Chief concerns: Railroad, hospital and … toilets?

There are two big battles ahead for the Village of Plainfield in 2009.

One involves getting rid of extra train traffic. The other involves getting a hospital.

Those were two of the chief concerns of the year according to Police Chief Donald Bennett, who gave the annual State of the Village address Jan. 21 at the Pine Bluff Golf Course in Lockport.

Bennett talked about a variety of subjects but the hot-button issues of 2008 could get even hotter in '09. There are a couple of big battles ahead.

Unfinished business from 2008 concerns Plainfield's desire for Edward Hospital to build a full service health facility in the village.

After the village was rejected three times in the past four years, some residents are heading on a bus trip to Chicago Thursday, Jan. 28, to try to convince the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board to vote in Plainfield's favor on the project. 

"Hopefully this will resolve a long-standing battle for the village of Plainfield," Bennett said. "I think everyone in this room understands the struggles we've had for the health facility. I hope you can support their effort because it's good for Plainfield and it's good for all of us."

Dr. Alan Kaplan, the vice president and chief medical officer at Edward, addressed the estimated crowd of 100 people about the hospital's stance.

"Hopefully with all of the press surrounding the history of this application that we will gain approval," Kaplan said. "But we don't have any indication which way it will go."

On the train front, Canadian National's purchase of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway has raised concerns in several Chicago suburbs about increased train traffic. Plainfield is considering legal action to try to block the sale.

"This will increase railroad transit by more than 300 percent," Bennett said of the sale. "Although the (Surface Transportation Board) voted on Christmas Eve in favor of the sale, the village is still reviewing that decision. The village board is reviewing our next step to protect the village's options in this matter.

"I know some may say it's a losing battle or a waste of the taxpayers' dollars. But the impact to the village is monumental. We have 16 crossings. Having 42 trains a day going through there will create a nightmare for many of us."

On a lighter note, Bennett received the biggest reaction when he made a special announcement regarding concerts and movies that will be shown at Settlers Park this summer.

"We have a treat for those who attend in 2009," he said and then paused a few moments for dramatic effect.

"We now have indoor toilets. And a concession stand for your favorite treats."




By Jeff Vorva staff reporter


Triblocal photos by Jeff Vorva

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