CHAMBER 57 NEWS

DELIVERING RESULTS
BUILDING AND GROWING THE I57 BUSINESS COMMUNITY

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The Matteson Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Choctaw Nation’s plan for a casino in their Monday night board meeting. 

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Richton Park​

The Village of Richton Park is a lively and diverse suburban community, just 30 minutes southwest of the City of Chicago. Home to approximately 15,000 residents, Richton Park offers numerous serene parks, vibrant neighborhoods, and an active business community.

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Park Forest

It is with a humbled heart and deep appreciation that I thank each and every Park Forester for the opportunity to serve you as Mayor of Park Forest! Depopulation in the Village has become a major contribution to many of our Village’s challenges, including high property taxes and increasing water bills. It’s time to decrease the tax burden on residents by finding new sources of revenue and cutting costs. Park Forest has the potential for growth and it is time to expand our horizons. The Village has numerous incentive options for developers and construction projects, including Federal Opportunity Zones, State Enterprise Zones, and local TIF Districts waiting for your business. We also have the impending South Suburban Airport and the Research & Development Center for Transportation & Logistics at Governors State University. The Village must optimize these opportunities for growth and economic development.

Park Forest, We’re Open for Business! We have two new developers in town as Matanky Realty has sold its two properties (Orchard Park Plaza and the Theater Building in DownTown Park Forest). At least once a week I am asked if Steak ‘n Shake is coming to Park Forest. Yes, the Village has a contract pending for the site at Lincoln Highway and Indiana Street. The owner of 80 North Street, ForeBio Nutrition, has undertaken over $600,000 of interior work, and has a permit pending for additional work. Once this company becomes operational, Park Forest will have its first international manufacturer. The property at 381 Blackhawk Drive was recently purchased and will be reopening this summer as both an oil and lube business and a used car lot. DownTown Park Forest is now over 80 percent occupied. In addition to over 60 businesses that have long called DownTown Park Forest home, several new businesses add to the variety of uses. Area residents will find insurance offices, real estate offices, doctors, health and fitness, business services, caterers, and even a wine manufacturer in DownTown Park Forest.

When we talk about our Village, the arts have always been a key facet and is still an integral part of our community. Residents and visitors can see a show at Freedom Hall, view sculptures, paintings, and pictures at our two art galleries or take an art, dance or cooking class, and enjoy a play at Theater 47. There is something for every age and style to enjoy. We have numerous new stores moving into Park Forest, so be on the lookout for the upcoming advertisements as we get to know our local businesses. u Visit us on the web! www.villageofparkforest.com Phone: 708.283.5617

Posted on: November 12, 2019

Post office named for an American hero, Tuskegee Airman who lived in Olympia Fields

Capt. Martin, Tuskegee Airman

By MIKE NOLAN
Daily Southtown

With people filling a room at Olympia Fields Village Hall for a ceremony naming that suburb’s post office in honor of her late father, Gabrielle Martin said her dad would have been surprised at “all the fuss.”

A member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen who flew dozens of missions in World War II and was downed by enemy fire, Robert Martin might have simply shrugged his shoulders and said “I was just trying to do my job the best I could do,” Gabrielle, one of his three daughters, said.

“Dad was really kind of a humble man,” she said.

Robert Martin lived in Olympia Fields from 2008 until his death at age 99 in July 2018.

For his military service, he was awarded honors such as the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart. Martin was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1945 with the rank of captain.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, who had introduced legislation in February to name the post office in the airman’s honor, called Martin “an American hero.”

Martin’s son and three daughters were in the audience, with Kelly telling them “your father earned this day a long time ago.”

After the event at Village Hall, Martin’s children went to the post office where a plaque dedicating the building in their father’s honor was unveiled. The post office is at 3033 W. 203rd St., adjacent to the Olympia Fields Metra station.

Martin was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on Feb. 9, 1919. Before the war, Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and after being discharged from the military worked as an electrical engineer for the city of Chicago before retiring in 1988.

Martin was part of a group of black aviators who served in the U.S. armed forces at a time when he and other airmen trained and lived in segregated facilities. The administration of President Franklin Roosevelt made flight instruction available at selected black colleges as part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program, and an air base was established and devoted to training black pilots near the famed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, founded by the pioneering black educator Booker T. Washington.

Martin earned his wings in 1944 and was commissioned a second lieutenant, then flew with a squadron based in Italy. On his 64th mission, Martin was shot down by enemy gunfire near Zagreb, Yugoslavia in March 1945. He spent a month behind enemy lines with partisans in a secret Yugoslavian camp before the Allied advance allowed him to return to his unit’s base in Italy.

Martin was also a founding member and later president of the Chicago chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.

Gabrielle Martin said her father was an avid golfer and played the sport— in all 50 states. He “remained curious about life and never stopped exploring,” she said.

Despite the obstacles her father faced as a black man in the armed forces and as a resident of a nation where “Jim Crow was alive and well,” she said her father told his family he “had to take a stand” against Nazi atrocities, and “felt it was his duty to serve his country.”

She said the family hoped that the naming of the post office in her father’s honor would “inspire others to aim high.”

mnolan@tribpub.com

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Olympia Fields

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UNIVERSITY PARK​

n recent years, University Park has quickly emerged as a national mega-cluster for logistics, distribution, and e-commerce. Thanks to the proximity to several interstate highways and national railroads, the region is now connected by truck and train to both oceans, Canada, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Interstate-57 logistics corridor is booming and considered one of Illinois’ emerging success stories. Anyone driving along I-57, whether coming from the north or the south, is witness to the massive new distribution and fulfillment centers popping up in recent years.

Big names like Clorox, Georgia-Pacific, Dot Foods, Avatar, and Amazon have done their due diligence analyses, completed their economic impact studies and invested hundreds of millions based on their positive growth projections. Occupying millions of square feet, these new outlets employ thousands of new workers, many of whom are integrated with state-of-the-art robotics, and together, they connect commerce to people across the Midwest and beyond.  University Park is also home to Governors State University.

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