If you have a comment, question, suggestion, etc., you can call SPEAK OUT any time of the day or night. Call SPEAK OUT but do not leave your name or identify yourself in any way. If your comment or question concerns a particular town, please start your comment with “Lombard - I would like to know,” or “Villa Park - whose job is it to.” Please limit your call to one (1) minute. SPEAK OUT is a community service of the LOMBARDIAN/VILLA PARK REVIEW newspapers. When at all possible, we try to contact public officials to obtain the answers to questions that concern them, and residents are also encouraged to contact public officials with their inquiries. Due to space limitations, it may not be possible to print all calls. We reserve the right to edit calls for length, clarity and subject matter. Please remember SPEAK OUT callers are expressing their opinion as they see it and may not be factual. For verification purposes, cite your sources when quoting individuals or statistics.
********************************************** Just saw that the Village of Lombard is taking bids to build a supermarket or grocery store where the old DuPage Theatre used to be at Parkside and Main. Seriously? Use eminent domain and take over the old Mr. Z’s property. It’s only a minute, maybe tops, south. It won’t cause as much congestion. It makes no sense to make downtown Lombard that much more congested. It just doesn’t make sense. I’m not even a lawyer and I can figure this one out. * * * A grocery story sounds great for us north-siders, but I, for one, would have a problem over the traffic getting in and out of a store—any store—that is so close to that intersection. How does the village propose to address this? * * * This is Lombard calling in regard to the article in the June 1 Lombardian about the village hoping to attract a grocery store developer for the DuPage Theatre lot. Well, there is the Mr. Z’s lot with the building already there. They can just move in and open up a grocery store. Why do we want to use all that land to build another grocery store? There is plenty of room at Mr. Z’s to be able to build a grocery store. And by the way, the DuPage Theatre would have still been there if not for a past trustee whose No. 1 goal seemed to be to tear down the DuPage Theatre. Thank you. * * * Good grief. Either I’m confused or the Village of Lombard is really mixed up. For over a year or longer they said there was nothing they could do about the empty Mr. Z’s. Now all of a sudden they want a grocery store at the old DuPage Theatre site. I get that the village owns it but just leave it a parking lot. Make it a multi-level parking lot, then you’ll really get some money and activity down there. We want a grocery store. What’s wrong with the Mr. Z’s lot?
The following response from the Village of Lombard addresses the four SPEAK OUT calls (above) regarding a possible grocery store at the site of the commuter parking lot on Main Street: “The village has received several questions regarding the village’s recent Request for Proposals, seeking experienced developers and grocery store operators for the property at 101 S. Main. This direction was offered by the village board and was in response to many citizens desiring a grocery store that would serve the market demand that exists on the north side of Lombard. An FAQ sheet is available at www.villageoflombard.org/101southmain that can help answer many of the questions that residents and developers may have about the proposal process. “It is also important to note the following: “•The vacant building that was once a Mr. Z’s Grocery Store is not owned by the Village of Lombard. The price that a private business owner sets [for] their own private property is not under control of a local government municipality, and as such there is little that the village can [do] to utilize that location. However, the village’s RFP process is also intended to increase grocer interest in the downtown Lombard area. If a grocer prefers to occupy the former Mr. Z’s site instead of the 101 S. Main site, it would meet a desired goal of having a grocer in the downtown area. Furthermore, the village would not object to a grocery store at that location and there are incentive policies in place that could be considered to help attract the grocery use. “•The former Mr. Z’s site is not located within a Tax Increment Financing District and as such, eminent domain is not a viable option to acquire a private property for the benefit of another private property owner. However, the village has adopted an Economic Incentive Policy available for parties seeking to occupy the former Mr. Z’s site that may be able to provide assistance to prospective grocers if necessary and warranted. Even if eminent domain were theoretically possible, the amount of time and expense involved in this process would inhibit it from taking place. “•The village would require a traffic study to be undertaken for a grocery store project to determine the full impact of the project on the existing roadway network.” –JAC * * * I was stopped in the middle of the street at Main and Ann because a momma duck and her five babies were attempting to cross the street. A police officer left his coffee break, stopped traffic and helped the babies up the curb. Nobody else stopped or took the time to do this. Kudos to the Lombard Police and this unknown officer for a great display of compassion and public service. Proud to be a Lombardian. * * * Thanks very much to the Villa Park VFW for the Memorial Day presentation. It was great to see people turn out to remember those who have given so much for all of us. * * * Bravo, bravo to the contributor to SPEAK OUT. Throw your hat in the ring and either party is welcome. These words say it all. I agree that I want someone representing me, and us, who can get things done. As far as party affiliation, hey, you guys have got to work for my vote. This is not Chicago–I lived in Chicago. I can say never again. * * * Lombard. Recently there was a program highlighting Orphan Annie’s play and musical theater. Many people probably don’t realize that Little Orphan Annie was actually created in Lombard by Harold Gray and that the Lombard Historical Museum has some exhibits highlighting the early Orphan Annie comics and some of the memorabilia from the Orphan Annie days in Lombard.
