Kelly said her department cares about seniors
Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury’s latest comments about the status of a new village senior center didn’t sit well with the head of the park district.
Park District Director Maddie Kelly said she was hurt my remarks Bury made at the May 13 village board meeting that seniors “are getting screwed” as politics get in the way of a proposed series of land exchanges and purchases that would lead to the development of a new senior center.
The proposed land exchanges and purchases involve the village, a Lutheran church, the park district and an Oak Lawn car dealership.
“I’m hurt because she’s making it sound like we don’t care about seniors,” Kelly said.
Quite the opposite is true, Kelly said.
Seniors routinely gather at several park district facilities to participate in structured activities or to informally socialize, Kelly said.
“They recreate at our facilities,” said Kelly, who added that seniors gather at the Pavilion, Stony Creek Golf Course, the Racquet Club and the Oak View Center.
“We have some of the best senior activities,” Kelly said.
Bury agrees that the park district offers quality senior programming, but she’s looking for a permanent location that the seniors can call home.
“I’m sorry that Miss Kelly feels hurt, but this isn’t about her feeling or my feeling but about the seniors of Oak Lawn,” Bury said. “If the (park) board doesn’t want to dialog, I respect their wishes. I don’t know what the harm is in discussing it. Adults work out their problems and have conversations.”
Bury added that not all seniors can take advantage of park district programs. A dedicated senior center, however, would provide a place for all seniors to gather.
The proposed land exchanges and purchases involved the village, park district, Mancari’s auto dealership, 4630 W. 95th St., and St. Paul Lutheran Church, 4660 W. 94th St.
Under the terms of the proposal, St. Paul would sell a 61,740 square-foot parcel located adjacent to the church to Mancari’s, who would deed the property to the village. The village, in turn, would deed the property to the park district.
Mancari’s would then negotiate with the park district to purchase a 41,862 square-foot parcel located between the dealership and the Oak Lawn Ice Arena. The village would then negotiate with the park district and Mancari’s to secure the funds needed to build the senior center.
The agreement would give the park district additional open space and provide Mancari’s room to expand its landlocked dealership, Bury said.