CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Two surplus city police vehicles will be donated to the Chicago Heights Park District, the City Council decided.
Mayor David Gonzalez said the park district has its own part-time security personnel that will use the vehicles to monitor city parks.
"Which is a plus for us because it gives them more presence to be at the parks and allows us to have more visibility at the parks," Gonzalez said.
Matt Fares, executive administrator with the Chicago Heights Police Department, said the city would have likely received no more than $600 apiece to trade in the cars that he said are 2004 models with almost 100,000 miles on them.
Gonzalez said donating the cars could save city taxpayers money since the park district would not have to purchase used vehicles that might cost as much as $10,000 each.
In October, the City Council authorized Gonzalez to execute a purchase agreement for 15 new Chevrolet Impalas for the Police Department.
Also discussed at their latest meeting, city Chief of Staff Lisa Aprati said almost 500 trees have been eliminated from city parkways as part of a citywide tree removal project approved by the City Council in November at a cost of approximately $194,339.
"These were dead and dying trees that were removed," Aprati said.
She said 15 to 20 more trees will likely be removed by the project's April 1 completion date.
Aprati said the Chicago Heights water billing department has been relocated from the pumping station at U.S. 30 and East End Avenue to City Hall.
"The billing department is now sharing space with the code department," she said. "Customers can come in and basically have easy access to all the departments within the city, as well as being able to speak directly with a representative from the billing department on any issues that they have."
The City Council followed Gonzalez's recommendation to table an ordinance on Monday's agenda that called for the emergency demolition of an abandoned warehouse at 1650 Union St. destroyed by fire Feb. 26.
Gonzalez said the city had sought proposals to do the demolition right away out of concerns for safety, but the possible presence of asbestos in the building will require companies to obtain county permits before demolition can take place.
He said the 30 to 45 days it normally takes to obtain those permits will allow the city time to seek bids on the project.