Lyons Village Trustee Paul Marchiori (right) voiced concerns about drivers’ safety on Ogden Avenue near a car wash that the board approved. Trustee James Veselsky is to the left. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Village Trustee Paul Marchiori (right) voiced concerns about drivers’ safety on Ogden Avenue near a car wash that the board approved. Trustee James Veselsky is to the left. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Buddy Bear Car Wash approved for Lyons

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By Steve Metsch

If all goes as planned, in early 2023 you will be able to visit the brand-new Buddy Bear Car Wash on Ogden Avenue in Lyons.

The village board on March 15 voted 6-0 in favor of a unanimous zoning board of appeals recommendation that a special-use permit be approved for the car wash.

“This is what Ogden needs, a nice development like this,” Mayor Christopher Getty said.

Buddy Bear President and CEO Phil DeGeratto said the “beautiful addition will add a dramatic change to the strip.”

The size of the land makes possible an out lot that DeGeratto envisions for a restaurant. He’s willing to work with the village on that.

There are some concerns, as voiced by Trustee Paul Marchiori, about safety for motorists.

Marchiori is worried that turning left across two lanes of traffic to drive east could be dangerous, along with turning left into the car wash while driving east on Ogden.

A stoplight is not possible for the car wash because it would be too near the stoplight at Ogden and Lawndale, just west of the property.

While Marchiori did vote in favor and said he “loves” the concept, he is still concerned about motorists’ safety.

Getty said the Illinois Department of Transportation will “ultimately determine the ingress egress of the proposed development.”

DeGeratto noted that his car wash in Berwyn is also on Ogden Avenue. “It hasn’t been a major problem,” he said.

DeGeratto is hoping to get an easement for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County for a third entry/exit to the property. In exchange, he’s allowing the county to put a bike path behind his site.

Getty is confident everything will be worked out and the car wash will be built.

Getty credited DeGeratto for revising his plans three times. “He has accommodated all our requests and concerns,” Getty said.

“Above everything, this will be a great development for our community,” Getty said.

“This will be a great improvement to that corridor,” Getty said. “And, also, being respectful of the river, the greenspace on his own property is a positive.”

DeGeratto expects to be done than planning stage within 60 days, breaking ground in late summer and opening “early 2023.”

The car wash will cost $5 million to build, he said. DeGeratto said he is paying $1 million for the land.

There are 12 other Buddy Bear locations, with nine in Chicago.

Trustee Dan Hilker asked about excess water from the vehicles after they are washed. DeGeratto said they will recycle up to 50 percent of the water. There’s also a 100,000-gallon retention pond planned which will drain into the Desplaines River.

A heated collection area when cars leave the car wash “to ensure there will be the least about of wet space.”

The car wash will have seven employees, with two or three on duty days, and more working on weekends or busy times like we see now when people want to rinse salt off their vehicles.

Buddy Bear hopes to soon open car washes in Calumet City, Markham, Maywood and Chicago Ridge.

Village Manager Tom Sheahan called the car wash “a great asset to our community.”

The land has been owned more than 100 years by Metz family, which is “very happy” with the sale, Chris Metz said.

The site has been for sale “on and off” the past seven years, Metz, of Indian Head Park, said. The family spent about $84,000 to have block yard buildings demolished two years ago, he said.

He’s not worried about traffic concerns.

“We operated there for 100 years turning left. It worked,” Metz said. “Or you can drive (west) to Lawndale and turn around.”

The family has owned the land since 1912. It had been home to the Joseph Metz & Son brickyard.

DeGeratto thinks ground may be broken by late summer. It will provide about 100 construction jobs, he said.

3 Comments

  1. Anthony Fragale on March 21, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    That sucks , right on prime riverfront property!!! Your kidding me !! I know it’s private property but, why not some restaurants, bars etc. Give people a reason to come to Lyons !!! What waste to a great piece of property. No vision ……



  2. Joanne on March 21, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    But Lyons has A CAR WASH A MILE EAST on Ogden and Harlem and Brookfield has one a mile west on East and Ogden. 3 in 2 miles………..



  3. Steve Metsch on March 22, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Anthony, the plans are for a restaurant of some sort possibly in the out lot.



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