Clock Tower building, Torrence improvements, website updates, and more
by Melanie Jongsma
Village Board meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at the Municipal Court Complex, 2710 170th Street. The Committee of the Whole meeting begins at 7:00pm, and typically at that meeting items are brought up for review and discussion among the Trustees. A Village Board meeting follows the Committee of the Whole meeting. At each Village Board meeting, the Trustees are voting on items that have been discussed at the Committee of the Whole meeting two weeks previous. All meetings are open to the public. The highlights below are from the Committee of the Whole and Village Board meetings that took place November 21, 2017. (Click the link to find the agendas for these meetings.)
Clock Tower office building (3308–3346 181st Place)
Village Administrator Dan Podgorski explained that the owners of the Clock Tower building had previously entered into a lease agreement with the Village of Lansing to share use of the Clock Tower parking lot. This would provide additional parking for Fox Pointe events and would grant a needed easement, and the Village would take on the responsibility of improving and maintaining the lot. This summer the owners of the building requested that the Village purchase the property instead. An appraisal was performed, and the appraisal price is $300,000.00. The Board has been discussing in Executive Session the pros and cons of purchasing the Clock Tower property—the office building as well as the parking lot. Owning the property will give the Village the freedom to make the needed parking lot improvements as well as decide whether the building is an asset for Fox Pointe. Podgorski recommended that approval of this purchase be placed on the next Board agenda
During Public Comment, Barry Bergstrom expressed his shock that the property was being sold. He is a tenant of the Clock Tower building and expressed frustration with the unfinished condition of the parking lot as well as with not being informed about the pending sale. “I’ve had clients refusing to come to my building because of the parking situation,” he told the Board. “It’s an unacceptable condition.” Village Attorney Matthew Welch explained that the landlord had ordered a “cease and desist” after construction had begun on the parking lot, so Village contractors were forced to leave the lot unfinished. Welch apologized for the situation but acknowledged there was nothing the Village could legally do. “I understand the difficulty,” Welch said, “but it wasn’t the Village that changed its position. The Village has done everything in its power. The landlord has issued explicit directions to get off of the property, and we had to comply. They refused to sign the agreement, and that’s what caused this whole situation.”
Trustee Skrbina invited someone named Matthew to explain a request from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for a temporary construction easement so they can make improvements on Torrence Avenue, which is a state-owned road. Matthew explained that the request is actually for a renewal of an easement that had been previously granted, and it involves land that is currently unused. The Torrence Avenue improvements include widening the bridge over the Little Calumet River. Approval of that request will be added to the agenda for the December 5 Board meeting.
2017 Estimated Property Tax Levy
Village Administrator Podgorski explained the factors that led to an estimated property tax levy of 4.9%. Trustee Grady-Perovich mentioned that last year’s estimate was also 4.9%, and she asked if there was a five-year history of the levy to look back at. Podgorski’s recollection is that the levy has been 4.9% for at least five years. Trustee Manno, with the assistance of Attorney Welch, made a motion to approve the 2017 estimated property tax levy in the amount of $15,047,536. Trustee Hardy seconded, and the motion carried.
Miscellaneous LPD news
- The Lansing Police Department will hold another Citizens Police Academy in January. Residents who are interested should contact Lt. Scott Bailey.
- DANGer classes have resumed at several schools, teaching fifth-grade students about the dangers of Drugs, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Gangs.
- The “Safe Exchange Zone” is available for residents who have made internet purchases from unknown sources.
- Residents are encouraged to report abandoned vehicles to the police department so they can be towed away before snow plow season begins.
- Chief Murrin congratulated members of the Lansing Police Department for bringing to a successful resolution the case involving two Lansing residents who were attacked in or near their homes last month. The entire Criminal Investigation Division was given a Unit Citation Award.
Technology Director Fabian Newman has been doing the behind-the-scenes work necessary in preparation for updating the Village website. The new site will be live before the end of the year and will showcase the new Village logo.
Quiet Zone delineators
The Board approved the purchase of Quiet Zone delineators from Cloverleaf Corporation.
Building in Lansing
- The Building Department issued 222 building permits last month, which represents a $2.2 million investment by residents building, remodeling, or making other enhancements in our community.
- Popeyes construction is on schedule—their goal is to open by year-end.
- The December 1 yard waste pick-up deadline may be extended if the mild weather continues.
Yay for our Youth Center
The Patti Leach Youth Center has been approved to host Heart & Sole, a Girls on the Run program for middle school students. The program meets twice a week and provides a 45-minute session with a healthy snack and physical activity.
Happy birthday, Illinois
December 3, 2018, is Illinois’s 200th birthday, and to kick off the year-long celebration Lansing will participate in a flag-raising ceremony at noon on Monday, December 4, 2017, at the Municipal Center. The Village received a bicentennial flag from Governor Rauner’s office last week. That flag will fly under our state flag during the year of the state bicentennial.
The Board meeting adjourned to Executive Session to “consider the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body” and to “discuss potential litigation.”
The next Committee of the Whole meeting and Village Board meeting are scheduled for Tuesday, December 5 at 7:00pm. Meetings are held in the Lansing Court Complex at the Police Station, 2710 170th Street in Lansing, Illinois. Agendas for these meetings are to be posted at least 48 hours prior, and they are typically found on the Village website.