By Joe Boyle
A group of Evergreen Park residents voiced their displeasure over what they claim has been the unruly behavior by some inhabitants of nearby group homes.
Several residents stated that on several occasions a partially naked woman has been walking through the neighborhood, yelling that someone is trying to kill her. Homeowners offered up their complaints during the public forum session of the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting on Monday night.
Other residents also said the same woman was trying to enter their home and was seen trick-or-treating on Halloween.
“This woman is too old to be trick-or-treating,” said one resident at the meeting.
The complaints center on Envisions Unlimited at 2955 W. 91st St., which has been based out of Chicago since 1961 and now has group homes established in 18 counties. Most of the residents who were angry about Envisions live near the group homes. One woman who lives on the 9100 block of Sacramento Avenue said group home residents have thrown garbage outside their property.
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton listened intently to the series of complaints about Envisions and other local group homes. He said that state Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36 th), who also serves as an Evergreen Park trustee, has been looking into the complaints and documenting police reports relating to the group homes.
The mayor said that he is aware of the disturbances, even though he believed that the staff at Envisions had been doing a better job of late. Envisions takes in occupants who have mental and physical disabilities.
“The people at Envisions have rights, too, but we are building a case here,” Sexton said, reminding the board and residents that the state has dramatically cut funding for mental health. “They said they are going to have more advisory help. They have cut down the number of residents at the homes.”
But other residents offered various complaints. One woman said one of the residents drove a vehicle over her property. Another couple said that while they were sleeping, they could hear someone screaming next door at a group home.
“We had one woman who showed up at my property in a bra and panties,” another one woman said. “We feel unsafe. She tried to get in our house.”
Sexton told the residents to call 911 and file reports with the police so that more documentation can be presented to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Sexton and village attorney Vince Cainkar reminded residents that the board has no input on the status of these group homes. However, if more complaints are forwarded to the health department, some action will eventually have to be taken.
“Every time we show up at Envisions, it costs the taxpayers money,” Sexton said. “It’s going to take time. I’m sympathetic to your concerns.”
Trustee Mark Marzullo, after hearing more of the complaints, offered his suggestion to the residents.
“We should bombard them (Illinois Department of Public Health) with calls,” Marzullo said. “It’s one thing to complain to the mayor and board, but it’s another thing to call the state. I would think after they keep getting calls, they will get tired of hearing about it and do something.”
In other news, Sexton thanked the Office of Citizen Services for a successful Farmers Market season, and applauded the volunteers who he said made the annual Halloween parade a great event. A breakfast will be held in honor of Evergreen Park veterans at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8 in the cafeteria of Evergreen Park Community High School, 9901 S. Kedzie Ave.
The textile recycling event will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 in the north parking lot of Yukich Field, 8900 S. Kedzie Ave. Village Hall will be closed Monday, Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day. The Veterans’ Breakfast Program to honor all local vets will begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 in the cafeteria at Central Middle School, 9400 S. Sawyer.
Business licenses was rewarded to the new ownership of Culver’s, 9515 S. Kedzie Ave. Evergreen Wax, Inc. has changed its name to the European Wax Center at 9526 S. Western Ave, in the Plaza area.
A motion to un-table an ordinance for a Class C liquor license for CVS Pharmacy, 3201 W. 95 th St., was approved. Marzullo had questioned CVS ownership, who he said had done a poor job of keeping their parking lot clean. Sexton had a conversation with the owner, who he said was apologetic. Marzullo then agreed to support the ordinance, along with the rest of the board.
Yard waste containers will continue to be picked up through Thursday, Dec. 12, weather permitting. Sexton reminded residents to dispose of leaves and garden waste up until that date.