Morton Grove To Buy Property, Hopes To Relieve 'Safety Concerns'

Trustees voted to buy a $1.1 million parcel of land with an eye to eventually using it to relieve overcrowding at the police station, which has about half the square footage that's standard for police facilities.


Morton Grove trustees voted 4-1 Monday to purchase a $1,150,000 land parcel, with a building, at 8300 Lehigh, slightly south of the Metra station, on a nearly 2.5 acre site.

Mayor Dan Staackmann said the building could eventually be used to relieve serious overcrowding at the police station--a problem that has been ignored for decades.

The police department moved into its current location, adjacent to village hall, in 1978-1980, and they were told the too-small space was a temporary location, Staackmann said.

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"The appropriation of money has been put off," Staackmann said.

"The size and location of the current facility, in a residential area, are not meeting our needs. If there's a major call, cars go shooting out of here," he said, adding that created a safety risk on a block with homes on it.

Police: deplorable conditions

Morton Grove Police Chief Mark Erickson said the conditions in the police department building were "deplorable" and posed safety concerns.

"We moved here in 1980 and got a space that was too small the day we moved in," he said. "This building is inadequate for our needs."

The department operates in 17,000 square feet, and the minimum space requirement for a modern police station for a force of Morton Grove's size is 34,000 square feet, he said. Morton Grove has 44 sworn officers and 16 civilian personnel, including part-time staff.

The building's boiler and air conditioning don't work properly and the basement sometimes gets water during storms, he said. Jail cells do not meet current standards.

The village has had architects do feasibility studies for possible renovation of the space. But when architects have come out to look at the building, their reaction is "'How do you function as a police department in that building?'" Erickson said.

Regarding the 8300 Lehigh parcel, currently occupied by General Bandages, Inc., the police chief said, "This is a nice piece of property and they're getting a great deal on it."

One trustee voted against

Trustee Larry Gomberg voted against the purchase, saying he had not received adequate information about the property or seen it, and that he wanted to look at the financial outlay when discussion of the 2013 budget comes up soon.

Trustee Shel Marcus was absent from the meeting.

The ordinance states the village would close on the property in December 2013, or sooner if it becomes vacant. Its passage Monday permits the village to put $100,000 in earnest money on the property, to be held in an escrow account with Chicago Title and Trust.

The ordinance also indicates the property would be paid for from its general corporate fund reserves, and budgeted in the 2013 capital projects budget. 

