This Thanksgiving we all have much for which to be grateful. But we at the Landmark are never satisfied, so we’d like to point out a few more things we’d be grateful to see during the coming months:
The end of the lawsuit against the North Riverside firefighters’ union
It has been well over a year since the village of North Riverside went to court to get a judge to agree that it had the right to unilaterally terminate its contract with union firefighters.
From the beginning, we believed this was a fool’s errand, and to date we’ve been proven correct. In October, a Cook County Circuit Court judge basically walked away from the case, saying she didn’t have jurisdiction.
While the village vowed to appeal that jurisdictional ruling, the matter is headed to the Illinois Labor Relations Board, which we’re guessing won’t be very kind to the village’s interpretation of Illinois labor law.
Word is that discussions are going on behind the scenes between the administration and the union. We hope that the result of those talks is a resolution to this unnecessary war between North Riverside and its firefighters.
A real solution for Swan Pond
It’s going on two years since a winter ice flood destroyed what already hadn’t been destroyed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Riverside’s Swan Pond Park.
The park had undergone a regrading, an ugly culvert was added to assist in drainage and native plants were laid down to help absorb water after rainy events. There was also some streambank stabilization and the river bank was outfitted with an inadequate asphalt path.
Flooding washed away parts of the bank and proved that asphalt wasn’t the right solution for the path; ice flows physically moved the native plantings and gouged the regraded landscape. The darn culvert doesn’t appear to work right, and the park needs attention once again.
The year 2016 needs to be the year Riverside gets this right. Swan Pond is too important an asset to let sit ruined another year. The village is investing $2 million in its downtown next year, and officials have identified the village’s link to the river as another engine for economic development.
Swan Pond needs care now and a plan to maintain it in the future.
Continued economic development in Brookfield
It’s been a good couple of years for Brookfield on the economic development front. While you might not call the newest additions to the commercial landscape in Brookfield “sexy,” what Brookfield has gotten are tax-generating businesses — some of them in brand new buildings — that will help the village reverse what has been an alarming decline in overall equalized assessed value for commercial properties.
As the village seeks solutions for its infrastructure and other capital needs, the recovery of property values is going to be key. It may also help the village convince voters to swallow hard and get behind an ambitious plan to address road improvements next year.
Next year will also see the village work on a new comprehensive plan and commercial zoning update. Both are critical to the future success for economic development in Brookfield.