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Oak Lawn trustees in street fight

Carol Quinlan | Supplied photo

Carol Quinlan | Supplied photo

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The $1 million allocated to the Oak Lawn Village Green expansion fund has been moved to the village’s general infrastructure fund much to the ire of one trustee.

Of that money, $541,900 will be used for street resurfacing and alley paving in District 2, which is represented by Trustee Alex Olejniczak.

“I do not think it’s fair to the taxpayers when one district is allotted more than half of the reallocated money,” Trustee Carol Quinlan (5th) said. “The original plan for this money was to expand the Village Green, which, of course, would have benefited the entire community.”

Quinlan and Trustee Bob Streit voted against reallocating the funds at the village board’s May 28 meeting. Streit agreed that expansion of the Village Green would have benefited the entire village.

Quinlan’s district received $81,600, which will fund the resurfacing of two streets in the 5th District, she said. There are no alleys in the district.

Including the reallocation, the village budgeted a total of $5.6 million for infrastructure work, which includes street resurfacing, paving alleys and water main replacement.

The reallocation will allow the village to fund 14 additional projects this year.

District 2 received about $1.3 million for infrastructure work, the most of the village’s six districts.

Olejniczak said infrastructure work is recommended by village staff and engineers, who are responsible for prioritizing the projects based on need.

District 2 work will include resurfacing Kimball Avenue from 53rd Court to 55th Avenue and 92nd Street from 52nd to 53rd avenues. Additionally, the alley between Tulley and 51st avenues from 91st to 93rd streets will be paved.

“There are certain districts in the village that are older,” said Olejniczak, who after the April municipal election was appointed chairman of the public works committee by new Mayor Sandra Bury.

Quinlan said there are streets in the 5th District badly in need of repair.

“There are streets in District 5 with a high (priority) rating that are not being done this year,” Quinlan said. “More money allotted to my district would have helped. So, no, I am not buying into Alex’s argument that he should get more money for his district because it’s older. I bought into that in 2008, 2009, 2010. My goodwill has ended. I just think it’s a kick in the teeth.”

Since 2008, District 3 has received approximately $8.7 million in infrastructure spending, followed by District 2 at $7.2 million. District 5 got $5.2 million during that period.

Olejniczak opposes expansion of the Village Green. He says the property is large enough to accommodate village activities, including Fall on the Green.

The plan to expand the Village Green was proposed by former Mayor Dave Heilmann, who loss his bid for re-election in April. The proposal called for the green to be expanded by 40,000 square feet on land currently occupied by the Masonic Temple, 9420 S. 52nd Ave.

A new temple would have been built on a village-owned parking lot near the northwest corner of 53rd Court and Oak Street. The village would have paid for construction of the new building in exchange for taking over the lodge at 9420 S. 52nd Ave.

Heilmann proposed transforming the Village Green into a destination site with several potential attractions, such as an ice rink, small water fountains, a stage and kiosks that could be used by merchants or for a farmers market.



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