Tag: Kevin McGrier

EDITORIAL: Clearing Things Up A Bit About Broadview’s Cul-De-Sacs

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 || By THE VILLAGE FREE PRESS

The nature of the responses to an article that was published last week has prompted us to respond ourselves in what will be an ongoing forum for communicating where we stand on certain issues. Hopefully, this will make the process by which we collect and share information more transparent, and enhance our accountability to the taxpaying and voting readers we strive to serve.

On Jan. 7, we published an article entitled, “Maywood Trustees Voice Frustration With Broadview’s Cul De Sacs, Urge More Communication With Neighbor.”

It was based on a brief exchange during a Jan. 5 board meeting between village trustees and a staff member about Broadview’s cul-de-sacs. Maywood Trustee Antoinette Dorris said she had fielded some concerns from residents who were wondering whether or not Broadview was entertaining the construction of another one along 13th Avenue.

The residents’ questions about future construction of another blockade were apparently a new development, which Dorris felt compelled to bring up, even though the existing cul-de-sacs are, as Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones pointed out in a comment below that article, almost two years old.

“[T]he cul-de-sacs in question have been in place since June 2013,” Jones noted.

Jones also noted that — although  Maywood village engineer Mark Lucas said that there wasn’t any communication between Maywood and Broadview staff members before the construction of the existing cul-de-sacs — he “met with the former Village Manager of Maywood, the current Mayor of Maywood and the interim Police Chief of Maywood early on and during the cul-de-sac process”

Just an aside: both Jones and Lucas may well be correct. Key political and managerial figures of two towns can communicate with each other without the staff members of those towns doing so.

Jones was also correct in pointing out that this article suffered from some important historical context. And it wouldn’t have hurt if we reached out to him, and/or other Broadview officials, for any perspective they might have been able to provide on the issue — particularly considering that the article was, in part, about Broadview. In our haste to put out content, and with our very limited attentions and skills scattershot, we posted anyway.

However, in fairness to us, the nature of the article was meant to be in the spirit of a brief update, a snippet, something like a glimpse of the meeting minutes from what was — to be fair to the board members and the staff person who were talking about the issue —  a rather informal dialogue that we suspect all of those involved in the discussion might have wanted to stay in that room.

But discussions about infrastructure are important and they’re so few and far between — at least in a public setting like a board meeting — that we seized on the opportunity to share that one bit of information (however spontaneous and off the cuff).

No matter, we could’ve done more — the least being reach out to the public servants of Broadview. That we didn’t do. It’s a teachable moment that we’ll learn from. Going forward, we’ll at least reach out to public officials before reporting on issues that so intimately involve their municipalities.

On this note, we’re in part following the politicians’ lead, several of whom from Maywood and Broadview have at least made the important first step of reaching out across their respective borders to spark dialogue and discussion about how both villages can work together for the sake of mutual improvement.

Perhaps they can start, as both Mayor Jones and Broadview Trustee Kevin McGrier suggested in our comments section, by joining together to think about creative ways to resurface 13th Avenue (Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers responded enthusiastically to McGrier’s suggestion).

Jones noted in his comments that he’s been told by Maywood officials that this was prohibitive due to a lack of funding on Maywood’s side. Where there’s a will (and with staff and elected officials of both towns working together), however, there may be a way. VFP

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Broadview Trustee, Streets and Sidewalks Chairman, Sheds Light on 13th Avenue Repairs

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A patch of 13th Avenue. Google Maps.

imageFriday, April 17, 2015 || By Michael Romain

At a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting held April 15, Maywood’s Board of Trustees finally broached what has long been a source of frustration for both. Maywood and Broadview residents — the rocky stretch of road that is13th Avenue, a street that’s given officials in both villages headaches for quite some time.

At the April 15 meeting, David Myerrs, Maywood’s acting village manager, said that a large reason why the street has been neglected is the lack of funding available to pay for the repairs. Myers said that repairs for the street would cost about $833,000, with each village contributing half, or $416,500 each.

But that estimate was presented before Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross noted that it doesn’t take into account the increased cost of materials. If that factor was included, the cost would jump to $920,000, with each village contributing a $460,000 each.

Myers stated that Maywood doesn’t qualify for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the area, because it isn’t situated in one of Maywood’s lower-income tracts, a pivotal requirement for CDBG funding. That isn’t true for Broadview.

“From what I understand, based on the census tract, that might be part of the lower income area of Broadview, but it’s not the lower-income area for our community,” said Trustee Michael Rogers at the April 15 meeting.

But Kevin McGrier, a Broadview trustee since 2009 and the town’s chairman of streets, sidewalks and alleys, said that there’s a much deeper explanation for 13th Avenue’s neglect.

McGrier (pictured above right with Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones), said that his village has been trying to find funds to repair 13th Avenue for years and have approached Maywood officials in the past about splitting the costs of the repairs down the middle.

“We’ve utilized our CDBG funding for other streets and have them mapped out to 2017, but this was a particular project we wanted to have a partnership with Maywood on and they told us they didn’t have the funding for it and we’d have to fund the whole project,” he said.

McGrier said that he had met with former Maywood village manager William Barlow about a possible collaboration with Maywood, but was rebuffed. He also suggested that, at the time, Maywood could’ve been more aggressive in finding alternative sources of funding.

“If there were meetings [between Broadview officials and Maywood officials regarding 13th Avenue] before or after that, I wasn’t aware of them,” he said.

“We put Chris Welch on [the issue] when he was first elected and we came close to having the funding,” McGrier said. “This was something on our wish list,” he said, adding that he felt at the time that Maywood should have been engaging in similar attempts to retrieve the money, instead of being immobilized by a lack of CDBG funds.

McGrier, however, said the village’s recent activity and conversations on the matter showed promise. At the April 15 meeting, Myers referenced a letter of support in connection with 13th Avenue funding that was signed by state Rep. Welch (7th), state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th) and mayors Edwenna Perkin and Sherman Jones.

Asked why, for instance, each village couldn’t just repair the portion of the street that it owned, McGrier said, “It would be ridiculous if we just drew an imaginary line” and pursued the repairs alone.

He also noted that, altough both Broadview and Maywood share other streets, 13th Avenue is the only one is in such a state of dilapidation. VFP

To learn more about 13th Avenue’s boundaries, in addition to area information on Broadview, visit McGrier’s website here.