Officials would like to see Illinois, Indiana cooperation

2013-01-31T14:56:00Z Officials would like to see Illinois, Indiana cooperationGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 31, 2013 2:56 pm  • 

GLENWOOD | Lan-Oak Park District officials have hopes for a “Golden Spoke” moment later this year when the Pennsy Greenway bicycle and hiking path is extended into Indiana via a connection at the Lansing/Munster border.

Park District Director John Wilson said the bistate ceremony is set for October. Officials are hopeful to get Govs. Mike Pence and Pat Quinn on hand as an example of cooperation.

Such cooperation is something that south suburban officials said Thursday they’d like to see on many issues.

Ed Paesel, executive director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, used a meeting of The Times Editorial Advisory Board to cite areas where he thinks the states ought to be working together to benefit the region.

One of those involves flooding issues to protect property owners, while another involves the extension of Joe Orr Road, which now goes as far east as Torrence Avenue.

But in the next couple of years, Cook County Highway Department officials will be extending it to the state line, where it would meet up with Main Street in Munster and Dyer.

Paesel said a single road with traffic flowing would bolster the economies of the Indiana municipalities, along with promoting the desires of Lynwood officials to develop a downtown business district.

“In four or five years, it will be complete,” said Paesel, who also would like to see the two states engage in workforce training programs that would actually prepare area residents for the future.

“We should be looking at the jobs of the future, not for the jobs that did exist but don’t any longer,” he said.

Such cooperation between the states does not take place, Paesel said, because he thinks officials on both sides of State Line Road are more interested in trying to one-up each other by snagging businesses from one state to the other.

Lansing village Planning Director Kristi DeLaurentiis agreed with that thought, saying she wishes officials would “look at the big picture” and see the south suburbs and Northwest Indiana as a single region whose communities can benefit each other.

“We’re not hearing enough of the positives,” she said.

Governors State University President Elaine Maimon said she doubts many people pay strict attention to municipal boundaries.

“I live in Crete, and sometimes it’s hard to tell when I’ve crossed over into Monee, then into University Park,” she said.

Paesel pointed out significant numbers of people who commute across the state line in both directions from their homes to their places of employment.

“So much attention is paid to one state saying they took a company from the other,” Paesel said. “In the end, residents don’t care where they go for the job.”

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