Friday, December 16, 2011

December 2011 Round Up

Happy Holidays and New Year to all my family, friends, and fellow citizens.....
We continue to review Theater Proposals and are very excited about possible opportunities ahead. Discussions are just in exploring stage so nothing to report yet! ..Stay Tuned!
63 applications for our City Manager position... Should have someone in the seat late 1st quarter.
Ridge and Lake Cook - No Right Turn law was affirmed by the City Council after a recommendation from our Traffic Commission to allow those movements. This is the 6th time I have participated in these debates and it does not get any easier.... I wish there was a better way!
The City of Highland Park will put a question on March 20th ballot asking voters to give us the power to get the best electricity rates for our power (with resident opt out provision). Municipal Aggregation will be carried a step further with us working in a North Shore Consortium to get even better electric rates.
On the Environmental front we passed a Construction Debris Recycling Ordinance and a Plastic Bag/Film Ordinance that will help collect and recycle these materials.
Park District/City Council meeting was a great success... Mayor Rotering and myself are part of a subcommittee that will meet as a subcommittee with the Park District to discuss major capitol projects, shared services and opportunities, and the disposition of the Highland Park Country Club. Lot of stuff on these items and need to get moving.... Yep. This could be a Big One....
Please look at the final report of the Lake County's 60% Recycling Task Force Report We just passed approval of report at our Directors meeting and will be asking all of our 42 member communities to vote on this report. SWALCO will be making the rounds presenting the findings to members upon request.
Ice Skating Rink at Port Clinton is worth checking out in our downtown. The Alliance and property owners have done a excellent job promoting our CBD with ice sculptures, reindeer, and the great decorations that frame our primary shopping district.
Our Sustainability Consultants Delta are on track in working on three short term action items that include Zero Waste in our Schools, Electric Vehicle demonstration and programing, and Enhanced Recycling. We will also be calling stakeholders to the table for a global discussion in early February (TBA).

Looking forward to continued Public Service On Lake County Board

Last night at a SWALCO meeting in Hainesville with colleagues from over 25 of Lake County's communities I felt excitement about the vast opportunities to create positive change. There is strength in numbers and broader consensus building. Local government, including the County, is a place where we can make a difference in peoples lives. The gridlock of Federal and to the lesser extent State government is something I have not seen in most local government.

Highland Park and Lake County are AAA financially rated and have worked together on a broad spectrum of issues. Looking forward to participate in this much broader forum in representing residents in Highland Park, Highwood, and Deerfield.

The primary election date is March 20th with early voting starting February 27th in Lake County. While I am unopposed in the Primary I will be putting together a campaign as the November general election could produce an opponent. I released a Press Release to announce my election for Lake County Board District 11. I want to thank Sen. Garrett, Rep. May, Mayor Rotering, Mayor Pierce, Mayor Geraci, and the entire City Council of Highland Park for their support.

Joyce O’Keefe receives Environment Award from City

Joyce O’Keefe received the Highland Park Natural Resources Commission’s Award for Meritorious Service to the Highland Park Environment.

In large part because of Joyce O'Keefe we have the Lakeshore Preserve at Fort Sheridan. This spectacular public accessible strip of Lake Michigan shoreline is held by Open Lands and has raised millions for its restoration and development. Enjoy the trails along the shoreline and ravine where you can experience the beauty of nature right here in our front yard at Fort Sheridan.

Joyce, has been a strong advocate for Open Lands and Historic Preservation during her public service career. I had the pleasure of sliding into her seat on the City Council when she stepped down in 1993. She will always be one of my Highland Park hero's and was so happy to see her receive this well deserved award. BRAVO JOYCE!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Volunteer Snow Shoveling Program to Commence this Winter Season

Alex Gordon, a student at Highland Park High School, has founded a snow-shoveling program in which volunteers can assist Highland Park residents who cannot clear their own sidewalks. Working in conjunction with the City of Highland Park, the program will match volunteers who are able to shovel snow and clear sidewalks with residents who need assistance.  Residents interested in volunteering should contact Highland Park resident Alex Gordon at (847) 224-8458 or at Residents who are interested in determining if they qualify for assistance with snow removal should contact Don Miner, Manager of Youth and Senior Services, at (847) 926-1861 or at Both the volunteers and the recipients will be required to complete liability waivers. Training will be provided for volunteers.

Each property owner will be responsible for providing shovels and ice melting materials as required. Snow Blowers will not be permitted due to safety issues.  The program will only include sidewalks, not driveways.
Efforts will be made to geographically match volunteers with recipients.

Park and 41 Revisited

In October I blogged about the new development proposal across from the Dunkin Doughnuts and received very little feedback. Following, a few dozen neighbors showed up at the City Council meeting in November concerned about how this development would add additional cars on McCraren, contribute to the worsening of the 41 and Park intersection, and create undue pedestrian conflicts on and around the new proposed development.

The developer first came to the Community several years ago with this proposal at the request of myself and others that want to see the old cement site cleaned up and revitalized. A strong and desirable commercial base is important to promote property tax stabilization and property values. This proposal has seen many public hearings and changes at the Plan Commission and Council that has improved the plan. That being said, the best result of this process would be if the Doughnut business could be incorporated within this new development to alleviate the conflicts that it brings to this intersection.

While this development on its own is a plus for our community, we can't ignore the problems with this intersection and need to proactively cultivate solutions like the one I propose.


The 2nd Annual Post Holiday Highland Park Recycling Extravaganza will be held On SATURDAY JANUARY 7th 8am to 12pm at 1180 Half Day Road (Public Service Campus).... ALL electronics will be BANNED from Landfill January 1st.... Along with Electronics, Styrofoam and Fluorescents Bulbs will be collected. This is open to all Lake County Residents... Pass the word!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ravinia Festival gives Highland Park $781,000

A big Thank You to Ravinia Festival for sharing revenues to the tune of $781,000. This money is generated from a voluntary agreement with Highland Park that shares a percentage of revenues coming from ticket sales. $234,200 of this money goes to YEA HP, which provides funding for our Youth, Education, and Arts.

This is the third year of shared revenues that has now totalled $2.25 million for the City of Highland Park. This agreement came out of our recent discussions of a funding mechanism for the purchase of the Highland Park Theater, maintenance of infrastructure, and the guaranteed support of our schools and Arts. We could not be more grateful to the Festival for their commitment to our community, our schools, and bringing the worlds best in performance arts to The City of Highland Park.