Described as the “civic responsibility of all businesses in Forest Park,” Mayor Anthony Calderone is asking store owners to pick up a broom.
At Monday’s village council meeting, Calderone proposed an amendment to the licensing requirements for local businesses that mandates they remove any litter or debris – including cigarette butts – from sidewalks and other areas adjacent to their businesses. The measure, he said, is born from comments made by businesses along Roosevelt Road who feel some store owners aren’t doing enough to tidy up.
Council members expressed support for the proposal, but tabled the item so that staff members could add another requirement. Commissioner Martin Tellalian suggested that any business holding a Class A liquor license must also provide a receptacle for patrons to dispose of their cigarette butts. The added regulation also appeared to win favor with the group, however, the Smoke Free Illinois Act calls for the removal of all ashtrays in areas where smoking is prohibited. The state law bans smoking within 15 feet of an entryway.
Commissioner Mark Hosty, who manages a Madison Street bar, was not present for Monday’s meeting.
“Primarily this is related to the cigar and cigarette butts that have become a problem since the smoking ban,” Tellalian said.
The type of container used by the businesses will be subject to the approval of the mayor, who also serves as liquor commissioner.
“What I don’t want is somebody putting a five-gallon bucket out there and saying, ‘this is my receptacle,'” Commissioner Mike Curry said.
No one from the business community spoke to the proposal during the meeting, but Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Development, said she would support such an ordinance. This issue has been the subject of periodic discussions within the business community for some time, said Kokenes.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” Kokenes said of the mayor’s proposal. “It’s just to give everyone a push.”
The village has hired an area agency that serves developmentally disabled residents to sweep such debris from the sidewalks of Madison Street. No such service is provided along Roosevelt Road. According to the mayor, the concern from business owners off Madison Street was not that they aren’t the beneficiary of a similar service, but that they need a little help in making sure everyone does their part.
The cooperative climate on Roosevelt Road is markedly different than that on Madison Street, said Kokenes, in part because businesses along Madison Street are in such close proximity to one another. In all likelihood, she said, local government would not be called upon to resolve this issue had it originated on Madison Street.
“It’s just a different makeup on Roosevelt Road,” Kokenes said. “I’m sure some people feel that it’s every man for himself on Roosevelt Road.”