Life Amplified

Trustee Talk

In this series, elected officials from the Tinley Park Village Board discuss issues related to the activities of the committees they chair.

Trustee Talk

Cynthia A. Berg, Marketing Committee Chairperson
Issued: Oct. 1, 2020

Trustee Cynthia A. BergPutting on fun events in the middle of a pandemic can be a bit tricky to pull off. In fact, many other communities have suspended or outright cancelled events this year due to COVID-19. Luckily for Tinley Park, we’ve been able to reimagine some of our existing events to be more socially distant and create a few brand-new events that let residents participate on their own.

These new or reimagined events have been pretty popular so far this year. More than a thousand people came out to the two Music in the Plaza events the Village hosted this summer in Zabrocki Plaza, and we received more than 100 entries in our Benches on the Avenue Scavenger Hunt contest. The Cruise Night Parades that drove through various Tinley Park neighborhoods this summer were also a huge hit, with many residents commenting on how cool it was to see classic cars without ever having to leave their front lawns! Our Marketing Department continues to work diligently on ways to bring the fun to Tinley Park without compromising residents’ safety.

We’re going to keep the fun coming in October with our Halloween House Decorating Contest, which is going on now through Oct. 16 and asks folks to make their houses as spooky as possible for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the Tinley Park business of their choice. Also, trick-or-treating this year will be from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, with recommendations in place to keep everyone safe and socially distant.

The new version of the Downtown Tinley Boo Bash, coming Sunday, Oct. 25, will conform to Phase 4 guidelines and provide all kinds of frightening fun. The re-imagined and completely free Boo Bash will take place at noon in Zabrocki Plaza, with safely sized groups of people walking through the event to participate in fun activities like crafts, costumes, trick-or-treating and more. Tickets will be available online Oct. 12, so stay tuned!

The Marketing Department is also in the early planning stages for this year’s slate of holiday events, which will be designed to be both fun and safe for all participants. COVID can’t keep us down!

On another note, we recently merged the former Community Resources and Marketing and Branding commissions into the new Marketing Commission. This new commission will work to support Tinley Park activities and events, the Village’s tourism initiatives and brand, and the Village’s community involvement and engagement strategies. I’m excited to get to work with this new commission and will keep you updated on all the great ideas it’s sure to produce.

Until we speak again, have a very Happy Halloween and stay safe!

Trustee Talk
William P. Brady, Administration and Legal Committee Chairperson
Issued: Sept. 25, 2020

Trustee Bill BradyHere in Tinley Park, we have a great group of gifted, hard-working employees who use their combined talents for the betterment of the Village and its residents.
I’m pleased to announce a new member of the Tinley Park family, Angela Arrigo, a Tinley Park resident who started this past Monday as our Human Resources Director. Angela comes to us after serving most recently as the Assistant Human Resources Director for Orland Park.
We received 40 applications from many excellent candidates, and this was narrowed down to eight people for first-round interviews. Staff from the Manager’s Office and Finance Department conducted these meetings, and I joined them for the second round after the field was narrowed down to four candidates. While all the candidates I saw were excellent, I couldn’t help but agree with staff that Angela was the best candidate for the position.
Angela has more than 20 years of professional-level experience in various human resources roles, fostering organizational strategic objectives and driving operational HR efficiencies. She has proven experience in improving efficiencies in the HR delivery of services, and places high emphasis on providing employees with the tools they need to succeed.
Angela has a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce and human resources management from DePaul University. She’s also a Society of Human Resources Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and has Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certifications. She also has Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Northern Illinois University.
I’d also like to congratulate our new police officer Cody Marciano, who will start with us Oct 5. Officer Marciano is already a full-time patrol officer elsewhere, so he won’t need to go to the police academy, and instead will start with our Field Training officers. He served the Village as an auxiliary officer from 2014 to 2019.
Yet even as we say hello to new employees, we also say goodbye to two others who have served Tinley Park admirably for years. This week marks the retirement of Community Development Department office coordinator Jean Bruno, who has been with us since 1997, and building inspector Gene Lode, an employee since 2003, will retire this Wednesday. Many thanks to both of them for their hard work and dedication to Tinley Park over the years. We wish you well in your future endeavors!

Trustee Talk
Michael G. Mueller, Community Development Committee Chairperson
Issued: Sept. 18, 2020

Mueller ResizedThere are several new and exciting developments in the works that point to brighter economic skies ahead for the Village of Tinley Park. Among these is the Brixmor redevelopment of the Tinley Park Plaza shopping center on the east side of Harlem Avenue, just south of 159th Street. Once complete, this plaza will be a great boon for Tinley Park and a catalyst for economic growth in the area surrounding it.

Brixmor’s ambitious, phased renovation plan will cost about $22 million and includes demolition of approximately 87,000 square feet of the in-line center and construction of new retail spaces to accommodate the retailers under contract, as well as others yet to be determined. Future renovations will include the creation of new tenant spaces, improvements to the north end of the in-line center, and separating the current in-line center into two buildings for better access to loading docks and service entrances essential for deliveries.

As our northern “front door,” this area is the first thing many people see when driving into town, so its vitality is very important to the well-being of the Village as a whole because its health – good or poor – ultimately reflects on the rest of the town. In addition to the shopping center, Pete’s Fresh Market has plans for the old Kmart across the street, and together these areas could be a strong catalyst for redevelopment that the 159th Street/Harlem Avenue corridor needs.

When you combine the draw of the current tenants with the enhanced retail spaces that Brixmor will bring, you get a synergy that should help draw other retailers to the center, reducing vacancy levels and increasing customer traffic. It’s a win-win for the developer, the retail establishments and the Village of Tinley Park as a whole.

As part of a redevelopment agreement the Village Board recently approved with Brixmor, the Village will offer financial assistance in an amount not to exceed $9.9 million, or 50% of the actual project costs, whichever is lower. Specifically, this financial assistance will come from a combination of TIF incremental revenues from the shopping center properties alone, and incremental municipal sales taxes (1%) from all the businesses located in the shopping center over a 10-year period. A maximum of $8.1 million of TIF-eligible costs are to be paid from the TIF increment generated, with the remainder (as much as $1.8 million) to be paid from incremental sales taxes.

Village assistance is vital, as renovations wouldn’t be possible without the strong partnership between the Village and the developers. Like many other areas in town, the 159th Street/Harlem Avenue corridor has been hit hard by the recent pandemic. That, combined with the higher taxes for businesses from Cook County, makes financial recovery much more difficult. With assistance and proper redevelopment, this area has the potential to become a prime destination for customers and give a much-needed boost to our local economy.

A ton of hard work goes into setting up projects like this, and I’d like to give a big thanks to the staff of our Community Development and Finance departments, who worked tirelessly to make this project happen.