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$80,000 Overhaul Planned for Lake Emily

The Oak Forest City Council approved contract with Pizzo & Associates to restore the area around Lake Emily in the Landings Subdivision on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The potential 10-year contract is worth nearly $80,000.

Residents of the Landings subdivision can look forward to a much nicer Lake Emily in the coming years, after the alderman signed off on a new, potential 10-year contract with Pizzo & Associates to conduct maintenance around the lake.

“This area has gone—native is not the right term—it has gone wild,” said City Administrator Troy Ishler. “We have sought professional help to guide through a process of stewardship and do maintenance for the pond.”

The contract, which can be renewed annually for up to 10 years, calls for the city to pay $10,000 during the first year for labor and the controlled burn.

For the first year of service, the contract calls for Oak Forest to pay Pizzo $10,000 for services rendered between November 2012 and October of 2013. Pizzo's services will include a controlled burn, control of invasive woody and herbaceous plants, mowing of all restored area, if necessary, and planting supplemental native seeds.

“We were looking for, not just maintenance, but also how could we restore it to what it was supposed to be,” Ishler said. “Back in the 1990s they had a vision of what this was supposed to look like. … [Pizzo] went into great detail about how they were going to plant, how they were going to maintain year-after-year and get it back to what it's supposed to look like.”

The final contract, which the board approved unanimously, calls for yearly renewal for up to 10 years, based on the satisfactory completion of work around the lake. Should the city see the contract through to completion, Oak Forest will have paid $78,000 to Pizzo & Associates.  

