Assisted living for people, assisted death for pigeons

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Assisted what? River Forest village trustees were blue-skying ideas for the hideously vacant Hines Lumber site on Madison Street when one of them suggested an assisted living facility. You know, a place for older folks who need a little help but don't need full-time nursing just yet. Reminded me that 20 years back West Sub wanted to build an assisted living facility on Lake Street in River Forest and everyone went ballistic.

West Sub's concept, and it was in health care vogue for a brief moment, was to meet the needs of all locals from birth to death. You get born, you give birth, you get a few replacement parts at the main hospital.

Then you retire to Holley Court Terrace, which the hospital built. After a few years, you need more doctoring and nursing and you'd move up Lake Street to the River Forest facility. Maybe they were planning to buy a crematorium after that, I forget.

But River Forester's objected vehemently. Not because they didn't love grandpa but they were wary of all the minimum wage jobs that would be created and staffed 24/7. Who'd want to work for $7 an hour changing sheets? You know who. Poor people.

West Sub had already bought the parcel and that is where the women's health and cancer center now resides.

Assisted what II? Oak Park wants to do what with a pesky flock of pigeons that defile the fancy underpass at Marion Street? And they're passing this gassing off as a health issue? Don't think this is going to fly.

Harrison Street for sale: We're working to fill in the details of the for sale signs that went up over the weekend on the hideously vacant and even nicely occupied Kleronomos family properties along Harrison Street. The properties are in foreclosure.

But the real estate company handling the listings reportedly works for Kleronomos. And the listing prices are absurdly high. How high? $1.65 million for a building that has sat vacant for 25 years. More to come. But don't underestimate the nine lives of Chris Kleronomos.

Graduation Day: Christ the King, the Jesuit college prep in Austin with all the Oak Park connections, will graduate its first class this year. Fifty students. All Westsiders. Every single one of them accepted to college(s). Do you believe?

Of all the essential backers — cash, teaching, volunteering, providing work-study jobs, Christ the King would not have launched without Mike Kelly of the late Park National Bank.

The short list: Put together a roster of the most important people in Oak Park over the past 40 critical years and high up you'd find Frank Muriello. Had the privilege Saturday morning of watching Frank honored by the Oak Park Residence Corporation for his service to that organization — board member, board president, executive director — over many years.

Frank quietly drove a lot of projects. One was the Ryan Farrelly Apartments on South Humphrey. These were affordable housing units for people with physical disabilities. He saw the need for his grandson, Ryan, who was disabled. Until Saturday the 21-unit building was named just for Ryan. Now it is known as the Farrelly-Muriello Apartments.

All credit due to Frank, but this project would never have happened without Mike Kelly. Kelly's bank owned two of the three parcels needed for the apartments. He sold them to the Residence Corporation for $1 each.

Contact:
Email: dhaley@wjinc.com Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

2 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Martin Berg from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 9:30 AM

Oops, that PS should be "River Forester's"??

Martin Berg from Oak Park  

Posted: May 30th, 2012 9:29 AM

Kudos on your recognition of both Mike Kelly and Frank Muriello, good examples of why Oak Park is a special place: people who care. Thanks, Dan! PS: "River Forest's"??

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