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A response to Sharon Daly [Village Hall Needs a Laxative, Nov. 21, 2012]

The current hoarding by the Calderone administration is not without precedent as shown in detail at forestparkhistoryclub.com. Here are some past purchases and amounts paid: (see sidebar)

When property is purchased by any municipality, it is removed from the tax rolls therefore depriving the schools, the parks as well as the municipality itself money needed to fund these agencies. Generally when purchasing a property, planning and forethought produce a cost benefit analysis to determine if the loss of revenue and cost of improvements will be replaced by something of greater value to the community.

So what happened to the properties listed above:

The small lot at 1138 Lathrop sat unused until 2009 when it was quickly turned into a park to force a child molester to move.

The house at 415 Beloit was quickly torn down but the property then sat around as a gravel lot until finally becoming a parking lot ten years later. The improvements cost in excess of $132,000.00 which, by the way, got us 16 parking spaces.

The buildings at 501 Desplaines and 7602-08 Adams for the most part served as high priced storage until 2009 when after years of paying rent for the police trailers behind village hall, the properties finally were turned into police facilities at a cost of over $375,000.00.

The property at 7824 Madison, AKA the Altenheim. We all know what’s going on there….nothing. Just a reminder, we the taxpayers paid the seller $3,650,000.00 in 2001 however, as of today we have only serviced the debt, shelling out about $4,000,000.00 and we are nowhere near owning it. Check back in a few more years.

Speaking of the failed YMCA and current offer from Fenwick H. S., neither of these proposals would do anything but cost us taxpayers money to develop and maintain them. The non-for profit status of each concern would produce zero income.

Who could possibly forget the two deteriorating houses at 7418 Randolph. Prior to purchase, the owner had racked up $1,000,000.00 in violation fines. What did the Calderone administration do? They dropped the fines and rewarded the owner by buying the property for $218,750.00. They quickly and ceremoniously (Calderone at the controls of the wrecker) tore down the houses only to let the vacant gravel lot sit. Finally, after 8 years and many thousands of taxpayer dollars, they turned it in to a parking lot that holds 10 cars.

Even the embarrassing purchase of 1000 Beloit for $330,000.00 to build a south side Police Station, that went nowhere, led to a reasonably quick teardown of the buildings which rendered the site safe. But with 512 Desplaines and the Altenheim outbuildings, we have serious trouble on our hands. Someone could get hurt or worse yet killed and who would be footing the bill (and painful remorse) for a potential tragic loss? We, the taxpayers.

Sharon, Rory, keep it going!

Steve Backman
Forest Park