A long-stalled plan from 2009 to move the Oak Lawn Masonic Temple seemed to gain some movement this week when village elected officials put the proposal before the community on Monday.
See the pdf of the 2009 Masonic Program Analysis.
Should Oak Lawn Village Board members approve the plan, the existing Masonic Temple will be demolished. The Masons will move into a brand new building on 53rd Court to be paid for by the sale of village-owned properties as part of a land-swap deal.
Mayor Dave Heilmann put the motion on the village board's consent agenda in February, but Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) asked that it be tabled until a community meeting could be held.
The village has made an offer to the Masons based on a 2009 appraisal capped at $875,000.
According to what the mayor told residents on Monday, the village has received an offer in excess of $1.75 million from a “substantial interested party” for village-owned properties on 95th Street—including the Oak Lawn Senior Center.
The sale would allow village-owned properties to be put back on the public tax rolls, Heilmann said.
Conceptual drawings of a “multi-seasonal park” possibly including a fountain pool, ice skating rink, enhanced concert stage and temporary buildings for Farmers Market vendors, coffee stands, and the like.
Renovations of the village green—should the plan ever go before the village board for a vote—could cost $2 million to $3 million.
Olejniczak questioned whether such an expenditure of tax dollars was a wise investment at this point in time with all that the village has going on, including labor contract negotiations and the 111th Street development.
The trustee also wondered if some of the proposed enhancements could be made without knocking down a building and putting up a new one paid for by public monies.
Mayor Dave Heilmann said that we should never shy away from what is possible.
So we put the question to our readers: Does the Oak Lawn village green need fixing? Whether or not the village board approves plans to move the Masons—what, if anything, should go here?