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Park Ridge to green streets and pension raise: mayor

Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney touted green streets, security improvements at City Hall and the potential addition of a mental health officer while delivering his annual State of the City address to the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 1.

Green Streets

The city designed two green streets last year and will build two more this year, Maloney said. There are six more streets selected to be turned into green streets as a result of the lottery.

A green street in Park Ridge differs from a regular street in that its surface allows rainwater to drip through the permeable brick pavement surface into groundwater and be stored in a granular base about three feet high, composed of several different grades of stone. According to Public Works Director Sarah Mitchell, it is deep to prevent the local sewer system from being taxed during rain.

“There are still close to 50 unpaved streets in the city,” Maloney said. Currently these streets are mostly filled with gravel.

The city is sharing the cost of building a green street, called a Special Service Area, with residents. Mitchell told the Pioneer Press that residents spend an average of $10,000 for a greenway behind their homes.

flashy signs

Maloney said he and the City Council were aware of residents’ complaints about signs and bright lights at some of the new businesses on Northwest Highway near Meacham Boulevard. He said city officials are looking into what they can do to enforce signage rules.

Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney said residents have received complaints about sign code violations from new businesses on Northwest Highway in the Uptown area. Maloney addressed the sign code violation in his State of the City speech on Feb. 1.

“When we go out and start enforcing these (sign rules), everyone is going to have to follow the rules. “That’s the direction we’re heading in,” Maloney said.

Police and Fire Department retirement

During next year’s budget process, city officials decided to increase funding for Police and Fire pensions by up to $150,000 each, Maloney said.

Illinois state law states that all municipalities Funding at least 90% of police and fire pensions by 2040.

“It’s actually above our recommended level of funding. This allows us to more quickly reach the funding levels we have committed to our retirement funds,” Maloney said. “Investments like this will now pay higher dividends.”

Fire Station renovation

Fire Station 35, near the intersection of Devon and Cumberland Boulevard, was approved by the city council in January for the first round of renovation bids.

“The bulk of this starts this year,” Maloney said. “This is an overdue project, a commitment from the City Council to the men and women who work for the city.

pavement replacement

Before 2024, Park Ridge residents had to pay the city a percentage for sidewalk repairs on their properties, Maloney said. “This year, through the budget process, the City Council decided to remove it. “That’s why we continue to take steps to keep as much money in our citizens’ pockets as possible,” he said.

mental health resources

Park Ridge currently employs a social worker within its police department, according to Maloney. The need for these services for city employees has increased over the past year, he said, and existing social workers are working in other departments to meet the mental health needs of their employees.

Maloney said the council is looking for opportunities to hire another mental health professional as it goes through the budget process. When asked if they would work for the police department or treat out-of-city employees, Maloney said the city was still deciding on that during the budget process.

Relocating the salt dome

Park Ridge voters in 2022 Approved $33.4 million renovation From the City of Park Ridge to the Park Ridge Park District, a separate government entity, for various improvements to the Oakton Ice Arena. The renovations will expand the ice arena with a driving range, indoor turf area and a kiosk that can serve alcohol. The city currently has the salt dome located near the ice arena on Park District property, so it will have to relocate it before work to expand the park district begins.

The city is in the process of building the salt dome on city property at 290 Busse Highway.

Immigrant Crisis

Maloney said that unlike some other suburbs in the Chicago area, the city has not received any bused immigrants from Texas. Ordinances have been passed in some suburbs that would ban unplanned drop-offs, but “It wasn’t deemed necessary,” Maloney said in meetings with the city’s staff and legal team.

“It could be a tool in the toolbox if we choose to do it. But we didn’t do that,” Maloney said. The city’s current plan would be to reroute the bus to Chicago or coordinate with Metra police if immigrants are dropped off at a Metra station and then send them to Chicago on the next available train.

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