Alderman Sean Oskerka
Des Plaines, Illinois, USA

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 Sean Oskerka, is designed to keep neighbors informed about issues and engaged in our community.

Alderman-elect Oskerka Newsletter sign up!!

April 25, 2021

Welcome everyone. I look forward to meeting as many people as I can in the next few months as I begin my term. In the 1st week of May I will be sending out a newsletter introducing myself a little more and providing a few ideas that I have for the future. I have added a sign up under the newsletter tab at the top of the page. Please sign up and spread the word to all your neighbors. Thank you and I look forward to the future.

Congratulations to Alderman-elect Sean Oskerka!

April 7, 2021

On April 6, 2021, voters of the 3rd Ward in Des Plaines elected Sean Oskerka as the new Alderman. Alderman Denise Rodd is term limited and will leave her seat at the City Council meeting on May 3, 2021. Alderman-elect Oskerka will be sworn in at the meeting and take his seat for the next four years.

In this transition time, I will be handing the keys to this website over to Alderman-elect Oskerka so constituents can continue to stay informed about what's happening in the Ward and citywide. Keep checking back to this site for more information about signing up for the new newsletter as well.

Don't Throw Away Your Shot! Get the COVID-19 Vaccine!

January 25, 2021

Cook County residents aged 65 and older; essential workers such as first responders, teachers, school staff, corrections, grocery, and public transit workers can sign up for COVID-19 vaccines. Everyone else can sign up for notifications when it's your turn. Visit the Cook County vaccine site at https://vaccine.cookcountyil.gov

New Garbage Collection Service Begins March 1, 2021

Republic Services Asks to End Contract Early

At the December 21st City Council meeting, Aldermen reviewed new bids and a decision to switch the waste hauler from Republic Services to Lakeshore Recycling Services. Republic, who had a 14-year run in Des Plaines, approached the City with a desire to end the current contract. Over the last few years, they were "underwater" with the contract according to Public Works Director Tim Oakley.

Lakeshore, based in Morton Grove, provided the lowest bid in a contract proposal that mirrors the one Republic had with the City. The monthly charge to residents, pickup date and other points in the contract will remain the same.

No Significant Changes

  • Monthly cost - regular rate $17.70; senior rate $16.35 (6 cents more)

  • Pickup date - same

  • Recycling - same

  • eWaste - call ahead

  • Large items - 1 per week

  • Move-out pickup - unlimited; call ahead

Some Changes

  • Bill comes directly from Lakeshore

  • Billing every quarter instead of monthly

Lakeshore will notify residents with details of the new services soon. Residents can choose their garbage and recycling cart sizes. Lakeshore will deliver the new ones with a note on the carts indicating the first pick up date. In order to switch out the carts, Republic Services will notify residents when their last garbage pick up will be (after the new Lakeshore carts have already been delivered and set aside). At that time, a truck will follow the Republic garbage trucks and pick up the old carts. Residents can then begin using the new Lakeshore carts for pickup the following week.

Yard waste removal services will remain the same. The City will continue the Public Works leaf truck service during leaf season. Lakeshore will pick up leaves from Public Works and also from residents who pack them in bags and marked yard waste containers for pickup on their regular collection day. (This has always been an option for residents who prefer not to pile leaves in the street for parking and aesthetic reasons.)

For more details on the transition from Republic, ordering new carts, e-billing and more, visit the Lakeshore Des Plaines website.

Campground Management Cited, Temporary Event Ordinance Amended

August 3, 2020 9:45 p.m.

Regarding the event recently hosted by the Campground, the group has left and the tents have been removed. On Monday afternoon, 10 citations were issued to the local Campground management for 5 days of violations of the Mayor's emergency order and for unlawful use of the property to host a special event. The adjudication of these violations will be handled by the Circuit Court of Cook County in Skokie on a date TBD.

Council also passed Ordinance M-10-20 on second reading that amends provisions of the ordinances pertaining to temporary event licenses and nuisances effective immediately upon the Mayor's signing:

(i) Chapter 3 of Title 4 – Temporary Event Licenses: Expands and clarifies types of events that are required to obtain a Temporary Event License from the Community and Economic Development Department. Explicitly prohibits temporary events that would constitute a nuisance, negatively impact public safety, violate a Mayoral order, or contribute to the spread of contagious or infectious diseases during a declared emergency. Adds a provision granting the City Manager the ability to suspend or revoke temporary event licenses and allows for a one-year moratorium on issuance of additional temporary event licenses in the event of a violation. Imposes joint and several liability for penalties on both temporary event licensee and owner of property hosting the event.

