By Joe Boyle
While other municipalities are considering their options on the sale of cannabis as of Jan. 1, the village of Evergreen Park has made their decision loud and clear.
While residents can decide if they want to smoke marijuana in the privacy of their own homes, they will not be able to purchase it from a dispensary in Evergreen Park. The board voted 5-0 to not consider a cannabis tax or a dispensary for 2020.
Trustee Kelly Burke had an excused absence and was not in attendance at the village board meeting on Monday night. According to the ordinance, recreational marijuana will not be allowed in any zoning district within the village.
The existing ordinance did not allow recreational cannabis operations to open in Evergreen Park. With the 5-0 vote, the board voted against adding an amendment to allow for the sale of cannabis from a dispensary.
However, Trustee Carol Kyle asked if another vote could be taken next year in regards to the sale of cannabis. Mayor James Sexton said the board could take another vote at that time.
“I just want to keep the door open for the future,” Kyle said. “This could bring in added revenue.”
Trustee James McQuillan asked Police Chief Michael Saunders if the state has approached him on what changes or measures have to be taken when the sale of recreational cannabis becomes legal. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill that allowed for the sale of cannabis this past summer.
Saunders said the state has not contacted him about what needs to be done in regards to the sale of cannabis next year.
As for Sexton, he does not see the need for cannabis sales.
“I don’t think the tax revenue is worth it,” the mayor said. “The state, in their infinite wisdom, will not allow you to get tax revenue for the first eight months of operation.”
While Sexton stated his opinion, ultimately the board has to decide now and in the future regarding cannabis sales, he said.
“This is the village of churches,” Sexton quipped. “What are we going to do…change the name?”
The ordinance to allow the expansion of a 7-Eleven convenience store with vehicle fuel dispensing on the property at 2747-2759 W. 95 th St. was unanimously approved. The property is located in a “C” commercial district.
Saunders declared a vacancy in the police department and requested the hiring of one individual from the probationary police officer eligibility list due to the retirement of Deputy Chief John Eisenbeis. He also said there was an opening of one sergeant position in reference to the list of names submitted by the Fire and Police Commission.
Appointments and promotions to the police force included Peter Donovan, who was appointed to deputy chief of police; David Linn, who was promoted to lieutenant; and Andrew Switalski, who was promoted to sergeant.
“I want to thank John (Eisenbeis) for his over 30 years of service to this village,” said Sexton. “Thank you again, ladies and gentlemen, for all that you do.”
Saunders was also appreciative of Eisenbeis’ tenure.
“John was excellent and we are going to miss him,” Saunders said. “He is a friend of mine. But these three we now have on the force are excellent individuals. We can look forward to their service.”
Saunders also had requested the purchase of six police vehicles and trade for a 2016 Ford Explorer and a 2016 Ford Explorer. The board approved the request, which was also a budgeted item.
A request from the fire department was approved for a new pumper for a reasonable cost, according to Sexton.
The Evergreen Park Police Department will initiate the Walk and Talk program during the holiday season. Sexton said to expect to see police officers visiting retailers to keep shoppers safe during the holidays.
Students and staff at Evergreen Park Community High School is providing a Thanksgiving dinner at the high school, 9901 S. Kedzie Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Meals can also be delivered to shut-ins, seniors, single parent families, disabled persons or families suffering hardship. To make a reservation, request delivery or make a donation, call (708) 398-1253.
The Evergreen Park Recreation Candlelight Theatre will present a 1940s Radio Christmas performance at the Evergreen Park Senior Center, 9547 S. Homan Ave. Tickets are available at the Recreation Department.
The annual Dickens Christmas Festival will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 along 97 th and Homan Avenue. A tree-lighting ceremony will follow at 6 p.m. The annual Christmas Concert of the City Lights Orchestra will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 at Most Holy Redeemer Church, 9525 S, Lawndale Ave, Tickets are limited.
The Evergreen Park Juniors of Girl Scouts Troop 65101 helped to lead the board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of Monday’s meeting. Sexton visited with the Scouts after the meeting and took photos with them.