Tag: Angela Smith

Maywood Board Hears Development Proposal For First And Lake Sites

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Could a Starbucks possibly be headed to Maywood?

Representatives with a Burr Ridge-based commercial real estate brokerage say that the idea of the global coffee behemoth landing another outpost in the west suburb isn’t all that far-fetched.

Continue reading “Maywood Board Hears Development Proposal For First And Lake Sites”

Domestic Shipping Company Looking To Build Facility In Maywood

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: A rendering of a proposed trucking facility that Mit Express is looking to build in Maywood at 1001 W. St. Charles Rd. | Mit Express 

A domestic shipping company that is currently headquartered in Broadview, and that has operations in four states, is looking to purchase a village-owned property in Maywood in order to build a domestic transportation facility.

Continue reading “Domestic Shipping Company Looking To Build Facility In Maywood”

Maywood Approves Construction of 5th Ave. Development

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: An architectural rendering of the proposed housing development to be built on a vacant lot at 800-820 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. | Interfaith Housing Development Corporation 

During a regular meeting on Nov. 21, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously approved a redevelopment agreement that allows for 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. The building will include 4,500 square feet of first-floor commercial space.

Continue reading “Maywood Approves Construction of 5th Ave. 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”

Manufacturing, The Present And Future Of Good Employment, Still Mired By Outdated Perceptions, Say Educators


Freedman seating employee Valerie Galvan, 38, holds up the work of her hands. | Chandler West/Wednesday Journal || Below: Angela Smith, Maywood’s business development coordinator, second from right, with Commissioner Richard Boykin and other business and government leaders during a Feb. 24 manufacturing breakfast in Chicago.

Boykin manufacturing breakfast.jpgThursday, March 10, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Jose Aybar, the president of Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, often tells the story of visiting a manufacturing expo at McCormick Place one day and leaving with an ‘Aha!’ moment.

“I walked up to [huge] machine [that] was turning out about four to five tables,” he said during a manufacturing breakfast hosted by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) last month at Freedman Seating in Chicago.

“I looked around for the person running the show for that machine and saw that person working a computer model,” said Aybar, who conceded that, at the time, his knowledge of manufacturing was “very, very shallow.”

It turned out, he said, that person was a petite woman who was earning $75,000 after having obtained an associate’s degree in manufacturing from a community college. And because she had also recently obtained her bachelor’s degree, her employer was going to give her a $10,000 raise. Aybar’s opinion of manufacturing changed in that moment.

“The manufacturing industry has an image problem,” Aybar said. “We see the worker in a manufacturing plant as being that burly fella with greasy hands. That’s changed.”

Aybar was among several community college administrators who shared the challenges of recruiting manufacturing students with a panel of employers and representatives of various government agencies who, in turn, shared the challenges of recruiting trained workers.

Boykin said bridging the divide is key to alleviating the high unemployment rates in certain areas of his district — a sentiment echoed by Maywood’s business development coordinator Angela Smith, who was also in attendance at the breakfast.

“It’s no wonder we have a problem with violence [and] illegal narcotics,” said Boykin. “These problems will not be solved without expanding employment and training opportunities for all of our residents.”

“Maywood is only as strong as our neighbors,” Smith said. “Jobs are key for our community and for maintaining the existing businesses we have here.”

Irene Sherr, a legislative affairs representative with the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, said that the Chicago region is one of 24 federally designated manufacturing clusters that receive priority funding and resources designed to spur growth.

“There are about 3,700 firms in the Chicago region with 100,000 employees and $30 billion in sales associated with machinery and fabricated metal,” Sherr said, adding that about half of those firms are small businesses that employ less than 10 workers.

Many employees in those firms are getting ready to retire and are currently looking for fresh workers, said Dr. Henry Bohleke, the dean of business and technology at Triton College.

“When we meet with manufacturers, we hear the chorus of people struggling to fill positions,” Bohleke said. “There are people available, but they don’t have the skills.”

Bohleke said, through its industry partners, Triton offers up to 150 internships each year, but only a fraction of them get filled “because we can’t get enough people into the programs and through the programs.”

Bohleke said that Triton has introduced new engineering technology programs and experimented with a European training model — which emphasizes paying for students’ education in exchange for commitments to stay with companies for a minimum amount of time — to attract and retain “the best and the brightest” talent.

But he said there’s still some ground to cover before the conventional perception most people have about manufacturing jobs undergoes a change in the country’s popular consciousness.

