Category: Economic Development

RTA Seeking Public Comments for Updated Maywood Station Area Plan

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A conceptual drawing of a downtown development in Maywood included in the 2004 RTA station area plan. | RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) recently announced the start of a public comment period for nine proposed program projects, including one in Maywood. The public comment period is open until Sept. 30.

Continue reading “RTA Seeking Public Comments for Updated Maywood Station Area Plan”

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Maywood Signals That It Will Green-light New Housing Development

Friday, September 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 9/8/17

During a Sept. 5 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees gave the village’s attorney and staff the go-ahead to put together a redevelopment agreement that would dictate the construction of a 68-unit, 5-story apartment building on the site of a vacant lot at 800-820 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood, which is currently owned by the village.

Continue reading “Maywood Signals That It Will Green-light New Housing Development”

Maywood Residents React to Affordable Housing Proposal

Friday, September 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The last time Perry Vietti, the president of Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, was in Maywood pitching a plan to build affordable housing units in the village, he confronted a wave of criticism from residents who thought that the proposal was bad for the village’s quality of life.

Continue reading “Maywood Residents React to Affordable Housing Proposal”

Maywood Gets $206K, Melrose Park Gets $203K for Bike Lanes | Video Cameras for New Maywood Metra Station | More

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Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) addresses community members during a July 15 town hall held at village council chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. | Michael Romain/VFP

Friday, July 28, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a town hall meeting he convened in Maywood on July 15, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) announced that the county board was set to approve a grant of around $206,000 to install a bike path along Washington Blvd.

The county board unanimously approved the grant, which is part of a $7.2 million county-wide highway improvement project, at a regular meeting on July 19.

Formally called the 2017 Invest in Cook Awards, the projects are designed to provide incentives to municipalities to encourage “non-auto” forms of transportation.

Continue reading “Maywood Gets $206K, Melrose Park Gets $203K for Bike Lanes | Video Cameras for New Maywood Metra Station | More”

Maywood Business Expands Thanks to County Brownfield Grant

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Seaway Supply Company owner Tom Engoren inside of his Maywood-based company on July 13. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with numerous other elected officials, were at Seaway to announce the results of a brownfield grant. | Michael Romain/VFP

IMG_6050Thursday, July 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Tom Engoren, the owner of Seaway Supply Co., located at 15 N. 9th Ave. in Maywood, said that a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allowed his business to stay, and possibly expand, in Maywood.

Seaway Supply, which deliveries janitorial products, office supplies and other materials throughout the Chicago area, is looking to acquire a gravel parcel adjacent its Maywood location that’s currently owned by the village.

The company wants to turn the parcel into a fenced-in parking lot and eventually use the land to possibly develop even more warehouse or office space in the future. Seaway has been located in Maywood for around six years, Engoren said.

But the village-owned land is located on a brownfield, which is “property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the
presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant,” according to the U.S. EPA.

The contamination is often petroleum-related. Examples of brownfield sites include “old gas stations, auto service businesses, factories, mill sites, shipyards, transit stations, and junkyards,” the EPA notes.

Typically, a business looking to build, expand or redevelop an area that’s suspected to be contaminated has to pay to conduct soil tests and, if those tests find that the area has been polluted or contaminated, then the business also has to pay for the necessary cleanup.

An official with Weaver Consultants Group, the firm that Cook County contracted with to provide environmental testing and remediation services, said that it can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to conduct phase one soil testing. Phase two cleanup efforts start at around $15,000 to $20,000.

The EPA grant — which was administered by the Cook County Department of Environmental Control in collaboration with the villages of Maywood, Bellwood, Melrose Park, Forest Park, Schiller Park, Northlake and Franklin Park — basically pays for those phase one and phase two costs. The county received the grant money in 2014.

“These tests, while they’re not terribly expensive, they’re not cheap,” said Engoren. “Even before you buy the [land], you have to invest money to just look at it and consider it. This program takes the guesswork out of the process for potential buyers.”

Engoren added that completing the environmental remediation process also clears a big hurdle for businesses trying to access the necessary credit to fund expansion and redevelopment efforts. As of press time, it wasn’t known how the land that Seaway is trying to acquire got contaminated. Seaway is located in an area zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses.

According to estimates by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, there are nearly 90 brownfield parcels located in western Cook County. And the Illinois State Fire Marshall has counted 684 petroleum-related Underground Storage Tank (UST) locations in the seven municipalities participating in the grant program.

The CNT estimates that there are 17 brownfield parcels in Maywood alone that cover nearly 50 acres, six brownfield parcels in Bellwood covering 17 acres and nine brownfield parcels in Melrose Park covering nearly 50 acres.

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Maywood brownfield sites targeted by EPA grant 

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Bellwod and Melrose Park brownfield sites targeted by EPA grant 

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“This program is truly an economic development driver,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins during a July 13 press conference convened at Seaway Supply to mark the completion of the grant program.

“This program allowed Maywood to receive funding for environmental assessments that will lead to redevelopment of several vacant lots that had not hope for redevelopment.”