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Z October 09, 2012 at 06:08 PM
It's just disappointing that our leadership apparently lacks the most important quality needed, 'leading.'
Mr. Rats October 09, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Please do not insult me by calling me a politician (Pam, I thought personal attacks were not permitted). I'm a fat lazy American with too much time on my hands, as I state on my site. Grandpa would you like to be the first one to become a member of the Rat Pack Party? It can be like the days of old: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Joey, Peter. If you're older it can be: Humphrey, Errol, Nat, Cesar, Mickey. Mickey Rooney, if there's one person I'd like to meet it's that guy. The history this man was a part of.
Dan Goldberg October 09, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Lots of personal opinions and political satire showing up here so it must be coming up to the November election again. Satire can be fun to read. Let's hope voters know the difference between its humor and the serious candidates' positions before they vote. As for comments made about not being informed earlier about issues, that wouldn't allow for as much fun or opportunities in their creating a satirical website now would it? After all, goverment like accounting and law, ares generally pretty boring, moving at a pretty slow rate allowing anyone who really wants to know what's happening ample opportunities to jump on.
Lizzy T October 09, 2012 at 06:37 PM
It is disappointing that our national and state leadership is lacking, but we are lucky that our local ones in Morton Grove continue to show true leadership for their neighbors in our community.
Mr. Rats October 09, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Ha ha ha HA ha ha ha ho ho ho ha ha ha ha oh oh ooh ooh ooh ha ha ha HA ha ha ha ho ho ho ha ha ha ha oh oh ooh ooh ooh ha ha ha HA ha ha ha ho ho ho ha ha ha ha oh oh ooh ooh ooh ha ha ha HA ha ha ha ho ho ho ha ha ha ha oh oh ooh ooh ooh ha! Good one Lizzy!
M. Kim Jr. October 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Is Gomberg just another professional politician? Can't imagine his not asking any questions about all this unless he just wanted to get some publicity for himself?
sherwin dubren October 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Here is another case of lack of communications to the residents of Morton Grove. I subscribe and read carefully the Morton Grove Champion and also read the MG Bugle every week. I may have missed it, but there was no articles about this land purchase. There was nothing in the Winter issue of the Morton Grove Exchange. I saw nothing in the Morton Grove eNewsletter. Something as important as this should have had more coverage. It's amazing that with all the cutbacks in the village, that suddenly we have over one million dollars in the General Fund to pay for this. Will this new facility improve protection for MG residents? Maybe marginally, but certainly not worth this kind of money. I'm sure this initial expenditure is just the beginning of the cash outlays.
grandpa October 10, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Here's another case of selective information and inaccurate staements. The Morton Grove Champion has about 3 pages of local news so it shouldn't be too hard to get through. There is no such animal as the Morton Grove Bugle, (Niles Bugle, yes. Morton Grove Bugle, no), and they haven't covered Morton Grove for over 5 years. If the Village were to telegraph it's interest in a particular piece of property the price would automatically rise. Good for the property owner but bad for Morton Grove taxpayers. Also, I wasn't aware that Mr. Dubrin was an expert in public safety and police matters. Perhaps he can share his expertise and explain to us just would improve public safety in Morton Grove instead of providing an up-to-date police facility.
sherwin dubren October 10, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I was not complaining about reading the Champion, but finding any article about this expenditure of over one million for a new police station. The paper is called the Niles Bugle but they also show some Morton Grove news. The facts are that the Action Party has gone behind our backs and made a unilateral decision to spend well over a million dollars of our money without getting any inputs from the residents. This is a repeat of the garbage station affair. All these excuses about affecting negotiations for a purchase have no relevance to the idea of doing a purchase in the first place. Until we get rid of these politicians who think they don't need our concerns about spending millions, this will happen again. How can these administrators justify removing support for seniors and other services on the basis of no money in the general fund and then turn around and take a million (with more to come) from it. You can be sure that they will raise property taxes to pay for this, but all this will happen after the election when they have another four years for residents to forget about what they did. I find the Action Party totally irresponsible in the handling of our finances and we are giving them a blank check to spend whatever they deem necessary. As for Gramps, last I heard Morton Grove was not a crime center. Our police seem to be handling things fine, for now.
sherwin dubren October 10, 2012 at 02:09 AM
As far as overcrowding at the MG Police Station, I have one solution. Reduce the number of police.
Dan Goldberg October 10, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Oh sure, Morton Grove would be better off with subsidizing a place for people to play cards instead of making sure our police are in a proper facility and there are enough of them to keep us safe. How long do you want to wait the next time you call 911?
sherwin dubren October 10, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Dan, you know there is more to senior support than having a place to play cards. This remark about 911 sounds like a kind of threat. If we don't give the police a comfy place, they may not respond quickly to our 911 calls. Hogwash. If you are worried about 911 response, we should direct some of this money to more modern dispatch equipment.
grandpa October 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM
What is irresponsible is advocating cutting police protection. What is irresponsible is blind hatred of public figures who have guided Morton Grove through tough economic times keeping us in better shape than neighboring towns with larger tax bases. This type of fuzzy thinking is a good indication why you were rejected by Grovers in your ill-fated attempt at public office. You make no sense.
Denise October 10, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Sure, we have the $ for a new police station (those that work FOR us), but not anything when it comes to our crumbling library (that is for the residents)? Really? Come on! PRIORITIES
Sandi B. October 10, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Denise, the Morton Grove Public Library has its own Board of Trustees. They make the decisions regarding the library, not the Village Board of Trustees.
grandpa October 10, 2012 at 03:36 PM
You keep reminding us how much you don't know. The dispatch is currently being done through a consortium in DesPlaines. The village is moving to a cooperative venture in Glenview at a considerable savings, (and the Glenview dispatch center is upgrading it's equipment for that purpose... which was reported in the local media that you claim to read). Public safety trumps special treatment for seniors.
grandpa October 10, 2012 at 03:40 PM
What really scares me is that Trustee Gomberg is the liason to the police department and knows better. This was political grandstanding pure and simple. He is hoping that the voters will remain ignorant of the true and buy into a HOPE that he will CHANGE things. Remember, not all change is good.
Sandi B. October 10, 2012 at 03:41 PM
The services the Police Department provide (just like the Fire Department) affect ALL residents of Morton Grove. Senior services affected only a portion of the residents. The Seniors have much better programming in place now with the North Shore Senior Center than they ever did with what the Village was able to provide (I've spoken to my neighbors and family members who love NSSC). I felt that the water refund was extremely unfair to those who are not of "Senior" status. I have 6 in my family and could certainly use a "refund". I don't get any special breaks because of my age or income level. And believe me, I've taken a hit in income just like everyone else due to the economy. Making municipal decisions is about doing what's best for the majority of the people, not just a select few.
sherwin dubren October 10, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Just how is putting our Police in a nicer building going to improve our safety and protection? I was not advocating a new 911 dispatch system, but merely trying to make a point that this proposed new building would not improve that service. The residents of Morton Grove made it very clear that they did not want to spend the money for a new library. Given the opportunity, they would probably say the same thing about a new police station. Unfortunately, our trustees and mayor have not given us the option to decide on that one. This million dollar plus expenditure could be used to help both seniors and residents in need of assistance. Perhaps the mayor is looking at upgrading his office as well with a move to this building. It help to isolate him even further from the residents who he seems to disregard in most of his decisions.
Pete October 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Hmmm , morton grove pd na I was Gona coment but I think I'm gona leave this one alone. As I know how they work. Sherwin , I agree with u , but careful, what you say. Cause they will put a watch on you an harass the living day lights out of you .....trust me on that one
grandpa October 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Mr Dubrin and Pete ought to get toether and share a tinfoil hat.
Pete October 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Lol. That's funny ;).
Pete October 10, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Please , I ask don't pull me in any further with this discussion as I wana comment so bad but am trying to refrain from doin so ;)
sherwin dubren October 10, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Pete, I thought the Morton Grove Police are there to Serve and Protect us.
Pete October 10, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Sherwin , don't make me go there ... I am really restraining my self here ;)
grandpa October 11, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Mr. Dubrin are you saying that the police don't serve and protect us? Are you sharing more of your expertise regarding police and public safety? Please enlighten us further.
sherwin dubren October 11, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Gramps, You always twist things around to make me look bad. What I was saying is that Pete has nothing to worry about because our Police are not out to get us. Pete, I think your real motive is to provoke me. I don't buy it.
Pete October 11, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Sherwin , I'm my own person with my own beliefs... Don't use me as Ur escape goat. An don't let gramps scare ya. Say watch ya mean an mean whatcha sat ....
sherwin dubren October 11, 2012 at 06:50 AM
Gramps is a joke. I try to ignore him. You have your own beliefs, but you seem to be reluctant to let us know what they are. I have already said my say. This arrogant MG administration thinks they can throw around millions without the consent of the residents. Time to throw the bums out.
grandpa October 11, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Mr Dubrin I don't need to make you look bad, you do a fine job all by yourself. Your b lind hatred for the current administration seems to cause you to look at our fine village through poop-colored glasses.


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