Biggest Clarendon Hills news of 2012
Clarendon Hills homeowner Eric West takes a yard sign from Sue Hanlon prior the a March village referendum seeking home rule authority. The referendum was voted down by a wide margin. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Top 5 viewed stories on web
1. Clarendon Hills police arrest man who entered home
2. Four seek appointment to DuPage County Board seat
3. Clarendon Hills dietitian on a mission for nutrition
4. Opening delayed for Clarendon Hills restaurant
5. Former Clarendon Hills cop admits taking guns from turn-in program
- Clarendon Hills voters overwhelmingly reject home rule
- Clarendon Hills rolls DARE into existing school program
- Village Board bans video gaming in Clarendon Hills
- Completion of 55th Street road work delayed in Clarendon Hills
- AC on in Hinsdale Central, but not all are satisfied
- Construction brings headaches on 55th Street
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:05AM
CLARENDON HILLS — Some big decisions were put to voters and village officials, who said yes to construction projects and no to video gaming and home rule during 2012.
1. Home-rule referendum fails
A March 20 referendum seeking home-rule authority in Clarendon Hills was defeated by a huge margin.
Voters cast 2005 votes, or 86 percent, against home rule, and only 324, or 14 percent, in favor.
Village Manager Randy Recklaus said the Village Board decided to seek home rule as a way to gain greater flexibility to solve local problems, including with fees, taxes and procedural issues. While Clarendon Hills is in good financial shape, there will be challenges to remain that way in the future, as expenses increase and some sources of revenue, such as any funding from the state, are uncertain, he said.
A citizen’s group, Citizens for Clarendon Hills, organized against the referendum.
Village Trustee Paul Pedersen, who was chairman of a village committee formed to research home rule, said he had no regrets.
“Home rule is a tough sell,” Pedersen said. “It took me a year and a half to be convinced it was the right thing. We did the right things and went about it the right way. Now, we have to move on.”
Recklaus said after the referendum failed that there were no plans to attempt another referendum in the future seeking home rule, nor a referendum specifically seeking a tax rate increase.
2. Police Department drops DARE program
The Clarendon Hills Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was eliminated in August and incorporated into an existing program in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181.
The program was scrapped in an effort to save money. District 181 will incorporate D.A.R.E. into the Social Emotional Learning for Academic Success program.
Police Chief Ted Jenkins said for about the past 10 years the village has dedicated a full-time officer to being in schools, including being the instructor for the DARE program. The cost of that officer was about $140,000 annually for salary and benefits, Jenkins said, and he spent more than 60 percent of his time in the schools.
3. Village Board says no to video gaming
Video gaming isn’t coming to Clarendon Hills — at least for now. The Village Board adopted an ordinance in September banning video gaming in the village.
The move was in response to an application to the state to install two video gaming machines at Tracy’s Tavern, 401 55th St.
The Illinois Video Gaming Act, adopted in 2009 by state lawmakers, allows up to five video gambling machines in facilities with valid liquor licenses, but allows communities to prohibit them.
4. 55th Street undergoes major construction
A major road improvement project along 55th Street through Clarendon Hills slowed down traffic all summer.
The work, which started at the beginning of April and went through November, was completed from Holmes Avenue in Clarendon Hills west to Williams Street, which is at the western edge of Westmont, about seven blocks west of Cass Avenue.
The project included widening and reconstruction/resurfacing of the roadway. Also included in the project were drainage improvements and construction of a median; the installation of left turn lanes and a traffic signal at Clarendon Hills Road; traffic signal replacement at Cass Avenue; additional sidewalks along 55th Street where none currently exist; and installation of retaining walls to minimize impacts to adjacent properties.
5. Traffic is smoother and classrooms are cooler
Renovation projects over the summer at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South improved the interior and exterior of both schools. Air conditioning was installed in all the instructional areas of both buildings. The science classrooms in Hinsdale Central were expanded and updated. The main entrance for Hinsdale Central on 55th Street and for Hinsdale South off Clarendon Hills Road were redesigned with better security and larger vestibules where students can wait inside for rides. Outside the schools, the parking lots were reconfigured to improve the traffic flow, with separate lanes for buses and cars and a new bus parking lot at rear of Hinsdale Central.