(ii) Section 5-3-1 - Nuisances Declared: Added engaging in activities that promote the spread of contagious or infectious diseases to the list of unlawful nuisances that the City can abate.

(iii) Section 6-5-6 – Violations and Penalties Related to Civil Emergencies: Declares operation of a business or property in violation of a civil emergency order to be a nuisance in fact and imposes joint and several liability on owners of property.

If you would like to read the text amendments of the ordinance, they can be downloaded here.

Mayor's Emergency Supplemental Affects Everyone

July 29, 2020 12:00 p.m.

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community and beyond, the Mayor has issued an additional supplemental emergency order that requires social distancing and mask wearing for all individuals in shared spaces outside of their homes within the City of Des Plaines both indoors and outdoors (where social distancing is not always possible). This order includes those attending religious services and gatherings.

Read the order here.

Emergency Meeting of Des Plaines City Council

July 28, 2020 4:00 p.m.

City Council will convene an emergency meeting this evening at 6:00 p.m. to discuss security procedures and a response to a public health danger during this COVID-19 pandemic. Because the subject involves probable or imminent litigation, the meeting will take place in closed session.

BACKGROUND: There is concern that attendees and organizers of the "Big Tent Revival" taking place through Sunday at the Historic Methodist Campground are not following proper social distancing and safety protocols during the pandemic.

PUBLIC COMMENT: If you would like to submit comments, email 200 words or less to publiccomments@desplaines.org.

CITY STATMENT: https://www.desplaines.org/news/displaynews.htm?NewsID=915&TargetID=1

LIVESTREAM: https://www.desplaines.org/accessdesplaines

Clear Vision on Independence Day 2020

July 3, 2020 9:00 a.m.

Clear Vision on Independence Day 2020

During this COVID-19 pandemic, I have heard from many people about how despite the hardships we are enduring, there are moments of clarity that help us to carry on. Working from home means losing commuting time and gaining family time. Losing a job presents an opportunity for introspection about the course of a career. Missing a graduation ceremony frees up time to bring joy to senior citizens. Separation from family and friends makes our relationships more endeared.

Certainly counting blessings is one way to garner strength to deal with these personal challenges. There is irony in that all of this is happening in the year 2020 - a number associated with perfect vision. With more time to reflect on our lives and our relationships with others, I suspect we will emerge from this pandemic with clearer focus about what's important to our families, our communities and our nation.

As Independence Day approaches this week, we grieve our traditions that have been put on hold in 2020. Fireworks displays, parades, family reunions, back yard parties and the like will have to wait. But that doesn't mean the 4th of July won't happen. If you remember the lesson in Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," despite the community of Whoville losing all of its celebratory traditions, the Whos still honored the meaning of the holiday and their spirit of community. As for Independence Day, we will say that "somehow or other, it came just the same!"

If we're to have a clear vision of what Independence Day means to us as Americans, why not take the opportunity on this day to read or listen to the Declaration of Independence. Really listen to it and get to the heart of why this day is important and how we as individuals can glean inspiration from the words that still drive our pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our neighbors to this day.

President John F. Kennedy read the Declaration of Independence in its entirety as a senator in 1957. You can hear the recording here.

Perhaps take it a step further and focus on what's important to you on this day and how you will do something to heal your community during these challenging times - whether that be your family, your block, your neighborhood or your social and spiritual circles. No matter what personal hardships you are enduring now, doing something for others will not only brighten your outlook but it may also return in kind to you one day.

Police Updates - Civil Unrest

Updates are posted daily on the Des Plaines Police Department's public Facebook here.

June 3, 2020 1:00 p.m.

People have asked what has the DPPD done to be better about our relationship with the community we serve to make sure we serve ALL members of the community.

The Des Plaines Police, with Chief Kushner representing us, belong to the Illinois Association of the the Chiefs of Police.

As part of that association the group met with leadership from the NAACP in early 2018. The two groups worked together then to come to an understanding of principles that would be used as common ground for the two communities to unite under, rather than remain divided. Below is a copy of the hard work the two organizations were able to accomplish in a proactive and progressive move forward in our relationship with everyone in the communities we serve as Law Enforcement as a whole.


