I would like to thank the citizens of Hazel Crest for all of your support over the past year. To those of you who have sent me letters of support as well as the citizens who I have encountered in church, at the grocery store, or just walking down the street within the community, your kind words of encouragement and offers of prayer have sustained me and my family throughout this inaugural year. There have been some difficult times over the past twelve months, and I have not always had the support of the majority of the Board as I have worked to move our Village forward. But, with the assistance our Local, County, State and Federal legislators, and with the help of local businesses and our Village Commissions, there have been some outstanding Wins for our beautiful Village.
Over the past year the Village of Hazel Crest has received grants of $250,000.00, $60,000.00, $50,000.00, $64,000.00 and the reissuance of a grant that was on hold for $200.000.00. This is a total of $624,000.00 in grants from the State for roads and infrastructure. Those dollars do not take into account the grants we received where we must match 20% of the costs. Those grants made to The Village of Hazel Crest total over $600.000.00 for the construction of Fountainbleau Drive and over $200.000.00 for Charlemagne. This increases the aggregate grant dollars we have received my first year as Village President to $1,424.000.00 for roads and infrastructure.
As a member of South Suburban Regional Mayors Black Caucus, and with the assistance of State Representative William Davis, I was successful in my endeavors to bring over $600,000.00 to the South Suburban community to be used towards the hiring of youth for the summer. Our Village of Hazel Crest was a recipient of 47 of these jobs. The young people were employed at businesses throughout Hazel Crest and other businesses located in the South Suburbs. The program was so successful the State of Illinois extended the program for some youth until June 2014.
The past year has also been one of renewing the Village’s relationship with local businesses. After meeting with Advocate South Suburban Hospital’s President Mr. Rich Helm, he and I agreed to move forward with a beautification program on Kedzie Avenue and an advertising program that would benefit both the Village of Hazel Crest and Advocate SSH. The beautification program outlined that Advocate South Suburban Hospital would work with the local residents who own the fence along Kedzie Avenue across the street from Advocate SSH and share in the expense of building a fence that requires low or no maintenance and which increases the beauty of the community. The meeting prompted a $20,000.00 donation from Advocate SSH to assist in replacing the fence. Mr. Helm and I also discussed having Advocate SSH place their logo on the Hazel Crest water tower located in the Dynasty Lake subdivision. This discussion has lead to an agreement between the Village of Hazel Crest and Advocate SSH for the repainting and rental of the Water Tower. The Water Tower will display both the Logo of Advocate SSH and the Village of Hazel Crest, with Advocate SSH paying for the repainting as well as a rental fee of $30,000.00 a year to the Village.
In an effort to increase citizen involvement within the Village, I have been able to have all of our Village Commissions fully up and active. A few of the activities provided by the Commissions are: a Youth Football Skills camp, a Youth Jump rope camp, a Summer music Concert, a Community Health Fair, the Veteran’s Day tribute celebration with Congresswomen Robin Kelly, State Senator Michael Hastings and State Representative Al Riley, the Senior Holiday Dinner Celebration, the Veteran’s Holiday Dinner Celebration, a Open lands tour, decorating the Village Hall for holidays, a Small business information session, two Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations and the Black History Month Celebration.
In partnering with our local middle school, the Village of Hazel Crest, again with the assistance of State Representative Will Davis, received funding for a youth mentorship program lead by the organization Preventive Partnerships. The focus of the mentorship and motivation program is to prevent alcohol consumption by underage youth. The $60,000.00 grant from the State of Illinois has been extended for the 2014-2015 year. Preventive Partnerships is also a community development organization and is actively working and meeting with myself and local community volunteers to develop youth, senior and family programs and a not-for-profit arm for the Village of Hazel Crest, to assist in getting grant dollars for Village programs.
So this has been a year of many wins and accomplishments for the Village of Hazel Crest. Some of the events I enjoyed most were; speaking at Homeowners Associations meetings, attending local school career days, book readings to students, working with local clergy, meeting with local business owners, and the special honor of being invited to the 50th wedding Anniversary of Hazel Crest Village residents Mr. and Mrs. Daniel from the Potawatomi Hills Subdivision.
Yes, we have achieved much this first year, but there is a lot more that can and will be done. I am excited about the New Metra Station that will be built in 2015. And with the assistance of the Village Board and support of the community we will continue to improve our Village streets, infrastructure and housing, strengthen our economic base with business development and continue to make our streets safe. As your Village President I will continue to put “Service Before Self” and together we will make the Village of Hazel Crest the best place to live in the south suburbs. Thank you again for your support and may God continue to bless our community.
Vernard L. Alsberry Jr.
President Village of Hazel Crest