Cubs anthology at local store

Just in time for the start of baseball season, Oak Park resident Don Evans will join former major leaguer Bob Miller for a book signing at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore on April 11. Evans helped compile a handful of contributions to Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting till Next Year. Writer Deb Brod, who wrote “Dugout Dudes” for the anthology, recently received a Lovey Award for the short story. Also contributing to Cubbie Blues are writers Robert Goldsborough and James Finn Garner, who will also be available on April 11

Miller played for the Detroit Tigers in the mid 1950s and later for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets.

Centuries & Sleuths, 7419 Madison, will host the event from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mayor says birthday was quiet

Mayor Anthony Calderone celebrated his 53rd birthday on Friday, April 4 with a few slices of pizza and “good conversation,” he said. The mayor said he and his wife stayed home for the occasion. Their son, a newlywed, brought his bride and their wedding photos to Calderone’s home. It was the first time Calderone had seen the album, he said.

Calderone was first elected to the village council in 1995 and is serving his third term as mayor. With two more years left on his current term, Calderone has spent more than a quarter of his life on Forest Park’s village council.

McDonald’s renovation to wait

A proposal to replace the McDonald’s restaurant at the corner of Madison and Desplaines won approval from the plan commission April 6, but it’s not likely the project will get underway anytime soon.

Rich Neubauer, a representative from the corporation, told commission members that construction will probably begin in a year. When Neubauer first appeared before the plan commission in January, the expectation was to break ground this month.

The proposal from McDonald’s would consolidate its current parcel with a vacant lot immediately to the north, which now hosts an abandoned gas station. Community leaders have talked about combining those lots to accommodate a mixed-use development, but a weak economy has forced a new reality.

“How can we expedite this and make it feasible so we don’t have to wait a year,” commission member Bill Kirchner asked.

The local franchise owner needs additional time to pull money together for the project, said Neubauer.

Kirchner suggested the municipality may be able to help offset construction costs by allowing the restaurant to retain a portion of the taxes it would normally pay to the village. That idea will be passed along to the village council as part of the commission’s unanimous approval of the project, but was not greeted warmly by everyone on the advisory board.

Steven Bitter, chairman of the plan commission, said McDonald’s hasn’t asked for such an agreement, and Forest Park may not be in a position to make the offer. 

Elite Tire clears another hurdle

Architect John Schiess urged members of the plan commission to recommend that his client, Rod Nunley, be allowed to build a new auto repair shop at the corner of Franklin and Harlem. The business, said Schiess during an April 6 hearing, is nothing else if it's not tangible.

"This is the proverbial bird in hand," Schiess said.

For roughly a year, Nunley has been trying to build a new auto repair shop to replace the one he has operated since 1986. He would prefer to do so on land that he owns, but that site – 7201 Franklin – represents a portion of a neighborhood that urban planners have said should be used for dense, transit-oriented development.

The plan commission voted unanimously to recommend Nunley be allowed to move his business on Harlem to the corner with Franklin.