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Darnell October 29, 2012 at 02:58 PM
So,,being as how you enjoy the view and the benefits of this lovely pond, When I come and walk around it, on the access, and throw a line into it to catch some of the nice bass that are in it, this won't be a problem? You and or your neighbors won't call the police? I can enjoy it equally as you? Since, tax dollars are paying for it's upkeep and restoration.
Dani October 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
But doesn't the Mayor enjoy this pond from his backyard? Why bill himself and the homeowners when you can get the city to do it?
frank October 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM
the lake is in the mayors back yard
HAMMER October 29, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I'm with Darnell since my tax dollars are paying for this I should be able to enjoy the benefits of this restoration. Hope they plan on making this pond public accessible !!! Can't wait until Spring to do some fishing in your backyard!
Berenice October 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Exactly!
Tired of the B.S. October 29, 2012 at 05:06 PM
So, let me get this straight, the city wants to spend as much as $80,000 to beautify the area around a retention pond that only the people in the Landings will be able to enjoy and one of the people that will be enjoying this is the mayor? Isn't this the same retention pond that 2 girls almost drowned in back in the 90's? Shouldn't the city drain this pond so that it is safer for the children? “We were looking for, not just maintenance, but also how could we restore it to what it was supposed to be,” Ishler said. Wasn't it supposed to be a retention pond? When do retention ponds become lakes, when they are in the mayors backyard? Just another waste of taxpayers dollars.
Mary Smith October 29, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Perhaps Natalie Creek can be turned into a River Walk while they are at it.....nope, no politicians along that "waterway"
Michael M. October 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Tired--Isn't it terrible when they want us to pay for something only a few will be allowed to use? I am not sure if you have to be a resident of The Landings to use the pond, but I would guess that if taxpayer dollars are used to repair and maintain it then we all should be able to use it. It is similar to how they were originally going to have limited permits for the dog park.
Michael M. October 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
The worst part about this is that most likely none of you will do much about it except complain here. Now, I applaud you for making your voice heard about this issue, but you have to go further. Research the issue to make sure that what you think is happening, is actually happening. Then when you are satisfied that you have the facts, go to the city council meetings. I have taken my issues to them, but I rarely see any other citizens there. The city council will continue to spend and waste your money unless you require them to answer to you, after all they do work for you, you decide who holds those elected positions, so exercise your authority and demand answers that you require, you are entitled to know what your employees are doing.
Ilona Keller Nie October 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
WOW !! For a brief moment I was under the impression the City was almost broke and needed my help by putting new charges on my water bill and charging municipal taxes on my property and City taxes all over this fine city of mine.......Sorry Mr Mayor and Mr City Clerk, you sure made up my mind for the next election.!
Tired of the B.S. October 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM
You forgot the 1% Home Rule tax added right before we bought Numero Uno and hired our new $107,000 a year city administrator.
OF Resident October 29, 2012 at 08:03 PM
What a Joke!!!! Got to love our Mayor, Time for Change!!!! I hope to God some runs against him!!!!!
NANCY GRACE October 29, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Better move the old time picnic to the lake next year, so all can enjoy it...all the children can fish ;-) not sure other towns have private lakes.
Tired of the B.S. October 29, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but, That's a great idea NANCY GRACE.
Bob Laird October 29, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I never knew that that neighborhood was there, nor the lake. If the property is available to the public, then so be it, I have no problem with the 80 K. However, if it's private then with about 30 homes on the lake it comes to about $266 per home per year or $2666 over the length of the contract. It may lower the cost if the homeowners help.
Tired of the B.S. October 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Yet another great idea! I wonder if anyone from the city is paying attention.
Ilona Keller Nie October 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Maybe some "Special Assesments" for The Landings to pay for this.....or, can I have a pond in my neighborhood?
Mike Ziak October 30, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Giving this council the ability to spend the fake revenue that this 1% tax is supposed to generate equates to nothing more than giving a shopaholic a no limit credit card with someone elses name on it.
Michael M. October 30, 2012 at 02:29 AM
What are you going to do about it?
NANCY GRACE October 30, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Protest!
Michael M. October 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Protest? You just did protest, and it isn't going to change a thing. Go to the city council meetings and bring your concerns. The only way they will do what the citizens want is if they believe they will not be re-elected. They constantly waste our tax dollars, then turn around and institute a new tax to make up for the waste.
Darnell October 30, 2012 at 11:48 PM
How about spending some of that money to replant all the tree's cut down on Ridgeland!
NANCY GRACE October 31, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Well said Darnell!!!
Ruth Ensing October 31, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Lake Emily is a retention pond designed by the Army Corps of Engineers when The Landings subdivision was originally built. It was never designed to be a recreational body of water. Under former Mayor Gordon, the city was having an erosion problem. Many residents wanted to put rip rap in, but the city was told that wouldn't work. A person well versed on the subject said the only way to stop it was with special plantings whose roots would hold the soil. This was originally done, but the residents all wanted "lakefront property" and didn't like the looks of the plantings so they mowed them down. The city got a $100,000 grant through Senator Pat O'Malley, which was supposed to cover it but fell well short. Another $200,000 had to be added to complete the project. The city was concerned that the residents would eventually just mow it again and wanted to hold meetings to educate them. I don't know if that ever happened but $300,000 was spent on this project and 12 years later it appears that we're back to square one.
Jim Peterman November 02, 2012 at 06:28 PM
They can spend the tax money on it as long as they put in a walking path around it that is public access. I would like to walk my dog in there it I'm paying for it. I'm all for fixing things in our town if we can all enjoy it. However it seems like I will just end up voting for the other guy next election and trying this all over again. Wonder how long it will take to find a suitable mayor who is really in it for the city as a whole before doing anything to better himself/herself.
Doug November 03, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Taxes in the landings are already double the normal taxes in oak forest. The lake is 1 of the reasons the price of the houses and taxes are so high in the landings already. Look at the taxes in the landings then look at the taxes right across 151st. Thousands of dollars difference. Im glad we finely see something being done in our area with all that extra tax money we have been paying over all these years.
Michael M. November 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Doug, your tax rate is not higher than anyone else in OF. You pay more because your house is assessed at a higher value. As I have stated many times before in other articles and blogs; if you are going to use my tax dollars, I better have access to the funded project. As for the township and county taxes, you may be right, but we are talking about city taxes here. Again, we all would have lower taxes if the citizens of this city would fight the wasteful and misguided spending.
Michael M. November 03, 2012 at 06:39 PM
FYI-The following is from the cities website. "Property tax rates per $100 assessed valuation. Valuation is 16% of residential property, commercial property is assessed at38% and industrial property is assessed at 36%."
Doug November 06, 2012 at 03:46 AM
See this makes no sense to me. I see and talk to people that come from all over Oak Forest, and other places to fish in the lake. So the people that keep saying private lake obviously just haven't ventured out of there house to even see whos fishing or enjoying the lake.
NANCY GRACE December 15, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Fill in lake Emily with dirt, plant trees and flowers and save the money for metal detectors and armed officers at our schools to protect our kids!

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