal Research Counselors, a consulting firm based in Chicago, the “median net suburban apartment rent rose to $1.44 per square foot in the first quarter, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier,” Crain’s reports.

That makes for an interesting dilemma, the publication notes: “suburban apartment rents hit an all-time high in the first quarter while the suburban occupancy rate slipped to its lowest level in more than five years.”

PICTURE THIS: Well, first this (credit for above image of James McMillan III, founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party): Robert James Algeo/ 

Now this: “A hypothetical 1,000-square-foot apartment in the suburbs now rents for $1,440 a month, up 36 percent from $1,060 in 2009, when rents last bottomed out.”

Crain'sIllustration: Crain’s

BY THE WAY: Suburban apartment rents aren’t the only high-priced shelters …

ALSO: Suburban rents aren’t just rising in Chicago suburbs. Per a new report by Zillow Research, “Nationwide, rents in the suburbs rose at a faster pace year-over-year than rents in urban areas.”

“For the first time in four years, suburban rents are rising faster than rents in urban areas,” Zillow reports. “The median monthly cost of a suburban rental is up about 2.5 percent year-over-year, while the median cost of an urban rental is up 2.3 percent. At this time last year, the median urban rental price was up 5 percent year-over-year, while median suburban rental prices were up 3 percent.”

SO WHY?: Zillow offers a possible explanation:

“The foreclosure crisis pushed many former homeowners to rent the same kind of single-family homes they had owned just a few years prior – many of them very likely located in the suburbs.

“Laws prohibited many former homeowners from buying again for seven years after their foreclosures. The housing market reflects the shift: 19.2 percent of single-family homes were rented last year, up from 12.7 percent in 2005. Metro areas that had the most intense foreclosure activity – places like Las Vegas and Phoenix –have seen some of the greatest increases in the share of single-family home rentals.”

Zillow.pngIllustration: Zillow Research

WAIT, THERE’S A CONNECTION: The wave of grocery store and retail closures (both possible, pending and complete: think Aldi in Maywood, Ultra Foods in Forest Park, Meijer in Melrose Park, Sears on North Avenue, Payless ShoeSource in Broadview …) doesn’t bode well for relatively high-rent communities.

Per Zillow: “Department and general merchandise store employment dropped sharply during the first quarter of 2017.”

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Illustration: Zillow Research

“In the first three months of 2017, the number of jobs in department and general merchandise stores fell by 2.3 percent from the quarter prior, or 71,000 jobs, to 3.11 million – essentially erasing two years of growth in the sector, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[1] The quarterly decline was the biggest such 3-month drop since early 2012.[2]

Retail jobs pay rent



Community Bank AD_April 20 2017