“Sadly, many people in our education system — including teachers, counselors and even parents — still see a vision of manufacturing [ripped out of] Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘The Jungle.’ Sinclair had a very dim view of manufacturing and even compared it to slavery. Manufacturing has changed a great deal since then.” VFP

N O T I F I C A T I O N S 

March 20, 2016

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March 27, 2016

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Maywood Will Be a ‘Stronger Community’ with Land Bank as Partner Says Bank’s Executive Director

imageFriday, May 15, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

MAYWOOD || One year after his predecessor addressed the village’s Board of Trustees, Rob Rose (pictured left), the new executive director of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, was in town to formally introduce himself. Rose, who said he’s in his sixth week on the job, gave a short presentation and fielded questions from an audience of about 50 during a May 13 informational session hosted by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) at council chambers, 125 S. 5th Avenue.

In many respects, the Land Bank’s purpose hasn’t changed since officials were last in town. Created by ordinance in 2013, the Land Bank is currently funded to the tune of $4.8 million and works to establish site control over vacant or abandoned homes, making them less costly, and less of a hassle, for prospective developers to acquire.

A private developer given a property by a village for ‘free’ would likely have to take care of back taxes, code violations and maintenance issues. And in the end, that ‘free’property may end up costing the developer $30,000 to $40,000, Rose noted.

“For that reason, a lot of developers who have the capacity to do work aren’t doing work, even though they have the capacity and the community has needs,” he said. “So, what we do is come in and intervene, write off those back taxes and work with the village around those code violations, so when we convey the property to a developer, at a minimum, what he knows is [he’s] got a tax-free, lien-free property that has been secured, cleaned out and maintained. What he has to worry about is just the cost of bringing it back on line. He doesn’t have those other unknowns that he’d have if he was just rying to do it by himself.”

This month, the Land Bank announced that it would target 13 Chicago neighborhoods and 13 west and south suburbs to aggressively buy and hold single- and multi-family properties in order to attract prospective developers. Maywood, Bellwood and Forest Park were among the suburbs in Proviso Township selected by the Land Bank for special attention.

The aggression is Rose’s influence and a not-so-subtle departure from the more passive approach taken by his predecessor, former executive director Brian White.

“My predecessor wanted to work from a standpoint of [not wanting] to do something until he had an end-user or end-use identified,” Rose said. “My tactic is a little bit opposite of that. In these areas we’ve identified, I want to buy as much property as we can, because we think there’s sufficient demand in those areas to take it down. But you need something like the Land Bank to come in to buy properties in bulk and to be able to work with municipalities to identify who we can work with.”

During his presentation to the board last October, White said that the bank would only target specific parcels that have strategic value and where there’s an actual plan for their redevelopment — unlike Rose’s approach of casting a much wider net and betting on entire communities, instead of singular parcels.

“We’re demand-drive,” White said at the time. “We aren’t looking to have all of your [distressed properties]. [We’re] looking to go out and acquire [properties] strategically and in ways that make sense.”

Rose noted that communities such as Maywood, Bellwood and Forest Park comprised “calculated risks” that he believes will ultimately pay off. But that doesn’t mean that Rose’s community-wide approach is wanting in discretion. As a May 9 Chicago Tribune article pointed out, Rose’s decision to target just 26 communities across Cook County means that dozens of others won’t receive the same level of attention.

Rose told the Tribune that there’s “too much to overcome” in certain areas, such as Chicago’s Englewood and South Lawndale neighborhoods, which were passed over by the Land Bank.

Angela Smith, the village’s economic development coordinator, said part of the reason Maywood was chosen over some of those other communities is because it has a very strong housing stock. Many of Maywood’s homes — from brick prairie-style bungalows to shingled Victorians — predate the post-WWII construction boom, which unleashed a wave of cheap, mass-produced suburban housing.

“A lot of homes here have very solid foundations,” she said, adding that this underlying reality makes the western suburb a potential treasure trove for hungry developers.

“We saw a concentration of distressed properties, but we also saw strong demand in areas that we want to focus on,” Rose said, referencing the Land Bank’s target communities.

But that the Land Bank has not specifically targeted a certain community doesn’t mean that it won’t collaborate in those areas, Rose noted.

During the May 13 meeting in Maywood, Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones asked what kind of partnership the Land Bank could create with communities, such as his, that weren’t selected.

“Let me be clear, because Broadview isn’t included [as one of] our focus communities doesn’t mean we don’t work in Broadview,” said Rose. “What it means is that I won’t be as aggressive [in Broadview] as I am in Maywood in terms of buying houses as they come along.”

Rose said that in targeted communities, the Land Bank may buy houses without having identified end users. In communities such as Broadview, however, homes and their end users should be identified in order to grease the wheels of collaboration between the municipality and the Land Bank.

Rose said the Land Bank has identified 219 vacant parcels in Maywood, 49 of which have been identified as having delinquent or forfeited taxes. The number of identified parcels hasn’t changed since White reported the same figure last year. The homes, Rose said, “is what we see as the universe of work to be done in Maywood.”

Rose noted that the Land Bank is already in the process of prepping for development a home at 238 S. 12th Avenue, a project that began on White’s watch.