In all, the grant program identified and assessed 30 sites in the seven aforementioned coalition communities that cover 127 acres. Currently, more than 120 acres are in the process of redevelopment or are being planned for future reuse, according to a statement released by Cook County Board President on June 13.

“Brownfield sites are difficult to redevelop,” Preckwinkle said at the June 13 press conference. “By freeing up these sites for reinvestment, we not only protect the environment but we reduce eyesores for these communities.”

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and other elected officials inside of Seaway Supply Co. on June 13. | Michael Romain/VFP

In addition to Seaway Supply Company, other sites that were tested and/or cleaned up include the former Maywood Racetrack in Melrose Park, six parcels that sit on over five acres in Bellwood and several more parcels in Maywood that cover nearly four acres.

“I can think of no better place for this to happen than in the village of Maywood,” said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district includes Maywood and Bellwood.

“Maywood has had significant challenges relating to unemployment and businesses leaving … This is a shot in the arm for businesses that want to expand, want jobs and want to work here. It’s good for our tax base, it’s good for everybody.” VFP

DON’T MISS THIS!Business reception Detailed Flyer_July

 

Maywood Board Approves Special Use Permit for Church Seeking to Expand

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New Hope Christian Center, 14 S. 19th Ave. | Google Earth

Friday, June 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a June 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance approving a special use permit that would allow New Hope Christian Center, 14 S. 19th Ave., to buildout and modify existing unoccupied commercial space.

The space, located at 2 South 19th Ave., is separated from the church facility by a vacant, fenced-in lot. The church owns both properties. Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Kimyada Wellington abstained from voting.

Wellington explained that she would not be voting because she’s related to New Hope’s pastor, Bishop Anthony G. Wellington. Perkins did not offer an explanation for her abstention at the June 20 meeting and could not be contacted on Friday afternoon to comment.

Months before the vote, however, several trustees had expressed some wariness about permitting the special use.

According to a business plan that Wellington submitted on behalf of his church, the new facility would host weekly job training sessions, prayer meetings, “biblical guidance sessions” and “biblical enhancement sessions.”

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A space, located at 2 South 19th Ave., that New Hope is seeking to turn into usable space. | Google Earth

But village staff members and some board members stated that were worried that “this project may be an expansion of the [tax-exempt] church into the C2 Pedestrian Oriented Commercial District,” according to an April 26 village memo written by Josh Koonce, the village’s planning and zoning officer.

An a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting in April, former trustee Michael Rogers expressed some reservations over the village allowing the church to turn the commercial property, which currently generates commercial property taxes, into tax-exempt property.

“The whole concept of our [taking the] limited commercial property that we have off the tax rolls is problematic,” Rogers said.

“That zone, when you cross the tracks, is called Broadway. That’s a heavy commercial usage. The non-conforming uses already there are grandfathered in, but it’s important not to lose any more commercial property with the straits that the village is in.”

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An architectural drawing of New Hope’s plans for its new training facility. 

The board nonetheless voted to allow the matter to go to the village’s plan commission, which, on May 30, voted in favor of the special use permit. According to the ordinance, the permit is limited to “the types of educational and job training activities” laid out in Wellington’s application. VFP

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Construction Trades Training Center to Open in Bellwood this October

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The future site of a new training center for apprentices of the Cement Masons Local 502 and the Plasterers Local 5, which is scheduled to for completion in October. | Michael Romain/VFP 

Bellwood Training Center_3Tuesday, May 30, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews 

A new training center for apprentices of the Cement Masons Local 502 and the Plasterers Local 5 is going up at the corner of 25th Ave. and Madison St. in Bellwood. The 20,000-sq. ft. facility is scheduled to be complete by October, according to a report published last month in the Construction Industry Service Corporation‘s newsletter.

“We are very excited about moving into this new facility,” Pat LaCassa, the president of Local 502, told CISCO. “We need to continue to attract young men and women into these trades and having state of the art classrooms and dedicated areas for instruction of the craft is vital.”

Larry Picardi, Local 502’s secretary-treasurer said that the local has never had its own training center. The new facility, which is going up next door to the Cement Masons Union Hall, will provide union members with a campus-like environment, Picardi told CISCO.

The union has been utilizing training facilities in Alsip for the past two years, he said.

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An architectural rendering of the new facility. | Forza Design

Groundbreaking

“The new Apprenticeship Training Center will also contain 10,000 sf of space dedicated to the instruction of pouring, finishing and removing concrete, as well as areas where work on floors, curbs, stairs and other aspects of the trade will occur.” CISCO reported.

“On the Plasterers side, additional space will be constructed where apprentices will be instructed on the latest techniques; with an emphasis on critical life-safety applications, and current fire-proofing methods.”

According to the CISCO report, 93 cement masons and 18 plasterers are currently enrolled in the apprenticeship program.

Read the full CISCO article hereVFP

Photo above right: From left: Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey; Pat LaCassa, President and Business Manager of Cement Masons Local 502; Former Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale; Larry Picardi, Secretary-Treasurer of Cement Masons Local 502; Tom Abruzzo, Vice President of Forza Construction; and Anthony Abruzzo, President of Forza Design & Consulting Inc.

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