Lombard Historical Society Executive Director Sarah Richardt provided the following information: “Harold Gray, the creator of the Little Orphan Annie comic strip, lived in Lombard. You can see a display about his work and other Legends of Lombard in the Carriage House at 23 W. Maple on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-4 and Saturdays from 10-2.” –JAC * * * When will swamp antics in Washington stop? Continuous investigations and now lawsuits against the elected president continue. The work of the people stops. The politicians and bureaucrats insist on playing the soap opera with no end. The only end is the self-gratification and relentless retention of power and more power. The people of the United States mean nothing. The politicians and bureaucrats need a kick in the rear. The only ones who can do that is us, so start kicking. * * * Lombard calling in. Just wanted to say I was at Dairy Queen with my wife and son on June 10 and went across the street and sat at the Maple Street Chapel, having our ice cream. I left my wallet on the sidewalk near the Maple Street Chapel. I didn’t notice until we had gotten to the Jewel for grocery shopping afterward, but went back and the wallet was not there. I went to the police station and filed a police report, did all that stuff, couldn’t find the wallet. I got back to my house and someone had hidden it in my front door. Everything was in there, including all the cash, so I really just wanted to say thank you to the person who did this. I hope he or she gets a chance to read this and I also wanted to say it is so nice to live in a community where people are willing to help out their fellow neighbors when they have a time of need, like I had with my wallet missing. So, thank you, bye. * * * Hi, Lombard calling. Your lovely light that you have at Madison and 53 has traffic backed up all the way up into Glen Ellyn. Also, cars are moving at a nice, brisk 5 mph pace and I’ve already seen two accidents at Harding from people trying to force their way onto 53. So, thanks, Lombard. You make everyone’s commute through your lovely town a dream. * * * Hello. I’m just calling to give a big shout out and congratulations to the organizers of the fourth annual Ale Fest. It was beautifully run, there were a lot of good craft beers; kudos to the organizers. A lot of hard work I’m sure went into it behind the scenes. Beautiful weather, great price, great beer. It was nice to see so many people out and about enjoying themselves. I’m looking forward to next year’s fifth annual. Thank you. * * * I want to thank the wonderful people of Lombard for voting Yes to a new library. This has caused the property taxes on my business to go up $1,200 a year. I think it is just great that the businesses and commercial property owners have zero say in elections. I would love to know how much the library portion raised the property tax on Yorktown mall. If property taxes go up, the rent goes up. It is that simple. All this will do is trickle down to the customer with higher prices on retail items. Brick and mortar stores are having a tough time getting by as it is. Oh, by the way, I am a Lombard resident. My property taxes on my house went up $280 a year. So, thanks again to all the people of Lombard who were apparently duped for voting yes to spend $23 million on a library. I would have been fine with spending $8 million to renovate the original structure. $23 million? Are you people out of your minds? * * * I believe someone recently asked in SPEAK OUT why Congressional Republicans like Peter Roskam don’t hold town hall meetings. After what happened in Virginia on June 14, maybe you have an answer. There are a lot of nasty people out there. * * * Villa Park calling. My compliments to the contractor who resurfaced Summit. They did a great job. The road is smooth, properly aligned and transitions to the curb evenly. Good choice, Villa Park. On the other hand, High Ridge Road, which is washboarded and seems to have drainage issues, I think you got taken, Villa Park. Goodbye. * * * What’s wrong with someone wanting to see more American flags in America, and why would you connect that with the open border? Also, criticizing the president of the United States is what promotes hatred. We all had presidents we didn’t like, but the job commands respect. He was elected whether you like it or not. * * * Can someone please clarify where the money for Lombard Ale Fest actually goes? In the past we understood that it went to Glenbard East to pay for their past bills and also Lombard Town Centre. Now we’re being told it’s going to the Lombard Historical Society, which has nothing to do with the town, and some of us are very upset it’s not actually going into the downtown, where the event was actually happening. So, can someone please clarify why this has changed this year? We are very upset with the change. Thank you.