“The home has been stabilized, boarded up and maintained and now we’re working to be able to convey this into the hands of someone who can bring it back on board,” Rose said. “We’re just starting the process of actually acquiring it. That’s going to take three t to four months,” he said, adding that the bank is simultaneously trying to identify a developer for the home.

“[Tonight] is about making sure we have sustainable communities,” Boykin said at the May 13 meeting. “It’s about making sure we get foreclosed properties, abandoned properties back onto the tax rolls and back into productive use so that we can make sure that we drive property values [up in] our neighborhoods.”

“There’s a lot of opportunity here in Maywood,” said Rose. “This is a village that can use our innovation. The result of our collaboration is going to be a stronger community.” VFP

Photo above: Rob Rose, the new executive director of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, introducing himself to Maywood at an informational session held May 13 and hosted by Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin. 

Board Reviews Comprehensive Plan; Hopes It Spurs Economic Development

Cook County Recorder of DeedsDSC_1435Doug Hammel talks with a resident about the new Comprehensive Plan before a planning and zoning meeting earlier this month.

DSC_1433Friday, December 19, 2014 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 6:36 PM

After the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission lent a unanimous seal of approval to Maywood’s new Comprehensive Plan (PDF:Maywood Rising Draft) earlier this month, members of the Board of Trustees deliberated on the plan at a December 10, Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting.

After listening to a presentation of a draft Plan by Doug Hammel, a senior associate with Houseal Lavigne, the consulting firm that produced the Plan, Board members brought up a range of issues with the document, foremost among them being whether or not it would help the village spur economic development.

Trustee Antonette Dorris was concerned with the village’s handling of brown fields, which are parcels of land or property that are difficult to expand, reuse or redevelop due to problems that may arise from contamination, pollution or hazardous materials. She also inquired as to whether or not staff was addressing empty buildings, the owners of which have no intentions or real plans of developing them.

Addressing this latter issue, Hammel said that many of those derelict buildings may be owned by people who don’t live in the community and “don’t feel invested” in its general upkeep. He emphasized the need for staff and elected officials to use the Comprehensive Plan as a policy guide that stresses the importance of maintaining properties throughout the village.

“It’s a tough issue to tackle and it just takes a firm policy stance,” Hammel said.

Attorney Michael Jurusik, addressing the brown fields, said that one way the village has mitigated the problem in the past has been to provide incentives to owners of potentially contaminated properties by defraying the costs of environmental remediation work.

“[The incentives are] another jewel in the tool box to try to help revitalize parts of the community,” he said.

Hammel noted that the lack of funding, however, is a common obstacle to municipalities who want to help ease the burden of dealing with potentially contaminated sites bore by private developers. He said that retrieving brown field cleanup funds is an “extremely competitive” process, since local governments of all kinds are dealing with similar problem sites that may be impeding economic development.

Either municipalities plan extensively to compete with other local governments for grant funds or fund the cleanup projects themselves.

In February of last year, the Maywood Board of Trustees authorized and approved a professional services contract with R.W. Collins to engage in environmental remediation of the properties at 101 and 115 West Lake Street. That project has cost upwards of $157,000 to date—which could prohibit the village from regularly paying for such projects on its own (PDF: RBM-Minutes-04-29-2014).

That reality may exacerbate what Trustee Michael Rogers referred to as leakage, retail market jargon for all of the money – from taxes, savings and import revenues – that leaves a local market.

Rogers wanted to know that if the Comprehensive Plan addressed the problem of leakage in Maywood, “which I suspect is pretty high,” he said.

Hammel said that his firm learned from studies and the comments of people in the community that “people want to spend money in Maywood, but can’t.” He noted that, in addition to identifying instances of retail leakage, would also need to develop the right kinds of demographics, infrastructure and sites.

Angela Smith, the village’s business development coordinator, said that the key to stopping Maywood’s retail leakage is through developing its natural business corridors, particularly the downtown area.

“Downtown Maywood is not importing money,” Smith said. “It’s not bringing people in the center of Maywood from other areas.”

Hammel said that Comprehensive Plan addresses this problem by suggesting development goals and policy plans that allow the village to both capture people traveling through its business corridors and better serve its residents.

The board voted unanimously to place final approval of the Plan on the next board meeting’s agenda. VFP

Stairway of the Stars Presents: Zat You, Santa Claus?

Stairway of the Stars, Maywood Fine Arts’ Dance Studio will present “Zat You, Santa Claus?” Holiday Dance Show this Saturday, December 20th, 7:00pm at Guerin Prep High School (8001 W. Belmont Road) in River Grove.  Join all the dancing elves, snowflakes and toys as they try to find Santa Claus on Christmas Eve!  Tickets are on sale now, Adults $10 (at the door $15) & Children/Seniors for $5.  For tickets or more information call Maywood Fine Arts at 708-865-0301.