Monday, July 26, 2010

Green Police Station grows on you

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I was not a big fan of the Greening of the Orland Park Police Station. In fact, when I first noticed what was happening, I was cracking my knuckles to dig in and ask why no one in public works was bothering to mow the lawn there or remove the weeds. That's when I discovered, as did many, that the Orland Park Police Department's newly completed complex three years ago was in fact an experiment to "Green" selected village property.

Three years have past, and I have to tell you, I am used to it by now. Not everyone is, according to an article int he Daily Southtown: (Read it?) And the writer does make the point that there are so many other things we should be concerned about.

The Police Complex has won many awards. More importantly, the police themselves continue to provide the best protection of any other suburban community, so much so that our Police Chief, Tim McCarthy, is the head of the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, an honor that is only given to those with the experience. And no police chief is more experienced.

We do have other more important issues than getting angry over the "Greening" of the Police Complex.

For example, the Orland Park Pool is turning in to a ghetto. The skanks -- harsh word but what do you call people who are not residents, who come in for the day and then wander around the pool rummaging through your belongings and sitting down next to you on your lounge chair wondering why you are upset?

They should ban non-residents from the pool or make the cost even more prohibitive to join. It's the one thing that is so important to the community in the summer months.

Orland Park's flooding problems seem resolved. As we watch other communities deal with the flooding, we have to express a sigh of relief that the Village did take action to address the pockets of flooding in our town. Although one can still question how the village decided which homes to purchase from homeowners at top dollar prices, and then re-sell them at a loss.

Still, that's a minor issue and "much water under the bridge."

We have a lot of businesses closing. I saw the big pizza place, Gino's East on 159th Street, closed right after the 4th of July weekend. I was there about four weeks before and it seemed to have gone down the tubes. You can blame a lot on the economy but the place just wasn't very good. Sorry.

But we have new ones opening, like the Pita Oven at 94th Avenue and 159th Street. Businesses come and go and in this economy, we should all be doing our part by shopping locally.

I keep reading the orange signs on LaGrange Road that keep warning to expect constructions delays. Every morning I get up fearing when the shoe will drop, but so far the construction has not disrupted traffic and that is a good thing.

I hate those red light cameras, although unlike other communities, the police are not using them to generate cash flow. They are using them to nail extreme offenders who blow the red lights -- and that happens a lot apparently. It could be worse but so far, at least in Orland Park, the camera lights are helping to focus on the problem, not targeting everyday motorists making soft right turns on red.

While many other communities were cutting back on Fourth of July fireworks, Orland Park continued with its tremendous celebration. Although they eliminated the day time "Jumping Jacks" for the kids, the fireworks display was more than enough that night. One of the best.

Click here to watch them.

Things are really improving in Orland Park. And maybe that explains why some are complaining about the Police Department and the Green Yards that look like a prairie.

We don't have much more to complain about.

Well, maybe. The Orland Fire District is an over-budgeted, bloated system. Great firemen and firefighters. But the administration spends way too much, over taxes its residents and will be a major topic in the coming election this Fall and in the Spring. Maybe we should be talking about that!

-- Ray Hanania

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