Showing posts with the label local government

Elmhurst Demonstration Rain Garden - City Leading the Way on Stormwater Management

If you get a chance, take a walk by the Elmhurst Police Station on First Street and get a view of a newly installed/created 'demonstration rain garden' that they've recently built out front.  As of the past few days, the construction fence was still up around the project, but it appears that all of the work is complete and now they're just wrapping up the project.  The City of Elmhurst is - kind of - putting their money where their mouth is on this.  I say 'kind of' because they, ummm, didn't use their own money I don't think; they got a grant.  Details on the garden can be found here on the Elmhurst Storm Water Plan site  where they describe the project: The Project Involves the construction and maintenance of a rain garden, sized between 800 and 1,200 square feet, to include an engineered soil mix to promote infiltration, as well as a variety of native shrubs, grasses, and forbs, immediately south of the Police Station. The goal is to reduce

School Boards And Their Insatiable Appetite for MOAR

In today's Daily Herald, Robert Sanchez covers Elmhurst School District 205 and their facilities .  It appears that the School Board is going to come to the taxpayers soon and ask for even more money.  Elmhurst Unit District 205 has released preliminary cost estimates for up to $151 million in building projects that could be included in a future referendum question. By more money, I mean...simply more.  The School District in Elmhurst appears to have an insatiable appetite for taxpayer money.  From 2007 to 2015, spending in the district increased 41%.  In just 8 years.  In 2007, they spent $78M.  In 2015 they spent $111M.   Source . That's $33M more EVERY YEAR in spending for the schools.  Did Elmhurst grow over that period of time?  The answer is no.  But the tax bill for the schools and their pensions sure did. And what did the average Elmhurst property owner get during that same period of time?  A 25% decrease in their property values.   Source .  (Elmhurst Scho

Our "Drops of routine life sprinkled on the altar of democracy"

(image removed by me in late 2022 because it showed kids faces) Six years ago today, I posted her on the blog about our friend and neighbor Dannee Polomsky winning her first seat on the Elmhurst City Council and I showed a photo of the then 2-year-old Babe who came with us to vote.    Fast forward those six years and you'll see this animated image above of me and all three kids outside of our polling place from Tuesday.  We didn't get to vote for my sister (she's up north from here), but we did have a handful of races that were contested. Glad to have brought the kids along and they got to wield their own dry erase ballots to vote between the Cubs and Sox and Leno and Letterman.  I think we've brought them to the polls every time we've gone, so we're doing our little part to do as Neil Steinberg called it yesterday : our little 'act of faith' in democracy. My little sacrifice of time, some drops of routine life sprinkled on the altar of democracy

Elmhurst Downtown Plan Proposal

I've covered the Elmhurst City Centre and the commercial developments and activities that take place down there on the blog for seven years.   You can see all the 'Elmhurst City Center' posts here .  There's a lot of them. But, there's big changes on the horizon for the downtown area.  If you live in any of the areas that are bordering the City Centre areas, you've probably noticed the sign you see above posted on various corners around town. The reason is that the City is going through a process to adopt a new Downtown Plan.  That plan sets forth some zoning changes that would amend the current zoning ordinance.   Full details can be found here on the City of Elmhurst's site . The City of Elmhurst should be commended for transparency and their efforts to engage the public on this.  In addition to these signs, they've also utilized a digital sign right on York.  I mean...they're really trying!  So, good work, City of Elmhurst. We happen to

Elmhurst Tax Increases Ahead

If you live in Elmhurst and opened your utility bill recently, you probably saw this notice in the envelope that calls out the tax increases you're about to be hit with.  They call it a 'Utility Bill Rate Increase', but let's all call it what it is:  Government reaching into your pocket and taking more of your money for no new services. This increase is a 12.6% increase for this year, but if you read closely, they say that there are EVEN MORE tax increases coming in the next few years.  They say, they *might* not be all the way up to 12.6%, but you can bet they'll be near 10% next year and the year after and the year after. Don't even get me started with the sewer costs.  How does the City figure your sewer bill?  Welp, they just take the consumption amount of water and charge you that rate for sewer fees.  Even if it all doesn't go down the drain.  Water your grass or garden?  That water isn't going in the sewer is it?  Nope.  Doesn't matter.

