By Joe Boyle
Despite marking a year of the pandemic this past week, Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton believes he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The mayor said that the economic outlook this year for the village is encouraging.
“Our sales tax has picked up,” Sexton said during the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting Monday night. “Our retail has picked up. I think our diverse retail has helped us where other towns have suffered.”
Sexton was not only referring to the outdoor Evergreen Plaza and the Evergreen Marketplace along Western Avenue, but also the variety of restaurants and food stores along 95th Street.
In regards to events this summer, Sexton said the Independence Day Parade is still a work in progress as local and state officials make decisions for the future as more residents receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.
“We are still considering a parade,” Sexton said. “Maybe it will be half as big. At this point we are considering a few things.”
One option is to have residents decorate their homes to mark Independence Day, much like the Beverly neighborhood in Chicago did for St. Patrick’s Day.
“I don’t think it will be as big as in Beverly but we are looking at that,” Sexton said.
Sexton said the village could receive nearly $4 million from the COVID-19 relief bill that was passed last week by Congress.
“But don’t count the money yet,” Sexton said. “We have to wait until the rules and regulations are decided upon before any decisions are made.”
A resolution for maintenance of streets and highways under the Illinois Highway Code, from Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2021, was also approved by the board. Evergreen Park will receive $730,554 of Motor Fuel Tax funds to help maintain streets.
Oak Lawn has agreed to modify the 911 Regional Emergency Communication Center that it operates and includes Evergreen Park as one of the users. An agreement has been arranged for OLREC to obtain financing in the amount of $1,996,290 for the construction of a new dispatch facility at 98th and Massasoit in Oak Lawn.
Along with Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park, Alsip, Hodgkins, Burbank and Bridgeview also are serviced by OLREC. Burbank, Evergreen Park, Bridgeview and Alsip each make annual contributions of $60,000 for the 911 service.
Sexton said that the construction of a new dispatch facility in Oak Lawn will not result in any additional revenue from Evergreen Park. The board unanimously approved the measure.
Evergreen Park Girls Softball was seeking permission to host their opening ceremonies and parade on Friday, May 7, at Yukich Field, 8900 S. Kedzie Ave. Parents are asked to drop off their daughters at 6 p.m. at the pavilion near the soccer fields. The girls will then march through the parking lot, which would be closed from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The board approved unanimously.
On a related note, Trustee Kelly Burke is working on getting lights installed at the softball fields at Yukich Field. Burke has contacted ComEd to assist in providing lights for the softball teams. The rest of the money would come from capital funds, Sexton said. The lights would be installed in the fall so there will be no interruption of games in the summer.
In other news, the rate increase for water from Chicago will be an additional 1.1 percent. Green yard waste pickup will begin Thursday, April 1. Street resurfacing will take place from 87th to 91st streets along Kedzie Avenue. Improvements at Bejeck Park at 89th and Albany have been completed.
The Evergreen Park Famers Market, which takes place on Thursdays in the Yukich Field parking lot, will begin in May.
The Mongan Dance Academy, which was located on 95th Street, has been approved for a move to 2700 W. 91st St. A license was approved for Body Goals Sculpting Studio, Suite 103, 3830 W. 95th St. Appointments have to made in advance to the body contouring and sculpting salon. Only one person will be admitted for each session.
A business license was approved for ECO ATM LLC, 2559 W. 95th St. The automated kiosk purchases used or broken electronic devices. The kiosk will operate out of Mariano’s.