Welcome to 3rdWard.org, a website dedicated to communication and transparency between Des Plaines City Government and you. This website, maintained by 3rd Ward Alderman Denise Rodd, is designed to keep neighbors engaged in their community and informed about issues.


July 4th: "America's Famous Firsts" 

Join this year's July 4th Grand Marshal, the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry, celebrating their 75th anniversary serving Des Plaines' business community. Here are the details for the 4th:

10:00am - Parade Begins
(from Oakton-Prairie on Center) PARADE ROUTE
Following Parade - 24th Annual Ice Cream Social
Historical Society (815 Center St)
4:00pm - Fireworks
Oakton Community College ($5 Parking)

Want to support the production of this event? You can contribute to the Independence Day activities by rounding out your water bill payments to the City. Residents are encouraged to round off their water bill payment to the $5 or $10. Mail your payment as always or drop it off at City Hall, 1420 Miner St., Des Plaines, IL 60016.

Questions? Call Carrol Shannon at (847)391-5300 or (847)321-0583.


Help Wanted: 3rd Ward Columnist 

Have you ever written for an audience? Would you like to be in this summer's 3rd Ward e-newsletter as a guest columnist? Exercise that talent your friends keep talking about and take a stab at a local issue. Dive into a topic that has been pestering you and your neighbors, or give us some history on our own town.
Contact: Matt@3rdWard.org

Why join the discussion....

....when you can start it?


Ward Meeting: Wednesday, July 8th

This month's 3rd Ward meeting will focus on the ways our very own public library can help every one of us get by during these tough economic times. Whether it's job training, re-training, re-re-training, resume writting, interview skills, industriy research, fun for the kids, or maybe just a cheap date...our public library has some interesting ideas. There will be time for general questions, but let's keep the focus on library programming and policy.

Every 2nd Wednesday of the month...

July 8th - 7pm - Prairie Lakes



Wolf Road Resurfacing: 7/6/09

The Illinois Department of Transportation has just received notice that Wolf Road from Golf-Touhy will be resurfaced as a part of the American Reinvestment Recovery Act. Because this is an IDOT thoroughfare, the City is not directly responsible for the condition or scheduling of Wolf's improvements. I drive Wolf daily, so I'll be the first to admit that this resurfacing is desperately needed. Sadly, the headaches of congestion and construction will accompany any job.

The map to the right illustrates the huge scale of the project. Construction is expected to last for two months. Please start planning your work commutes around this 3rd Ward thoroughfare. Questions regarding Wolf Road's resurfacing can be directed to IDOT at (217)782-7820. If have more questions about the American Reinvestment Recovery Act and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grants (TIGER), click HERE for a US Department of Transportation Fact Sheet.


The Taste of Des Plaines 2009

Bring your family to this year's Taste of Des Plaines for food, fun, and music!

Friday, June 5th   6-11pm
Saturday, June 6th   11am-11pm
Sunday, June 7th   11am-7pm

Here's the Entertainment Schedule.

For more information on the Taste of Des Plaines,
contact Special Events Chairman Linda Forman at (847) 922-0556.


Gambling Expansion....My Take

The State of Illinois is in a pinch. They are facing record budget deficits in the midst of a revenue-poor economy. One recent reaction has been to propose an expansion of gaming in many varieties. Some say more casino licenses need to be issued. Others are calling for the expansion of video slots or bar/restaurant gaming machines.

The previous City Council sold this new casino (our 10th license) as an opportunity to generate large amounts of revenue. Infrastructure improvements, debt relief, city sticker elimination....all were discussed as reasons for attracting this new casino. That was the deal. The residents bear with the headache and stigma and in exchange their town makes real investments. Let me be clear....any expansion in Illinois gaming -- more casinos or otherwise -- will have an negative impact on our casino's ability to generate the projected gaming revenue. It's a zero-sum game: every dollar spent on an a video slot at Arlington Park will be one (potential) dollar not spent at the Des Plaines Casino. As a community, we need to oppose any future expansion, as our sacrifice in hosting the 10th casino will only bear fruit if the commodity stay's scarce.

Here's a news article from yesterday's Daily Herald: Daily Herald Article 06/01/09

Today's Daily Herald sums up my comments from the meeting: Daily Herald Article 06/02/09

Have some thoughts on the topic? Take a look at The Discussion ...let's talk about it.


