Palos Area Chamber of Commerce President Todd Probasco ( left) and Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz share a laugh before the Mayor's State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Area Chamber of Commerce President Todd Probasco ( left) and Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz share a laugh before the Mayor's State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Straz emphasizes ‘quality of life’ in Palos Heights during annual presentation

Spread the love

By Jeff Vorva

Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz used the phrase “quality of life” quite a bit Tuesday afternoon.

The longtime mayor gave his annual State of the City Address sponsored by the Palos Area Chamber of Commerce at the Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Department and his theme was about the quality of life in the city of 12,000.

“In my decision making, whether it’s supporting the senior living facility, tax consideration given to a new business, the need for more parking in our business district or my opposition to gaming, all of these things are to maintain the quality of life we have here and to try to make it better,” Straz told the crowd before showing a 30-minute video.

“We have a great community, and it can only get better if you go forward. We have a great mix of young and old and we have a superior level of services. Great public services.”

One of the projects he is looking forward to is to remodel Orchard Park, which is located to the east of the recreation center.

By November, he hopes the park will have additional parking, a walking path, a shelter and other improvements.

Business-wise he said several new restaurants opened in 2022 and that Pete’s Fresh Market could be open in 2023 or 2024 at 6401 W. 127th St. That’s the former site of Dominick Finer Foods, which closed in 2013.

“That would give us two supermarkets,” Straz said of Pete’s opening. “Think about it – we’re a town of 12,000 people and we will have two major grocery stores. That’s unheard of.”

A Pride Stores gas station could be completed in 2023 at the northeast corner of Harlem Avenue and Route 83 – an area that’s been empty for more than 25 years.

The mayor is also looking forward to the city raking in a handsome bounty when it comes to sales tax.

“Last year, we had a $1.8 million number as far as sales tax goes,” Straz said. “When we add Pete’s and the Pride Store, we will be well over $2 million of sales tax.

“That’s something the City of Palos Heights has never achieved in its history.”

One area that might not be pleasing to many residents is the possible hikes in water and sewer fees. The council may make a decision on it Tuesday that could see sewer flat rates go up 50% and water rates go up 4%. Straz hopes to keep the costs lower than that but knows the system needs attention.

“Our town is more than 50 years old, and the water and sewer system is about the same age,” the mayor said. “We’re starting to see problems with the water and sewer system. Those are things we have to tend to in the next couple of years.

“We’ll be applying for some financing and some grants and have some conversations. We want to jump on this before it becomes a problem. We’re going to work on it now before it becomes a problem.”

Local News

stealing Mail

Palos Heights police bust mail theft ring

Spread the love

Spread the love3 arrested for allegedly stealing mail in Palos Heights, Palos Park By Jeff Vorva The good news is that lost mail involving residents of Palos Park and Palos Heights has been found. The bad news is that it may be a while before they get that mail back. Three people were arrested for…

Shepard High School junior, Anastasia Kladis, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at Shepard High School on March 7. (Supplied photos)

Shepard student to take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White One Shepard High School student has been excelling in raising funds for this year’s Polar Plunge. Anastasia Kladis, a junior from Palos Heights, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at school on March 7. “I have…

Evergreen Park senior Nolan Sexton drives past a Thornton defender during the Wildcats' 77-47 win over the Mustangs in the Class 3A Thornton Sectional on Feb. 27. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball Class 3A Sectionals | Evergreen Park’s historic ends with loss to Thornton

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The 2023-2024 Evergreen Park boys basketball team had one of the greatest seasons in program history. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that season has come to an end with a 77-47 loss to Thornton in the semifinals of the Class 3A Thornton Sectional on Feb. 27. Evergreen Park was coming…

sports basketball image 12-13

Boys Hoops Wrap | Curie, Rice and Marist among area regional champs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The original March Madness got underway last week across Illinois, and several area teams were crowned regional champions. Teams still alive in Class 4A are Marist and Curie, and in Class 3A are Brother Rice, De La Salle, Evergreen Park and Mount Carmel.   CLASS 4A Marist (29-4) cruised…

Evergreen Park senior Tre Dowdell crosses over a Hillcrest defender during the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional championship game on Feb. 23. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball Class 3A Playoffs | Evergreen Park tops Hillcrest for first regional title since 1974

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Some Evergreen Park players have deep roots in the community, but it was a newcomer that carried the Mustangs to a monumental win. Senior guard Tre Dowdell put up a game-high 30 points and Mustangs rolled to a 74-60 win over Hillcrest in the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional…

SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview could be the site for Northwestern football games in 2024. Photo by Jeff Vorva

College Football | Northwestern football may play at SeatGeek

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent It appears that Chicago’s Big Ten team will be Bridgeview’s Big Ten team for at least one day. Maybe more. Northwestern has released its 2024 football schedule, but where the Wildcats will play their seven home games is unknown. Their home stadium, Ryan Field in Evanston, is undergoing a…

Nazareth senior Amalia Dray fight through a Kenwood defender during the Roadrunners’ 50-37 win in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional title game. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Basketball | Nazareth tops Homewood-Flossmoor, heads to Illinois Final Four for fifth time in past six seasons

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Nazareth head coach Ed Stritzel has built his Roadrunners into a powerhouse program with a defense-first philosophy that is carrying the reigning Class 3A state champions through another deep postseason run. Four nights after Nazareth held Kenwood to a season-low 37 points in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional…

Mount Carmel's wrestling team celebrates a Class 3A championship. Photo courtesy of Mount Carmel High School

Postseason Roundup | Mount Carmel wrestling wins fifth state title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent During the regular season, only one wrestling team from Illinois beat Mount Carmel in a dual meet. Joliet Catholic got the better of the Caravan with a 38-27 victory on Jan. 18. That came two days after Mount Carmel lost to Crown Point (Indiana). The Caravan will be unable…

St. Laurence's Kathleen Martin gets off a shot against Hinsdale South in the Class 3A St. Ignatius Sectional on Feb. 22 in Chicago. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup | St. Laurence girls hoops has benchmark season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The St. Laurence girls basketball team’s historic season came to a close with a 42-29 loss to Hinsdale South at the Class 3A St. Ignatius Sectional on Feb. 22, but the Vikings hit some milestone’s in former Marist and Saint Xavier star Claire Austin’s first year as coach. The…

Fernway students scoot with their new scooters on Feb. 14. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Fernway Park School receives kindness – and scooters

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Scooters. Dollars. Kindness. Those were the three themes of the day on Feb. 14 at Fernway Park Elementary School in Orland Park thanks to a group of high school athletes in the Buddy’s Helpers group. There were 102 students in first and second grade at the school who were greeted…

Neighbors

His conviction was overturned after 35 years wrongfully served. State law caps his compensation at 14 years.

His conviction was overturned after 35 years wrongfully served. State law caps his compensation at 14 years.

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com In December, 57-year-old Brian Beals spent Christmas with his sister Pattilyn for the first time 35 years. Beals was exonerated and freed from Robinson Correctional Center in southeastern Illinois on Dec. 13 after a Cook County circuit court judge vacated his conviction and dismissed charges against him. “In…

Cook County judge orders Trump removed from GOP ballot but holds decision pending appeal

Cook County judge orders Trump removed from GOP ballot but holds decision pending appeal

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A Cook County judge on Wednesday ordered former President Donald Trump’s name to be removed from the March 19 Republican primary ballot but stayed her order until Friday to give time for an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. In a lengthy decision, Judge Tracie Porter…

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker will give his sixth state budget address this week, laying out his plan for a fiscal year that government forecasters in November predicted is on pace for a near-$900 million deficit unless corrective action is taken.  Those same fiscal forecasters in the Governor’s Office of…

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

BY JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Republicans in the Illinois Senate indicated Tuesday that their sticking point for budget negotiations this year will be the same as it was last year – state spending on programs for noncitizens and recent arrivals from the country’s southern border.  In what’s been a rarity over the past…

‘This place is horrific’: 10-week-old complaint details ‘filthy’ conditions at Centralia funeral home

‘This place is horrific’: 10-week-old complaint details ‘filthy’ conditions at Centralia funeral home

By BETH HUNDSDORFER  Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com The pictures that are said to depict the condition of the embalming room of the Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home in Centralia are shocking. Eight photographs and one video taken late last year purported to show the conditions of the funeral home depict piles of dirty sheets, a dead…

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker touts manufacturing training funding, announces cultural districts

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker touts manufacturing training funding, announces cultural districts

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS news@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker was in Normal Tuesday to call attention to recent state funding for manufacturing training academies – including at Heartland Community College.  The governor and college officials celebrated the new 45,000-square-foot facility that opened in January. It includes remodeled space to support programs such as robotics, HVAC, welding…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…