The demise of the vacant Triumph Building is near.
Demolition is expected to proceed in coming weeks as the longtime retail center at the corner of Ridge Road and Martin Avenue makes way for a four story residential structure with a ground floor restaurant.
The final approval was granted at the Homewood Board of Trustees regular meeting on July 27.
Developer Tim Flanagan said recently that once trustees sign off on the plan, the project should move forward quickly. He said he hopes demolition will be complete before Fall Fest on Sept. 25.
Homewood’s annual festival takes place along Martin Avenue south of Ridge Road, so if the deadline can’t be met, the event will relocate, according to village officials.
The final plan does not differ much from the one approved by the village in November 2019. The biggest change is the loss of 18 hotel rooms on one floor. Flanagan said the pandemic hit the hospitality industry hard, making the plan no longer as feasible as it was earlier.
The hotel rooms in the original plan have been replaced by apartment units.
To read more about the project, visit https://bit.ly/triumphbuilding.
Conversations with legislators: Will Davis
Legislators who represent Homewood have a standing invitation to join Mayor Richard Hofeld during his Saturday morning office hours in the village hall lobby. On July 10, state Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, spent the morning with Hofeld to talk with constituents.
Davis spoke with the Chronicle about one of his legislative priorities, creating more opportunities for minority-owned businesses, and he gave a nod to recent progress made by the village of Flossmoor as an example of what he’s hoping to encourage.
Two years ago, Flossmoor launched a registry for minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ-owned or disability-owned businesses so the village would be better prepared to include them in requests for bids and proposals.
In June, Flossmoor awarded a $170,000 bid to Milhouse Engineering and Construction for street rehabilitation design engineering. Milhouse is certified with Chicago as a minority-owned business.
Davis said bills don’t always get traction, but they are often useful for starting conversations and contribute to the real project, which is changing minds and old habits.
“You just keep trying to make progress,” he said.
He cited Flossmoor’s hiring of Milhouse as an example of that progress.
“To me that could be the beginning,” he said, noting that other municipalities might follow Flossmoor’s example.
Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson said the Milhouse contract was a point of pride for her because it was a tangible step toward something Flossmoor has been working toward, and she credited village staff for laying the groundwork.
“It was special. Diversity matters. Talking the talk and walking the walk are two different things,” she said. “We’ve talked about diversifying professional services but to finally do it is another thing. It was really cool.”
Nelson said she is not in favor of government mandates that force matters. She said organizations that hire professional services firms should seek diversity for the benefit of their projects.
“I think you should want to diversify your professional services and contractors list,” she said. “There is not a monopoly on professional services. It’s important to have differenet perspectives.”
Conversations with legislators: Robin Kelly
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd) stopped by Homewood village hall on July 17. She talked about several issues that have been in the news recently, including how the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has affected the work of Congress.
Kelly was in the Capitol building when the mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building.
Bipartisan legislative work continues, she said. Direct interaction is usually conducted by Congressional staffers.
But relationships between members across the aisle have been strained in many cases. Kelly said she is still willing to work with her GOP counterparts, with some exceptions.
“I just put forward legislation that was bipartisan regarding health care and maternal mortality,” she said. “We’re still trying, but when people say it didn’t happen or it was a regular tourism day, I don’t work with those people.”
Save the date(s)
Flossmoor will be the place to be the weekend of Sept. 11 and 12. The second running of the Hidden Gem Half Marathon will take place the morning of Sept. 11. The race start will include a recognition of local first responders to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist atacks.
Following the race will be a return of Flossmoor Fest, the village’s annual fall festival, which will fill the downtown area with food, music and fun.
A committee that is planning a new veterans memorial will launch a fundraising campaign with a meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Flossmoor Community House.
Longtime Flossmoor resident and local historian Dick Condon has advocated for a new memorial. He has documented that a World War II veterans memorial was located downtown for many years, but it vanished at some point.
Condon, his daughter Kris Condon, and former Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun are spearheading the effort to create an expansive new memorial to honor the village’s veterans. The project was put on hiatus during the pandemic.