Re-Elect Todd Scalzo For Wheaton City Council

A good friend of ours is running for re-election as the West District Councilman in Wheaton, Illinois.  His name is Todd Scalzo and you can find out more about him and his campaign here on his site . Todd was first elected back in 2009 and has served the West District in Wheaton well over the past 8 years.  He's been endorsed by a strong and diverse set of stakeholders in Wheaton including the Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk, many of his fellow Councilman and even members of the local school board.   You can review the full list of endorsements for Todd Scalzo here . I first met Todd Scalzo back in the Spring of 1997 and have gotten to know him well over the past 20 years.  (Yikes!  I just realized that I have known Todd for more than half of my life!)  Some of you know that I too, spent time serving my local government as both a Village of Frankfort Trustee and as a Commissioner on the Frankfort Park District Board of Commissioners.  I know what it takes to make a difference on y

#TBT To The Time That Governor Jim Thompson Fundraised For Me

Today's "Throwback Thursday" post is the latest in the series here on the blog featuring some photos that I recovered from Flickr and transferred to Google Photos recently.   You can see the details here, including a photo of Da Mare and myself at the Joan ! These photos in this post are from October of 2005 and are from a fundraiser that was for my campaign for re-election to the Frankfort Village Board held at Die Bier Stube in Frankfort.  As you can see, the 'guest of honor' that night was former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson.  Yeah...pretty cool, right? How this came about is an interesting story about my time in politics - both at the local level as a Village Trustee, and in State politics as the driver and digital hack for Tom Cross, the then House Minority Leader in Illinois. Over the course of a few years and during dinners, time at the GOP convention, and assorted other what-have-yous, I was able to get to know The Governor and his right-hand-ma

New City of Elmhurst Website

Thanks to Alderman Dannee Polomsky who posted this above on her public Facebook Fan Page, I stumbled onto the new City of Elmhurst website . At first blush, it appears to be a pretty big improvement in terms of pure looks, but they've also added some nice functionality and elevated the 'search box' to speed up the user experience and get people where they want to go faster.  Also...they've made the new site responsive, so when you are heading there on your mobile device - as we are all wont to do more and more these days - the site responds to your device size and presents you with a format that works on mobile.  That *would* have been a big miss in this redesign if they didn't get right, imho. The photography they're using on the page is neat - as there's a few drone shots showing a pretty unique perspective to town and they've done a good job of highlighting the town. Also, you can see some highlighted items across the main part of the site inc

Village of Frankfort Is Getting A Movie Theatre

According to this piece by Patrick Guinane of the Chicago Tribune Daily Southtown , Mayor Jim Holland and the Board of Trustees in Frankfort have approved a new upscale movie theatre to come to town and occupy the now-vacant Dominick's store on LaGrange Road.   From the story : The Village Board voted 4-0 to approve Emagine Entertainment's proposal to build a 10-screen theater inside the former Dominick's grocery store at 19965 S. LaGrange Rd.   The vote came after a silent public hearing on a long-term plan to borrow $60.5 million to modernize the village's sewage treatment system, which could get a final vote at the March 21 board meeting.   The luxury theater, which will feature online reserved ticketing, powered reclining seats and beer and wine, drew rave reviews from Frankfort officials.   "It's been a long time since a project has garnered this much interest," said Trustee Cindy Heath, who expressed hope the theater would bring more show

Orange Theory Fitness Coming To Elmhurst City Centre

At the Elmhurst City Centre's Boo-tiful Saturday before Halloween, there were some folks giving out candy to kids and these 'coming soon' flyers to adults.  Looks like a new gym is coming to the City Centre and this one is going to be at 135 N. Addison Ave - which if you look at this LoopNet listing for space - is the new parking garage going up on Addison.   They have a site up for the Elmhurst studio here .   The odd thing is that I've heard about a different 'high end' gym/fitness place opening up on Addison, but on the west side of the street.  Check out this proposal to the City of Elmhurst for a Fitness Formula Club which is at 138 & 142 North Addison.  That's where the city parking lot is right now (I think!).   From the look of the proposal, it is a free-standing building and is HUGE.  Here's a screenshot of the front facade: I can't help but wonder...with places like FittRx and the newish Pilates place on York Street -

Sign the Petition to Allow Residents to Raise Chickens in Elmhurst

Image | The Proven Petition Site Some residents in Elmhurst are urging our local City Council to change their policy which would allow residents to keep chickens on their property. It is a good idea that needs to happen.  I believe my Alderwoman, Dannee Polomsky, is the sponsor of this measure - which would allow Elmhurst residents to keep a small number of chickens on their residential property.  Kudos to her for taking the lead on this issue. I whole-heartedly support this and if you live in Elmhurst urge you join me and sign the petition. Besides all the benefits outlined on the petition page (which frankly are fine), there are 2 dynamics that are at play in my mind: 1.  Individual property rights.  The long arm of the government shouldn't be reaching into my backyard.  I understand the nuisance aspects, but if I want to keep chickens, I should be able to keep chickens. 2.  The time for this has come.  Elmhurst isn't exactly a pioneer when it comes to allow