Future of Calumet Country Club development unclear 

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Future of Calumet Country Club development unclear 

March 12, 2021 - 21:14
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The future of the property on which the Calumet Country Club sits is unclear, after a recent vote in Homewood and Cook County officials saying a forest preserve purchase is unlikely.

Homewood approved a settlement with developer Diversified Partners of Arizona on Jan. 26. Plans were for a distribution warehouse and the agreement included rezoning the property and other incentives. 

The settlement was Homewood’s attempt to retain some control of the property. Diversified Partners was petitioning to have the land disconnected from the village and village attorneys didn’t believe they could win the court battle. If disconnected, the developer would likely seek to be annexed by Hazel Crest, which borders the property on three sides. 

When the settlement was agreed to, Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry said he was “neutral” about the development. Hazel Crest later came out against it.

The Homewood village board unanimously voted down the rezoning this week. Diversified Partners CEO Walt Brown Jr. told the Chronicle he believes that was a violation of the settlement and his firm would again look to disconnect the property from the village. 

Hazel Crest officials told the Chronicle after Homewood's village board vote on Tuesday that Hazel Crest still does not support the trucking development and won’t annex the property should it disconnect from Homewood. 

“We look forward to the development of the (property) in a manner that will allow it to remain one of our regional jewels,” according to the Hazel Crest statement released on Friday. 

If the property is disconnected from Homewood and Hazel Crest does not annex it, it would fall under Cook County jurisdiction. Hazel Crest officials said they’ve spoken with County Commissioner Deborah Sims, who didn’t respond to the Chronicle’s requests for comment. Calumet Country Club is within her district.

Alsberry has raised the possibility of the Cook County Forest Preserve District acquiring the property. The Cook County board of commissioners is also the forest preserves committee.

County Commissioner Donna Miller represents most of Homewood. She said it would be “extremely unlikely” that the forest preserves would try to acquire the property because it doesn’t meet the district’s land acquisition criteria. 

“The forest preserves would not be looking to acquire another golf course. We already have golf courses,” Miller said. 

Miller said she’s been following the development and constituents have been making calls to her office but that the county tries to stay out of municipal business. As for what happens if and when the property is declared county land, she couldn’t say.

“It’s a lot of ifs — a whole lot of ifs,” Miller said. “Right now it’s just out of our jurisdiction. It kind of doesn’t make sense for people to think that if someone doesn’t like something that’s happening, the county can just go buy some property and do what they want with it. That’s not the case.” 

South Suburbs for Greenspace Over Concrete organized as a grassroots group to oppose the project. Members have held rallies and attended Homewood meetings. Miller said she’s happy to see residents getting involved in their community.

“(Homewood) Mayor (Richard) Hofeld is, in my opinion, a great mayor and I think that he does what’s best for his constituents and does what’s best from a business perspective, too,” Miller said. “It’s good (for residents) to be paying attention. You live there for a reason.”