March 22, 2018

WHEREAS, the Illinois NAACP State Conference is part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, established in 1909 following race riots in Springfield, Illinois; and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police was established in 1941, and

WHEREAS, the NAACP “advocates for smarter, results-based criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe, including … an end to racial disparities at all levels of the system,” and

WHEREAS, the NAACP’s principal objective “is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination,” and

WHEREAS, the Illinois Chiefs declare in their Vision Statement that the association values “Compassion, Integrity, Accountability, Fairness, Professionalism, Innovation, Continuous Improvement, Diversity, [and] Inclusion,” and

WHEREAS, both organizations acknowledge that there are historical reasons for some mistrust between police and communities of color, and

WHEREAS, both organizations have a mutual passion for defending and protecting the civil rights of all citizens and in keeping our communities and citizens safe, and

WHEREAS, the associations conducted four joint leadership-level gatherings called “World Cafes” in 2016 and 2017 in Bloomington, Lake County, the Quad-Cities, and Champaign, where a total of ninety-seven leaders from law enforcement and communities of color discussed common concerns and “what most needs our attention going forward,” and

WHEREAS, the associations conducted four joint leadership-level gatherings called “Let’s Talk” -- in 2016 in Tinley Park and Bloomingdale, and 2017 in Tinley Park and Mt. Vernon, where a total of one hundred and seventy-seven leaders from law enforcement and communities of color discussed common concerns and “where do we go from here,”

NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that we affirm the following principles regarding the relationship between law enforcement and the communities and people they serve in Illinois:

We value the life of every person and consider life to be the highest value.

All persons should be treated with dignity and respect. This is another foundational value.

We reject discrimination toward any person that is based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or familial status.

We endorse the six pillars in the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The first pillar is to build and rebuild trust through procedural justice, transparency, accountability, and honest recognition of past and present obstacles.

We endorse the four pillars of procedural justice, which are fairness, voice (i.e., an opportunity for citizens and police to believe they are heard), transparency, and impartiality.

We endorse the values inherent in community policing, which includes community partnerships involving law enforcement, engagement of police officers with residents outside of interaction specific to enforcement of laws, and problem-solving that is collaborative, not one-sided.

We believe that developing strong ongoing relationships between law enforcement and communities of color at the leadership level and street level will be the keys to diminishing and eliminating racial tension.

We believe that law enforcement and community leaders have a mutual responsibility to encourage all citizens to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the law to assist them in their interactions with law enforcement officers.

We support diversity in police departments and in the law enforcement profession. Law enforcement and communities have a mutual responsibility and should work together to make a concerted effort to recruit diverse police departments.

We believe de-escalation training should be required to ensure the safety of community members and officers. We endorse using de-escalation tactics to reduce the potential for confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community members; and the principle that human life should be taken only as a last resort; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we vow by mutual affirmation to work together and stand together in our communities and at the state level to implement these values and principles, and to replace mistrust with mutual trust wherever, whenever, and however we can, and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we work collaboratively to publicize widely the adoption of this resolution throughout the state of Illinois.

Teresa Haley, President

NAACP Illinois State Conference

James R. Kruger, Jr., President

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

Substantial agreement by:

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Board of Officers

January 31, 2018

Illinois NAACP State Conference of Branches

June 2, 2020 7:00 a.m.

The Des Plaines Police Department is happy to announce that we had zero incidents of disruptive behavior and civil unrest last night.

We are pleased that our community was able to come together and keep the peace.

Even though last night was a success with zero incidents, the Des Plaines Police will remain vigilant, and keep our contingency measures in place. Other parts of our country and state were not as fortunate as we were. Now is not the time to let the guard down.

Des Plaines is a community made up of many backgrounds, races, cultures, and creeds. The Des Plaines Police Department supports and celebrates that diversity as it comes together peaceably to make this city distinguished in the Northwest Suburbs.


If you see something suspicious, call 9-1-1 immediately. A reminder that suspicious and criminal activity should NOT be reported via Facebook or other social media.

Calling 9-1-1 is the proper response.

Please remain at home if you can. This not only helps with the civil unrest, but we are also still in the midst of the COVID-19 response. Being part of gatherings in this manner could cause the numbers to spike. Spiked case numbers could undo the progress we have made here in Illinois with not just flattening the curve, but reducing it greatly.

We thank you all for helping to keep our city the great place to live that it is.

June 1, 2020 1:15 p.m.

The City of Des Plaines Leadership has met and come together with additional plans to help ensure our safety and preservation of property.


While as of this time a formal curfew is not in place we would like to request again that if you don't have to be out, then please stay at home. This is particularly important during the evening and night time. Should the need arise city officials may declare a formal curfew.