City Council Meeting - 06/01/09

Let me first announce our first 3rd Ward Meeting:

Wednesday, June 10th
7:00 PM
Prairie Lakes

Tonight's meeting was action-packed, with a few issues you'll be interested in learning more about. Before diving into the meeting, I want to share some breaking news. I've just been informed that the Illinois American Water Company has presented a petition for a rate increase to the Illinois Commerce Commission. I know this doesn't affect the entire ward, but for those who live in Elk Grove Township this is a regular and unfortunate consequence of a poor economy matched with rising costs of running a large utility. Here is the press release from IAWC: PRESS RELEASE. Know that I'm working with our legal department to find a way to intervene. Look for a report on this topic shortly.

The meeting began with a discussion of two new appointments to the Economic Development Commission. While a few Alderman sought to question the new appointees before confirmation, I thought of my experience as a Mayoral-appointee to the Des Plaines Library Board. With the ability raise and spend about $7 Million taxpayer dollars, I thought I'd have some sort of obligation to make my case for an appointment. I was shocked to learn that I wasn't required to make an appearance in front of the City Council. Two meetings later, I was appointed. With that experience under my belt, I think it's important for all appointees to introduce themselves to the City Council and residents. These volunteers help influence policy, plan civic events, decide zoning issues, and play a large (and often under-appreciated) part of our City's life. The Council agreed to postpone the appointments so that the Mayor's appointees would have a chance to address the Council and you watching at home.

As the chairman of the Engineering Committee, I presented city staff's proposal for a road and sewer project. For both projects the same bidder came in as the "lowest bidder" but we have an obligation to choose the lowest responsible bidder. The company in question has had 8 OSHA Violations in the past 10 years, they had a fatal accident in 2007, and in 1997 -- while working a Des Plaines project -- they struck a water main and a power utility that caused O'Hare International Airport to lose partial power.

Here are the detailed memos: Streets  Sewers

Two liquor license issues appeared before us. Chris' Billiards on Lee Street will be opening it's doors again as a 21+ establishment, serving alcohol until 2am. The Miner Street Tavern (next to the Sugar Bowl) saw a change in ownership and as a part of that transition the new owner came to renew their tavern (2am) licence. The 4am licence they were granted in February of this year was revoked. While I do understand the plight of small business owners, I agree with our Police Chief when he said that Des Plaines doesn't need to encourage drunk driving by permitting 4am establishments. I voted to remove this 4am license while maintaining the regular 2am tavern license.

I took the opportunity to reflect on the State's recent discussion on the expansion of gaming. See a later post to get my take on further gaming expansion and remember to come to our first ward meeting on June 10th, 7pm @ Prairie Lakes.



Memorial Day Details

Monday, May 25, 2009

7:00 am – Veterans gather at American legion, 1291 Oakwood
8:00 am – Memorial service at All Saints Cemetery
8:30 am – Memorial service at Ridgewood Cemetery
9:15 am – Maine West parking lot for parade at Howard Street entrance
10:00 am – Start of parade to Lake Park Memorial Pavilion
10:45 – Memorial service at Lake Park Memorial Pavilion

Should you have any questions or would you like your group to participate in the parade please contact Steven Schaefer, Event Coordinator at 847-452-6991


City Council Meeting - 5/18/09

The first official meeting of this new council was a light one. With only the warrant register (paying the bills) to take action on, we spent the evening swearing in the new 2nd Ward Alderman, John Robinson. A lifelong resident, Mr. Robinson is a active local business owner and new chair of the City's Legal and Licensing Committee. I wish him the best of luck getting his feet wet like the rest of us!

I'll be serving on the following committees:

Engineering - Chairman
Finance & Administration - Vice Chairman
Public Works - Member

Good news for those cyclists! Our Engineering Department was awarded a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program grant for the implementation of a bicycle network in and anround town. I'm working with Engineering to get a map for our website, but I'll be sure to post an image of the proposed network as soon as I get it.

MAP: The Des Plaines Bike Network

MAP: Phase 1 Bike Network Improvements (With CMAQ Funding)


Future meetings promise longer agendas and I'll have more to report then.


MOVIE @ The Des Plaines Theatre

Join the Des Plaines Enviromental and Energy Program as they offer the film HOOT at our very own Des Plaines Theatre. Bring a special someone or the whole family downtown this weekend for the $5 show.

Friday, May 15  -  6:30 & 8:30pm
Saturday, May 16
  -  6:30 & 8:30pm

HOOT: When young Roy moves from Montana to Florida with his family, he ends up befriending two kids who are fighting to protect the home of a group of endangered burrow owls from a real estate developer. Based on the popular children’s book with new music from producer Jimmy Buffett.