My turn

Mayor addresses Cal City Chamber of Commerce

2014-06-19T00:00:00Z Mayor addresses Cal City Chamber of CommerceGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
June 19, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Well, I went to my first Calumet City Chamber of Commerce luncheon/meeting last week. It was at the council chambers of City Hall. I was invited by Cal City’s economic development chief Brian Swanson.

It was an interesting and informative meeting and the food was good. It was from Calumet City businesses. Pizza from Doreen’s and desserts from the newly opened Cal City Bakery (really good apple slices). The new bakery is in the building that for years was home to the iconic Steffens Bakery on State Line Road.

The chamber is an association of business people who work to promote businesses in town.

I have said in this space before that doing business in Cal City has some obstacles, especially its proximity to Indiana and that state's lower tax structure. In addition, two of the four anchors of River Oaks Mall, the city’s main economic engine, have well ... lifted anchor.

The Chamber works to help businesses be profitable which is in their own self-interest, but it is in the interest of all taxpayers in Calumet City as the city’s share of sales tax is a huge component of our tax base which pays for our city services.

Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush was the main speaker at the meeting and she talked about some of the difficulties involved in getting new tenants into the city and the mall.

For example, some tenants of River Oaks and the complex of stores west of River Oaks have riders in their contracts that prevent competitors from opening in that mall complex. One prospective tenant was kept out of the mall because of parking issues raised by another tenant.

One cool thing Cal City Fire Chief Bill Galgon spoke about was a new facility that will be going up on the open area of State Street and State Line Road. It is a new fire training facility. This facility will be used by our and other departments to learn and hone skills needed to do the difficult and dangerous work they do.

The facility may well have other functions with its large open spaces. Grants will be paying for this.


Congrats to the Bishop Noll baseball and softball teams. Both squads have numerous south suburban/Hegwisch/East Side players. The boys made it to the regional finals and the girls to the semi state finals. And in a quirky twist, both teams lost on the same day, at almost the same time by the same score. But it was a great year for both squads.

St. Andrew will be having its annual SummerFest from 6 to 10 p.m. June 28 and 2 to 9 p.m. June 29 on the parish grounds, 768 Lincoln Ave. in Cal City.

Always great food, tasty libation, lively music and friendly folks. New this year is the “Disciple Dash 5K run/walk" to take place at 10 a.m. June 28. 

Call St. Andrews for details – (708) 862-4165.

And the Calumet City Relay for Life raising awareness and funds in the struggle against cancer, will take place on Saturday at T.F. North High School, 755 Pulaski Road. Amid many other activities, various teams will keep at least one team member taking laps around the track. The teams have garnered pledges to support their efforts.

The event starts at 1 p.m. and, for some teams, goes until the next morning. If you’d like to help, look for the pink and black shirts of “Jimmy’s Cream Puffs” or just stop by to lend support and maybe a little donation.

Thanks for reading.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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