LYNWOOD | The completion of Phase 1 of the Joe Orr Road extension did more for Lynwood than reroute the connection between Stony Island and Torrence avenues, according to Village President Gene Williams.
It also connected the village with the proposed casino to be located in the south suburbs.
“Eventually, Joe Orr will go through to Calumet Avenue in Munster,” Williams said before Tuesday night’s board meeting. “That will allow us to have the ability to pull casino customers from Indiana as well as all of the south suburbs."
Even though the current bill is stalled, Williams has been working diligently to keep Lynwood at the forefront of the legislators' minds.
“I have heard, from unconfirmed sources, that the casino bill will be revised and brought back to life in January,” Williams said. “When that happens, we want to make sure that Lynwood is positioned to jump at the opportunity.”
The Joe Orr Phase 1 extension was completed this week, according to Public Works Director Bob Myers.
“All that is left is a little bit of landscaping on Torrence, and the activation of the traffic lights at the intersection of the new Joe Orr and Torrence,” Myers said. “Both should be done later this week or early next week.”
Robinson Engineering will begin the Phase 2 engineering study in January. Phase 2 will extend Joe Orr Road from Torrence to Burnham avenues.
Lynwood officials have met with three developers who are interested in building a casino within the village limits. Three locations have been discussed, including one on Lincoln Highway.
“Our developers are very excited about the sites we have looked at,” Williams said.
The village has also reached out to surrounding municipalities for support in their effort to secure the casino.
“We are gathering support from other local officials for our proposals,” Williams said. “When the time is right, we will be in position to market our strategy.”
Calumet City, Ford Heights, Country Club Hills have all indicated a desire for a casino. The villages of Homewood and East Hazel Crest are joining together in their efforts to lure one.
Lynwood has tied the road extension to a major redevelopment project that will include a new downtown at the future intersection of Joe Orr and Glenwood-Dyer roads.
“It’s important to know that we are not putting all of our eggs in one basket regarding a casino,” Williams said. “We are also going to build a downtown that will include a new library, a performing arts center, commercial development and residential development.”