Again, if you see something that appears out of place, people gathering in large groups, behavior that seems to be disruptive, behavior that would be deemed criminal activity please dial 9-1-1.

We strongly urge against reacting or responding to these types of incidents yourselves. Your police department has received training in how to deal with the many types of circumstances that have arisen during this chaos.


Your police department is working with multiple agencies to monitor the various social media sites and their content creators. We are aware of the postings that call for criminal behavior on the part of protesters.

We will use this page and the City of Des Plaines Government page to get updated information to you. You may also want to follow the Cook County Government page as it is more up to date with area road closures and public transportation limitations.


It is very difficult for the police departments to distinguish between the peaceful people and the antagonists at a gathering. With this in mind when a gathering is declared unlawful because of the behavior of the few, the many must adhere to the dispersal order as well. Please listen to any orders given by officers at any location, whether Des Plaines or elsewhere.


The Des Plaines Police have gone to extra measures to try and ensure your safety and preservation of property. While we are actively doing our part, please do your part. Be a good neighbor. Check on the elderly and infirmed in your area. Their hearing and vision may not be as sharp as it once was. Help them get out of the area if necessary.

Please do your part and stay out of any problem areas to make it easier for police to do their part and restore peace.

Public Works Q&A: Record Rains

May 18, 2020

With more than eight inches of rain falling in the last four days, this month is on track to be the rainiest in history in the Chicago area. In response to the flash floods that happened during the rain event on May 17, the Public Works Department has developed this resource for residents.

1. Where has the river breached Des Plaines River Rd.? Why didn't the recent reconstruction help?

The river breached Elk Blvd and Rand Road; Thacker St and Oakwood Av. The reconstruction has provided some protection from river stages; however, at these locations the pavement remains in the flood plain.

2. Who should we call if storm sewers cause flash flooding in the street in front of our home?

Please call Public Works at 847-391-5464 (24/7 number) to report storm sewer issues on roadways.

3. Is there a storm sewer "switch" that someone controls to drain the streets? Why don't they flip it on before the rain starts?

There are no switches or valves in the City that control street drainage. The storm water drains by gravity.

4. When they open the Chicago River to flow into the Lake, does it help our street flooding?

Opening the Chicago River does not help because our streets drain into local streams and the Des Plaines River.

5. What is the "Deep Tunnel," and does it help with flooding in Des Plaines?

The Deep Tunnel is a tunnel and reservoir project owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District that helps prevent sanitary and combined sewer overflows and backups.

6. Our street was recently reconstructed with bigger storm sewers, but we still had water back up in the street. Why?

New storm sewers are designed to convey a 10-year storm (3.4” of rain over a 24-hour period). If the rain event is larger, the storm sewers will surcharge and temporarily hold water in the street.

7. Can Public Works televise our storm sewers? We're sure they're blocked under our street.

Yes, please contact Public Works at 847-391-5464 to report a possible blockage and we will follow up.

8. Our basement flooded. How can the City help?

See the following information regarding the City’s Flood Rebate Program and Sewer Lateral Program:



9. What are overhead sewers? Does the City install those?

An overhead sewer prevents sanitary sewer backup by raising the elevation of a home’s waste pipe where it exits the house. The basement’s plumbing would then drain to an ejector pump that discharges to the waste pipe. See Page 2 of the Flood Rebate Program for a diagram.


10. My back yard has standing water. What can I do to get rid of the water and prevent it from happening again?

Homeowners have installed rain gardens, dry wells, minor grading, and storm sewer extensions to the local public storm sewer to alleviate intermittent ponding in the yard. Of course, the effectiveness of these preventative measures depending on the extent of the standing water.

See my post from May 2019 below for additional links on how you can DIY a back yard ponding solution. Please be safe!

3rd Ward Meetings Suspended and Other News

April 1, 2020

As is required by Governor Pritzker's order to stay home during this time of COVID-19, I have suspended our 3rd Ward meetings until we are clear to gather again. Please reach out by email at drodd@desplaines.org or phone at 847-514-6318. You can also follow the 3rd Ward Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DP3rdWard and website blog at www.3rdWard.org.

City of Des Plaines Updates

> Get updates on COVID-19 and other important news at www.DesPlaines.org and sign up for email alerts for News and Announcements.