Members of the Lombard Ale Fest Committee/Glenbard East Boosters responded: “The Lombard Ale Fest Committee/Glenbard East Boosters have been meeting consistently since September of 2016 to plan the 2017 event. As in the past, the committee organizers chose two not-for-profits to receive proceeds from the event while also sponsoring the Lilac Parade and giving a cash donation to Sacred Heart for their assistance in parking. We appreciate that Lombard Town Centre sold tickets in the past for this successful event but with less than 50 tickets sold out of 1200, it became difficult to justify the added logistics. The committee decided to discontinue this service and only offer online sales through our Web site and day of event ticket sales. We welcome any organization in the future who would like to actively plan and participate in the event as well as any downtown business that would like to be involved as a sponsor.” –JAC * * * “This is Lombard calling. It is Saturday night, gorgeous night, Taste of Wheaton, also Taste of Glen Ellyn; are we ever going to have the Taste of Lombard? It’s been very missed and I feel the trustee who wanted to get rid of the Taste of Lombard succeeded and now we don’t have a Taste of Lombard. Thank you.
Your comment was forwarded to the Village of Lombard, which gave the following response: “It’s a common misconception that the Village of Lombard ended the Taste of Lombard; however the event was managed and overseen by the Lombard Jaycees. The event ended when the Lombard Jaycees disbanded in 2014. The Village Board formed a committee for the sole purpose of seeking out another event that could help fill the gap that the Taste of Lombard had left. A request for proposals was sent to community groups, encouraging anyone with a potential event to step forward. While there was some initial interest from community groups, as of June 19, there has not been a serious proposal received by the committee. However, the Village remains open to supporting a Village wide event as long as it is operated by a local community group and provided fundraising for Lombard Organizations. Furthermore, per the Committee recommendations, the event does not need to be held over the Fourth of July and can be a 1 or 2 day event at another location. Anyone interested in submitting a proposal can visit www.villageoflombard.org/pridecommittee for more information.” –JAC * * * With the coming of summer in Lombard, comes “Cruise Nights.” Although a nice event for Lombard, the downtown area of Lombard needs a break. This may be unpopular but hear me out. To be fair, perhaps Yorktown can host car nights starting next summer or split the summer calendar. The downtown residents would like to sit on their balconies without exhaust and noise pollution during the summer as well. Every weekend downtown is too much. Thank you.
Your comment was forwarded to the Village of Lombard, which gave the following response: “While we understand that you are frustrated with the noise and congestion caused by visitors to downtown Lombard during Summer Concerts and Cruise Night events, which is currently celebrating its 19th Anniversary, the purpose of the event has always been to draw people into downtown Lombard. While choosing to live in a bustling downtown area comes with its challenges, the event continues to draw attention, awareness, and foot traffic to the Lombard’s downtown. In 2014 the question of moving the event to Yorktown was raised, but it was determined that the purpose of the event is to bring visitors to downtown Lombard, so the relocation of the event would not be applicable. Additionally, moving the Village’s event to Yorktown Shopping Center would require the ownership of the mall to participate, whereas the event’s current location is located mostly on public streets which are overseen by the Village. The event has grown a lot since it began in 1998 and this type of success brings with it noise and traffic that is common in a successful downtown. But it’s important to find a common ground as well. In years past, the Cruise Nights season began the first weekend in June and ran through mid-September. The season has been shortened to begin the second week of June and to end on the last Saturday in August, with no event on the Fourth of July weekend. Additionally, cruise cars are not allowed to run idle and cars doing so may be reported to Police or event volunteers on site. Please feel free to contact Communications Coordinator Avis Meade at (630)620-5718 with any additional questions.” –JAC * * * I appreciate the comprehensive answer from the village regarding the hiring of department heads. The current police chief is from outside the department, the current fire chief is from outside the department, the current director of public works is from outside the village and the current village manager is from outside the village. I wasn’t aware and didn’t know about the habit of hiring from within the Village. According to village records for the past 29 years an outside department head was brought in to be chief. The only internal candidate lasted a year. It can be dangerous to put all of your eggs in one basket. Best of luck to all, we have a great PD; want to keep it that way.
Your comment was forwarded to the Village of Lombard, which gave the following response: “Thank you for your feedback in regards to the Village’s speak out responses. Each response is carefully considered, involves input from various staff members and is intended to provide useful information and educate residents that read the Lombardian. It should be noted that the current Finance and Community Development Department heads were promoted from within and have successfully performed their duties on behalf of the citizens for nearly 10 years and almost 9 years respectively. As such, there is a track record of promoting from within based upon the factors noted in the Village’s prior response. In addition, while the search for the next Police Chief is focused internally, the process includes many steps to ensure that the candidate or candidates are qualified to fulfill the position including an assessment center of professionals from outside the organization, interviews by department heads, writing exercises and a battery of personality tests. This process is thorough and time consuming but intended to ensure that the right person is selected. Quite frankly, the Village agrees with the caller that we have a great Police Department and our goal is to maintain and improve it moving forward.” -JAC