Evergreen Park mayor informs prospective businesses that the bar has risen

  • Written by Sharon L. Filkins


Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton had a clear message during the board meeting on Monday night for any prospective businesses looking to locate in the village.

“We have stepped up in the quality of retail being allowed in our community. We don’t take leftovers anymore,” Sexton said.

Sexton’s comments came following a request for approval of business certificates for three businesses in a proposed strip center at 9601 S. Pulaski Road.

Faris Sweis was seeking approval for a 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-through, a smoke shop and a cellular retail store on the parcel of land formerly occupied by Fox Collision Center.

“I am not thrilled with the prospect of a smoke shop and a cellphone store. We have enough cellphone stores to sink a ship,” said Sexton.

Sweis’ request hit a snag at the mention of the 24 hours of operation and the drive-through for the Dunkin’ Donuts store, in spite of his plans for sound-absorbing material being placed in the drive-through.

As discussion ensued, Trustee Mark Marzullo insisted that the speakers on the order box would have to be turned off at 10 p.m., or the 24-hour permit would go away.

“If I was the guy living behind the store, I would not want to be hearing people order coffee at all hours of the night,” he said.

With additional questions about the noise level in the drive-through, amount of traffic and entry and exit lanes, Trustee Daniel McKeown moved to table the request to allow for further review.

Other business certificates were approved for Consultants in Cardiology at 2850 W. 95th St.-Suite 202; Health is Wealth Wellness Center at 3830 W. 95th St.; and Weight Loss, Inc. at 9500 S. Avers Ave.

Also approved was a resolution allowing an amendment to the village code regarding outdoor seating for restaurants. The approval will allow for an outdoor seating area, with three to four tables, at the Porter Cullen restaurant, 3541 W. 95th St. The business is owned by Mike McGrath. The seating will only be available until dusk. Approval came with a 5-1 vote, with Marzullo voting “No.”

Sexton said the approval was only on a trial basis and asked for assurance from McGrath, who was present at the meeting, that he would move patrons inside as soon as it began to get dark. McGrath responded that it would be a “move in or move on” policy for his customers.

“If there are any problems with it, it will be gone, with no discussion,” said Sexton

The request for the outdoor seating last month had raised concerns about the closeness of a parking lot adjacent to the proposed dining area. McGrath said provisions had been made to provide a safety barrier at the site.

Also approved for the restaurant was an ordinance allowing the facility to be open on Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to midnight, adding an additional hour of operation.

An ordinance was also approved giving the village the right to purchase the property at 3310 W. 97th St. at a cost of $25,000. Sexton said the future of the building on the property will be discussed in later meetings.

The board also approved a lease agreement with St. Xavier University to allow a resource and assessment center for children ages 0 to 3 years with special needs at 9547 S. Homan Ave. The center will occupy the first floor of the building.

Sexton recognized Income tax coordinator Marge Woods for her presentation of a $2,000 check towards the planned purchase of a new mini-bus for Senior Services. Woods works with low- to middle-income clients to help them prepare their tax forms. The village provides space for the services.

At the start of the board meeting, Sexton asked for a moment of silence in honor of Anna Dykstra, former officer of Citizen Services for the village, who died last week at age 84.

“She was an extraordinary volunteer who served on nearly every committee for the village,” said Sexton. “She was a very special lady.”