The project at Lake & Lathrop has had a series of “fit and starts” ever since its inception, leading River Forest villagers to believe the development is in the doldrums. The other night, at the Aug. 28 village board meeting, the developer petitioned the River Forest Village Board of Trustees to grant another extension to its permit.

Several villagers made personal comments about the project and all recommended rejecting renewal of the permit, mainly on the basis that “enough is enough.” Several of those villagers presented some very convincing arguments to support their position.

It appeared that the village did not have a “save the day” developer in the wings to come in with full financial resources to take over the project and complete it to their satisfaction. If it did, I am sure the village would have jumped on that without hesitation.

Without another outside developer on hand, the village was stuck with dealing with the current one: Sedgwick Properties. The representatives of Sedgwick Properties were on hand to make a presentation acknowledging their delays and financial difficulties, but reassuring the village they were making strong efforts to correct these issues, and assuring them that financing was at hand.

The village made a painful decision to grant Sedgwick Properties an extension of their permit, with some very strong provisions, demanding they show proof of financing and rectify all of their past delinquencies by Sept. 15; otherwise the village would revoke their permit. The village’s demands also included project completion by Aug. 24, 2024 and mandating progress presentations at village board meetings throughout the year.

By extending this permit, the village demonstrated to the financing authorities its support for the project — as long as financing is available, free and clear. The village also outlined strict terms to the developer to fulfill his obligation once and for all. The village gave breathing room to the developer, who will “sink or swim” with the financial authorities.

Let’s hope it does not sink; otherwise it will be a “long and drawn out process,” much the same as if the village rejected the permit.

I support the village in its efforts to extend the permit to this developer for it to complete the job to everyone’s satisfaction.

Joseph O’Connor
River Forest

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