Homer Glen considers senior housing development on 159th Street – Chicago Tribune

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The Homer Glen Village Board is considering a three-story, 99,990-square-foot senior housing development along 159th Street.

Gardant Management Solutions proposes to build Heritage Woods of Homer Glen at 13750 W. 159th St., just east of Marian Village, an existing senior complex that offers independent and assisted living.

The development would sit on nearly 9.5 acres and include 120 studios and one-bedroom assisted living units. While the complex would accept senior residents 65 years old and older, the average age of residents in Gardant Management Solutions other senior complexes is 82, developers said. They also operate assisted living communities in Bolingbrook and Plainfield.

Gardant Management Solutions would eventually be interested in expanding the complex with an additional 50 units designed to support memory care services, representatives said.

The Homer Glen Village Board took its first look at the plan Wednesday. The design must go to the plan commission for a formal review before it reaches the Village Board for a final vote.

The plan commission will also review for a second time a proposal by Midwest Property Development for the Villas of Country Woods.

The plan commission voted 5-0 last month against the developer’s plan for eight duplexes on about 5.24 acres at 12129 W. 151st St. An attorney for the development previously said the project would target individuals 55 and older who wanted to downsize and stay in the community.

Residents of the nearby Country Woods subdivision objected, saying it would destroy the natural wooded area, displace animals and cause increased traffic and flooding.

Since the plan commission denied the subdivision, the developer removed one of the duplex buildings, increased the open space and made other changes, Village Manager Matt Walsh said.

The Village Board Wednesday sent the development proposal back to get clarification from plan commission members on why they denied the first plan, and for them to review the revisions, Walsh said.

The board is also seeking clarification from the state regarding two grant proposals submitted in 2021 to build a road and more parking spaces in the 103-acre Heritage Park.

The project has been held up for nearly a year, Walsh said.

The village was notified in 2021 that it received grants worth $250,000 and $500,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to fund the project, but the larger grant award had a stipulation that a certain percentage of the contractors must be from minority- and women-owned businesses, Walsh said.

The Village Board awarded a contract after last April’s election for $1.17 million for Austin Tyler Construction to build the road and parking over the objections of some incoming board members, who said the outgoing trustees shouldn’t approve such large projects during a lame-duck session.

The project was on hold until the state provided information about what percentage of the work had to be done by minority- and women-owned businesses, which was released only two weeks ago, Walsh said. The village did not want to put its grant money in jeopardy by proceeding with the project without that information, he said.

The state still needs to ensure that the village is meeting the terms of the grant and that 18% of the work will be done by minority- and women-owned businesses before giving final approval, Walsh said.

The village’s parks and recreation committee recommended the village proceed, but board members said they cannot until they are certain the state grant will be given within a six-month time period.

“I’m willing to drive to Springfield and knock on doors … if it looks like something that could be expedited,” Trustee Beth Rodgers said.

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Not everyone has been in favor of the plan.

Two residents spoke Wednesday urging the Village Board to cancel the project altogether.

Resident Mark Gawron said the village shouldn’t pave over green space and should look at other amenities residents may want, such as a splash pad, skating rink, family picnic area or toddler play area, that offer more recreational benefits.

“It is removing a beautiful green space in our park,” he said. “Tons of concrete and asphalt are going to be poured over acres of pristine prairie land in the middle of our beautiful park.”

Trustee Rose Reynders said the village recently added soccer fields and increased its special events offered at Heritage Park. The board plans to consider building other amenities at the park and will need more parking to keep up with resident demand.

Michelle Mullins is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.