Tag: Mayor Anthony Calderone

Area Police Officers Host ‘Torch Run’ To Raise Money For Special Olympics

Saturday, June 9, 2018 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Police officers from area departments participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on June 9. | Shanel Romain 

On Saturday, police officers from Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood, Forest Park and Westchester ran more than four miles in the rain — from the Westchester Police Department in Westchester to Constitution Court in Forest Park — for a good cause.

Continue reading “Area Police Officers Host ‘Torch Run’ To Raise Money For Special Olympics”

Living Fresh Market Officially Opens For Business In Former Ultra Foods Space

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 || By Nona Tepper/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Melody Winston, far left, director of commercial assets at Living Word, cuts the ribbon on Living Fresh Market with her father, Rev. Bill Winston, the church’s pastor, and other local officials. | Alexa Rogals 

About 75 people crowded the entrance of the new Living Fresh Market, 7520 Roosevelt Rd., on May 16, sampling products and listening to the origin story of the new grocer.

Continue reading “Living Fresh Market Officially Opens For Business In Former Ultra Foods Space”

Ultra Foods on Roosevelt Rd. Could Be Vacant for Months

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The Ultra Foods in Forest Park Plaza, which recently closed. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal 

Monday, June 3, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews 

Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone said at the village council’s June 26 meeting he is working to fill the former Ultra Foods site but Forest Parkers should not expect a new grocer anytime soon.

The store, in Forest Park Plaza, 7600 Roosevelt Rd., owned by Strack and Van Til, a regional grocer headquartered in Northwest Indiana, was one of nine locations that shuttered in June. The store employed 92 workers and, according to Forest Park Village Administrator Tim Gillian, brought in $130,000 in sales tax revenue in 2016.

“When a facility that size vacates, you know, it piques a tremendous amount of interest in the community,” Calderone said, referring to Ultra. “Sometimes, some individuals think that you can just turn around next week [and] find another retail grocer to go into that spot. I’m here to tell you it’s not that easy.”

Calderone added he recently met with one grocery store developer and the plaza’s ownership, Forest Park Plaza LLC, a for-profit entity of Living Word Christian Center, which is also in the mall. At that meeting, which was to “begin some conversations,” Calderone said the developer told him filling the site would “take the better part of a year” no matter which retailer fills the space.

Kim Gray, spokesperson for Living Word, declined to comment for this story.

“The whole landscape in kinda the big box grocery store is in flux right now,” Calderone told village commissioners. “The bigger grocery store operators are being very, very careful on the selection of where they are going to locate but I’m just bringing this to your attention to let you know that this is not being left unattended.”

Gillian echoed the mayor in a June 27 phone call saying big box retailers, such as Target, are scaling down and adding stores with smaller footprints. That trend, along with other grocery industry upheaval and uncertainty, like Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, might make the 75,000 square foot space harder to fill.

Gillian also reiterated the village, which does not own the property, is limited in what kind of tenant ends up filling the space.

But, Gillian said, the village would like to have a tenant that could generate significant sales tax revenue. For now, Calderone and the village will continue to facilitate communication between the building’s ownership and potential developers.

“We’ll always have our ears open,” Gillian said. “We’ll continue our conversations with the mall.”

Central Grocers, a Joliet-based cooperative, owns Strack and Van Til. As part of those closures, Central Grocers also sold off 22 other Strack stores.

“I just want you to know that we are going to continue to work with the ownership down there to try and keep things moving,” Calderone said. “But it’s not going to happen next week or even next month.” VFP

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Currie Motors Could Be Headed Back to Roosevelt in Nearby Forest Park

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 4.36.06 PMCurrie Motors.jpgFriday, May 26, 2017 || By Robert J. Lifka for Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

After a seven-year absence, Currie Chevrolet might return to the corner of Roosevelt Road and Desplaines Avenue.

At Monday’s village council meeting, Mayor Anthony Calderone announced that Currie officials have requested financial incentives from the village if they move the Chevrolet dealership from its current location at 8401 W. Roosevelt. The village council voted 4-0 to hire Kane, McKenna and Associates Inc. of Chicago, the village’s financial advisor, to review the village’s options. Commissioner Dan Novak did not attend.

Incentives being considered include use of tax increment financing (TIF) funds, real estate tax revenue and sales tax revenue. Kane, McKenna will review and analyze any requests for public financial assistance, including what expenses Currie might incur that could be covered by TIF funds.

“This is a big deal,” Calderone said. “It can only be good.”

He added that he has been in negotiations with Currie officials for “a few months” and negotiations have progressed from “walking through the hypotheticals” to the point where both sides “begin the process to formalize the request.”

No cost estimate for Kane, McKenna’s work was announced but the company will bill monthly at rates ranging from $25 per hour to $200 per hour.

“We want to thoroughly examine the proposal,” Calderone explaned. “If it makes sense, we will bring it back to the council.”

Currie has been in Forest Park since 1981, beginning with a Chrysler dealership at 8401 Roosevelt. The company purchased the Gleason Chevrolet property at Roosevelt and Desplaines from Auto Nation in 2007. Jerry Gleason had owned Gleason Chevrolet for many years before selling to Auto Nation.

