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Oak Lawn trustee questions proposed roadwork shutout

Carol Quinlan | Supplied photo

Carol Quinlan | Supplied photo

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One might think that a village trustee would be pleased to not see bright orange road construction signs dotting her district in the summer months.

Think again.

Oak Lawn Village Trustee Carol Quinlan (5th) is fuming over plans that don’t call for even one inch of pavement in her district to be improved this year.

“We were all given a packet for the next year’s worth of street resurfacing and water main replacements. District 5 is getting zero dollars toward any street resurfacing,” she said at the Feb. 11 board meeting.

The lack of proposed spending for her district has Quinlan feeling “(ticked) off,” she said.

During the meeting, Quinlan rattled off the spending amounts planned per district. District 1 has $108,000 of improvements planned, she said, reading from a memo from the public works department. District 2 has more than $1.3 million, District 3 has $392,895, District 4 has $188,000, and District 6 has $305,000, Quinlan said.

“Not one street in District 5, and over $1 million is being spent in District 2. I have a hard time knowing we are doing two alleys, one in District 2 and one in District 3. I’d ask the public works committee to certainly look at District 5,” Quinlan said.

She wasn’t any happier after the meeting.

“Here’s the numbers. For six years, I’ve complained about District 5 being shortchanged,” Quinlan said. “This is the first time I have zero. Honestly, I was stunned. I thought, ‘Wait a minute.’ I got my big map out and figured out which streets were (getting repaired). They’re not even throwing me a bone.”

She said there are streets in her district in need of repair, given the brutal winter with salt deteriorating pavement, the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle, and the wears and tears of traffic on streets.

“This isn’t fair. Our roads deteriorate a hell of a lot more because of the winter. Let’s do the streets,” she said. “Some districts are getting alleys done. We get this list, they don’t consult us, and we’re expected to vote on it.

“It comes down to who (complains) the most and their streets are done. I’m all about fair, and I guess some districts are older, but zero?” she said.

Asked if she thought the plan was political, given a dispute she had with Mayor Sandra Bury at a board meeting a few weeks earlier, Quinlan said, “I like to think that’s not the case.”

Politics are not involved in the decision, Bury said.

“That’s traditionally done by engineering rankings,” Bury said. “She had proposed in past years to divide it (evenly) by district, and that would put streets that are severely at risk not being attended to. My understanding was these decisions are made by engineers who rank things objectively and, to my knowledge, that has not changed.

“They’re not going to say, ‘We like District 3 more than District 5.’ That’s not how it’s done and I would not support it any other way. It should be politics aside,” Bury said.

The board has not voted on the final plan.



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