> The Cook County Department of Public Health has an online dashboard with real-time data on reported COVID-19 cases in the county. Click the Map tab to view specific municipality statistics. Visit the Cook County Department of Public Health

City Council

The April 6th City Council meeting has been canceled. The April 20th City Council meeting will be held by video conference to comply with the Governor's directive on public gatherings. Special Illinois Open Meeting Act provisions will be in place in order to allow officials to attend and to make the meeting public. Specific details will be posted on the City's website.

Fire and Police

Fire and Police Department personnel are practicing safe distancing with each other, rotating shifts and isolating between buildings. They limit exposure to the public by reserving contact to emergencies only.

Public Works

Personnel are also on a rotating schedule, and the water plant is staffed 24/7 with a modified shift schedule.

City Hall

City staff members are committed to public service and keep City services running with rotating schedules in the building and working from home. The building remains closed to the public; however, business can be conducted by phone, email and case-by-case appointments as needed.

Financial Status

City Manager, Mike Bartholomew, and Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Dorothy Wisniewski, have instituted policies that protect the City from the financial impact of the pandemic:

  • Hiring freeze

  • Non-essential budget expenditures are on hold

  • Non-essential capital projects are on hold including the theater renovation

With the uncertainty of revenue streams from the State and County, Mike and Dorothy are taking the most careful and prudent measures to stabilize the City's financial health.

A Word About Social Media

As a communications professional, I am a firm believer in the power of social media to keep people connected with each other. Without it, I wouldn't be able to send out important messages from the medical association I work for during this critical time. I wouldn't be able to keep tabs on family and friends around the world. And I wouldn't be able to share lighter moments like a neighborhood birthday parade to spread some positive energy.

What concerns me about social media is its use to create private "neighborhood" groups that gives followers a false sense of proactivity. I have seen these groups started with good intention and devolve into hollow echo chambers. Complaints and serious concerns about neighborhood and community issues bounce off the proverbial walls without going anywhere.

True neighbor-to-neighbor communication takes place through direct contact. We are realizing how much we miss this during social distancing. While we are limited with face-to-face interaction at this time, please make the effort to leave these neighborhood social media vacuums and either pick up the phone or send a direct message to connect with each other from time to time.

This is especially important when there is an issue that must be brought to the attention of the Mayor and Aldermen who are also your neighbors. We are here, and we are listening, but we can't respond if you're not speaking directly to us.

The Mayor and Aldermen are available by email and phone. Please reach out to them directly when you have a question or suggestion. Contact info can be found on the City's website here.

Staying Home Together

March 22, 2020

With the statewide Stay at Home order in place that essentially isolates us from each other, the irony is that we're all in this together. Whether you're working from home, homeschooling or taking on home projects that you've put off for a while, please know that you're doing this for the health of our community. It's not often - if ever - that we're called to some level of public service, but now is the time for each one of us.

Putting a pause on daily routines is certainly disruptive. Some of us are likely alone at home. Some of us can't work from home and will lose jobs. Some of us will get sick. Please know that the services available for help are still there - just in a different form.

City Services

While public buildings are closed - City Hall, Public Works and sections of the Police and Fire Departments - personnel are still at work. The City is asking that residents and businesses conduct City business online, by phone or by email.

For emergencies, continue to call 9-1-1. For non-emergency issues like local ordinance violations, please call the Police Department at 847-391-5400. Our public safety personnel are at the highest risk for exposure to COVID-19 and we want to minimize their contact with the public as much as possible.

Visit the www.DesPlaines.org for the latest updates and to sign up for email alerts.

Doctor's Appointments

If you have an appointment with a health care professional or need to see one, you've probably already heard from their office. Call first and see what options for telehealth are in place. National rules for virtual face-to-face applications have been relaxed during this time, and you might be able to get the help you need without leaving home.

State Resources

The State of Illinois has a COVID-19 resource website that is updated daily. Visit the FAQ section for information about assistance for business, education and unimployment insurance.

Food Assistance

High School district 207 has partnered with elementary school districts to provide meals for students, families and staff members in the greatest need. If you need assistance, call 847-696-3600. If you would like to donate to this effort, visit the COVID-19 Food Drive website

The Self-Help Closet and Pantry of Des Plaines is still serving Des Plaines clients with some adjustments. Food only, no clothing, is distributed at the regular hours. The Pantry may switch to a curbside pick-up option soon. They are asking that if you would like to donate,monetary donations are the most flexible at this time so the Pantry can purchase the basic, nutritional foods. Donations of in-date, non-perishable food is always welcome; however, they cannot accept donations of clothing at this time. Visit SelfHelpPantry.org for details.