In 2009, after Currie lost its Chrysler franchise when Chrysler terminated franchise agreements with 789 dealers across the country, officials remodeled the facility at 8401 Roosevelt, which they own, and relocated the Chevrolet dealership from Roosevelt and Desplaines, which they were renting from a member of the Gleason family.

At that time, village officials provided financial incentives in the form of a sales tax rebate agreement, which is still in effect.

Currie Motors is owned by the Jaffey family who live in the United Kingdom. The family owns nine dealerships in the UK and six entities, including a bank, in the U.S. Their business is not publicly traded.

With the ongoing renovation of Roosevelt Road and the pending opening of Home Owners Bargain Outlet (HOBO) at 7630 W. Roosevelt, Calderone said the relocation of Currie Chevrolet to Roosevelt and Desplaines means “great things are in store.” VFP


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After Closing for Facelift, Ferrara Candy Store Reopens

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The new and improved interior of Ferrara Candy store in Forest Park. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 || By Tom Holmes for Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

Sylvia Avila, who has worked at the Ferrara Candy Company’s outlet store at 7301 Harrison St. for 35 years, and Carmen Montano, who has been selling Lemonheads and Chewy Redhots at the location for 21 years, did the ribbon cutting at the grand reopening of the iconic little store that sells over 200,000 pounds of candy a year.

John Conversa, Ferrara’s director of manufacturing in the U.S., said the store had been closed for several weeks for remodeling.

“It hasn’t had much done to it since it opened in the late 1980s,” he said. “It’s really a charming store that we expanded and spruced up a bit with better lighting, new display cabinets, a larger floor plan and new displays for showcasing our products.”

Avila was happy that the murals on the walls, which depict a fanciful candy factory complete with elves helping the master candymaker, were preserved. She pointed to a place on the door frame where the artist, Charles Nitti, signed his name in 1989. The store is not only iconic but a source of nostalgia for generations of Forest Parkers.

“Now,” she said, “I’m having people I sold Atomic Fire Blasts to when they were children bringing their grandchildren in.”

Indeed, many prominent Forest Park residents have fond childhood memories connected to the little store. Mayor Calderone’s executive secretary and deputy village clerk, Sally Cody, remembers sweet aromas wafting through the open windows of her St. Bernardine School classroom and, when school let out, going through the parking lot to buy candy at the store which in “the old days” was located at the north end of the building near the Eisenhower Expressway.

Commissioner Rachell Entler remembered her St. Bernardine class being given a tour of the factory, which she said was “pretty neat,” and how Sal Ferrara often donated candy to the school.

Commissioner Joe Byrnes, who lives just three blocks from the candy factory and also enjoys the aromas, worked security for Ferrara way back in 1975. He has watched the company grow for over 45 years, and picked up on Entler’s comment regarding the company’s involvement in the community.

“They are always there when we need something,” he said, adding that when he and his wife go down to Florida, friends there ask them to bring Lemonheads along.


Meal of the Day Cafe

At the ribbon cutting, Mike Goldwasser, Ferrara’s chief human resources officer, told the crowd, “We are using the proceeds from the store to help fund the new Ferrara Scholarship Program through which we are offering ten $5,000 college scholarships to the children of Ferrara employees. We are thrilled to get the store going again and to invest in the families of our employees.”

The expansion allows the company to display more of its major brands like Lemonheads, Chewy Redhots, Trolli Sour Bites, Chuckles, Now and Later, and Rain Blo, along with Brach brands including, Brach’s Doable Dipper, Milk Chocolate Stars, and a gigantic 10-ounce Gummy Bunny for Easter.

Along with Ferrara’s major brands, the store features special candies for each holiday. Right now customers are purchasing cases, literally cases, of jelly bean Easter eggs. Conversa said in December it’s Christmas rings, Brach’s Chocolate Covered Almonds, and Bob’s Candy Canes. Around Valentine’s Day the big seller is Brach’s Conversation Hearts.

Conversa said there has never been a “grand design” for the store “other than to be a local candy store where kids and adults could purchase a wide variety of our products for a fair price. In the summer months it’s very common to see bikes and strollers parked outside the door.”

In the crowd of dignitaries and well-wishers at the ribbon cutting was a class of fifth-graders from Churchill School in Glen Ellyn, who actually worked with Ferrara last year to create a new candy recipe that would appeal specifically to millennials. VFP

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Breaking: ‘A Shooting Took Place’ During Funeral Procession in Maywood, Says Forest Park Mayor

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Forest Park police and emergency personnel at the corner of Madison St. and Circle in Forest Park. | J. Martin Konecki/Facebook

Saturday, February 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

According to multiple witnesses and an official in Forest Park, a shooting took place during a funeral procession on Saturday afternoon. So far, no more information is available on the reported shooting beyond a statement posted to Facebook by Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone.

Maywood police officials could not be reached immediately for comment. Here is Calderone’s full statement:

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More as this story develops. VFP

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