Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that plans for a band shell at Centennial Park west have been in the works for 20 years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that plans for a band shell at Centennial Park west have been in the works for 20 years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Centennial Park West band shell project ready to roll

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By Jeff Vorva

A project that has been 20 years in the making finally is good to go.

The Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees voted Monday, March 20, to give a green light to the Centennial Park West project. The revamped park will have a permanent stage to host three major concerts a year and the park will also be used for other events including the Taste of Orland Park festival.

It will also be used for private events.

Some neighbors of the park from the Colette Highlands neighborhood complained during the meeting about the changes and what it will do to the neighborhood bringing in a lot of new events.

One neighbor said, “I didn’t move here to be next to a circus.”

A few other comments from the Highlands residents were that the village did this without letting the public know what was going on and Mayor Keith Pekau, a Colette Highlands resident himself, took exception to that.

“I moved into Colette Highlands in 2005 and this project was approved for 2003, including the band shell,” Pekau said. “It was planned for a future date. These plans have been approved since 2003. They have been a part of this project since 2003 and I knew when I purchased my lot in 2004 that there would be a band shell coming in 2005.

“I am certainly the longest-tenured person in the single-family homes. This has always been planned. This is nothing new.”

He said when he ran for mayor in 2017 and 2021 that the park improvements were a part of his platform. He said there were seven public meetings about the project and a dozen more meetings in which the topic has come up. He also said he discussed it at three State of the Village meetings with the public.

“This has been discussed many, many times,” he said.

The $12.7 million face-lift at the 12-acre park, located at 15609 Park Station Blvd., will include a concert venue with a 40- x 60-foot event stage and that area will include green rooms, storage, rigging, loading dock, lawn seating, vendor pads and paths.

The project will start this year, and the village hopes to be able to host major events in 2024.

Welcome back, chief

Orland Park Police Chief Eric Rossi returned after 10 weeks of leadership training with the FBI at Quantico, Virginia.

“There were 250 local police from the United States and 27 from overseas who took part in this,” Rossi said. “We went through leadership training and physical fitness training.”

He said he applied for the leadership session years ago — long before he was named chief — and was happy village officials allowed him to take the time off to attend it.

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