DOLTON, Ill. (August 15, 2023) – The Dolton Park District Board of Commissioners President Cleo Jones announced the Park District will file a lawsuit against the Village of Dolton and Mayor Tiffany Henyard on Tuesday. The lawsuit is in response to a closure enforced by the Village of a parking lot at John W. Needles Park — where a car show was scheduled to take place — on Saturday, August 12.
Parking lot closure
Darin and Rozalyn Bosley were planning to host their ninth annual car show in Dolton at the park, located at 142nd Street and Woodlawn Avenue, on Saturday, August 12.
Darin Bosley told The Lansing Journal he was contacted by Village of Dolton Administrator Keith Freeman a few days prior to the event and was told his event would be shut down if it were not moved to the same area where Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard was hosting an event on the same day. Having already secured permits from the Dolton Park District for Needles Park, Bosley ignored Freeman’s claims.
On Saturday morning, the Bosleys arrived at the park to find concrete barriers had been placed in front of the entrances to the parking lot, effectively closing the parking lot to any vehicles.
“We got in touch with the Park District, trying to figure out what was going on, and Tiffany [Henyard] basically shut the park down because she wanted us to have our event where her event was going to be taking place that same day,” said Darin Bosley at a press conference at the Dolton Park District Administration Building on Tuesday, August 15.
The Bosleys ultimately moved the event to Calumet Beach in Chicago’s East Side neighborhood. Darin Bosley told The Lansing Journal relocating the event cost thousands of dollars.
Dolton Park District response, lawsuit
“It was a breach of Dolton Park District rules and regulations. We were pretty much overtaken and they pretty much took over a park,” Jones said. “This cannot happen ever again.”
“The Dolton Police were saying they had an ordinance in place prohibiting us to have this event,” Jones said. “I talked with the Village Clerk and she said she had not heard of this ordinance. … We want to know, what is the problem? — Other than the Mayor having an event down the street?”
The Park District is a different public body than the Village, and neither is subject to the other. They each comprise different elected officials, and each levies its own taxes and has its own policies.
Jones said the Dolton Park District Board was in the process of filing a lawsuit against the Village of Dolton, adding that Mayor Henyard and the Dolton Police Department would be included in the litigation. Jones would not disclose further details of the lawsuit as it was not yet finalized at the time of Tuesday’s 11 a.m. press conference.
Others that spoke at the press conference included Interim Executive Director of the Dolton Park District Stephanie Wiedeman; Villages Trustees Jason House, Brittney Norwood, and Tammie Brown; Park District Board Commissioners Sandra Wells and Kyle Rochelle; former Village Trustee Valerie Stubbs; and Thornton Township Assessor Cassandra Elston.
Neither Mayor Henyard nor Administrator Freeman replied to The Lansing Journal’s request for comment.
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