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Worth questions but provides funding for park district

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By Joe Boyle

The request by the Worth Park District for financial assistance was granted by village officials but not without some specific concerns being addressed first.

Trustee Brad Urban believed that the initial request for $30,000 through intergovernmental sharing of American Rescue Plan Act funds to make up for deficits caused by COVID-19 was a difficult price for the village to cover.

Urban, who is the head of the public works committee, became more distraught when the park district later requested $40,000 more to help cover additional costs, including the recent renovation of Penny Park.

“I’m in charge of taking care of public works and that is my concern,” Urban said during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. “We have to maintain our streets and infrastructure and that has to be our first priority. Water mains have to be repaired. If we had the money to give (the park district), I would have no problem with it.”

Urban added that each village department had to make adjustments and sacrifices the past couple of years due to the pandemic. He questioned if the park district had also made those adjustments during this period.

Robert O’Shaughnessy, director of the Worth Park District, said the park district experienced losses totaling $116,000 during 2020 and 2021. The park district incurred $13,184 in additional expenses, or $824 per month, to purchase personal protective equipment, signage, and cleaning supplies to staunch the spread of COVID-19.

O’Shaughnessy said he expected the park district would continue to incur additional monthly expenses through April of 2023 as new variants of COVID-19 occur and mitigation expenses are tightened.

Mayor Mary Werner stated that most board members were in favor of the original request for $30,000. However, she added, that some trustees had questions about further requests from the park district.

Board members later voted 5-1 in favor of providing the park district $30,000 from the ARPA funds. Urban opposed the measure.

In other business, an ordinance amending the village municipal code on A-2 liquor license classifications was approved but with plenty of discussion first.

Trustees recalled that George Gofis, the owner of Grand Lion, wanted to close his kitchen due to health concerns but instead be allowed to sell packaged goods.

Urban was concerned that if Gofis closes the kitchen, then that should be it. It cannot be re-opened at a later time, he said.

The board approved the measure by a 4-2 margin. Urban and Trustee Tedd Muersch Jr. voted “no.”

The village board is nearing a consensus on businesses that sell tobacco. Board members have agreed that buffer zones could be created to limit where these establishments can be located. Restrictions of businesses near schools are another consideration.

Greg Jones, the village attorney, said that the some of the suggestions will be provided for the Real Estate Development Board to vote on the matter first.

The owners of the ASD Life Autism Therapy Center requested permission to close 113th Street from Harlem to the alley from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, for an event for the kids.

Officer Mike Cozzi will attend the event with “Pawficer Louie,” the therapy dog of the Worth Police Department. The police department will also provide a bouncy house for the event. The board approved the request.

A business license was granted for Insurance Way Agency Inc., 7012 W. 111th St. Owner Yousef Ouri will also have a retail section at his business.

Trustee Laura Packwood, who is the head of the golf committee, said that the digital sign in front of Water’s Edge Golf Course along 115th and Harlem Avenue is nearly complete.

“I can’t wait to see when the lights are lit up at night,” Packwood said. “It will be really cool.”

1 Comment

  1. Mike McElroy on August 17, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    This isn’t the entire story.



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