Check On Each Other

Even if you aren't seeing your neighbors, a call or text to check in, especially on older residents, is still a good way to look out for each other.

Thacker/Dempster Construction Plan Goes On

April 1, 2020

Resurfacing of Thacker/Dempster Street from Wolf Road west to Elmhurst Road will begin on April 6, 2020 weather permitting. This is a Cook County Department of Transportation project which consists of full depth patching of sections of the existing concrete pavement; diamond grinding and then overlay of the entire road with a new asphalt surface. Also, consistent with their regional practice for their roadways of this width, they will be restriping the road to be four lanes with a center turn lane versus the existing four overly-wide lanes with narrow median. This new cross-section should actually help temper speeds and reduce any rear end turning crashes.

The County will also be adding a pedestrian refuge to assist the crossing guard at the intersection with Westgate Rd. for Terrace School students.

Road construction is an essential business as designated by the Governor.

Apply for Back Yard Hen Permits at City Hall

March 1, 2020

Starting on March 2, 2020, you can apply for a back yard hen permit by going to the 3rd floor of City Hall at 1420 Miner Street from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Be sure to bring a copy of your plat of survey with a sketch of where the coop will go. Learn more and download the permit online.

Also, review the Fact vs. Fiction: Common Concerns About Hens document presented at the December 2nd City Council meeting here.

Des Plaines Theatre: Update at the Next Third Ward Meeting

November 29, 2019

The next Third Ward meeting takes place on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Prairie Lakes Community Center. We'll talk about what's happening at the Des Plaines Theatre. Take a look at this video for a sneak peek.

Council to Discuss Eliminating Vehicle Sticker Program

November 16, 2019

Vehicle sticker sales generates about $1.2 million in revenue for maintenance of City streets. It also requires a considerable amount of administration and enforcement. Not to mention the frustrating annual chore of sending in payment, waiting in line or waiting for the mail and scraping the old sticker off to put the new one on! If we were to eliminate the program, like many municipalities have, we would have to make up the revenue somewhere else. The cost of street maintenance in Des Plaines is about $3.7 million each year, so vehicle sticker sales account for about a third of that.

Some municipalities such as Schaumburg and Elk Grove Village have increased property tax, food and beverage tax or sales tax in their cities after eliminating their vehicle sticker programs. With the State of Illinois recently passing legislation that allows non-home rule municipalities to collect three cents per gallon of motor fuel tax, this opens up the option to use revenue from gas tax to cover the loss if the vehicle sticker program were eliminated. Since Des Plaines is a home-rule municipality, we would not have to pay an administrative fee to the State if we were to put this tax in place.

Assistant City Manager/Director of Finance, Dorothy Wisniewski, did some number crunching and research on the potential impact to Des Plaines citizens who purchase gas in Des Plaines. Using data that shows the average number of miles driven in the US and the average fuel economy (miles per gallon) of vehicles, if citizens purchased gas in Des Plaines with an additional three cents per gallon, the annual cost would be less than a $30 sticker. The cost would range between $16 and $18 per year. Of course, for those who drive very little or not at all, or who drive fuel-efficient vehicles (hybrid, electric), the motor fuel tax cost would be less than that range or $0.

According to the memo, "Additionally, this revenue is not a direct impact on residents but will also be received from pass through traffic as well as commercial truck traffic and shipping and rideshare services." In other words, not all of the revenue will necessarily come from Des Plaines residents.

City Council will discuss and vote on legislation at the November 18, 2019 Council meeting at City Hall at 7:00 p.m.

Weed or No Weed?

July 14, 2019

As Des Plaines starts discussion of whether or not to allow the use and sale of recreational cannabis after the State law goes into effect on January 1, 2020, I'd like to collect residents' thoughts on this issue. Before you contact me, please read this packet of articles put together by City staff that outlines what has happened in other states. Also included in the packet is an article by the Chicago Tribune that cites a study done by a St. Louis real estate firm that showed cities that allow recreational cannabis dispensaries see an increase in home values:

States that legalize recreational marijuana have seen an immediate uptick in home values even before dispensaries open, according to Clever’s report. The study analyzed housing data from Zillow and controlled for population and initial housing prices. Cities with recreational dispensaries saw home values increase almost $23,000 more over the past five years than cities where pot was illegal. Medical dispensaries did not have the same effect, the study found.

Download the packet here, and email me at drodd@desplaines.org.

To 4th Ward Neighbors: Sign Up for Alderman Zadrozny's Newsletter

June 5, 2019

Hey, 4th Ward neighbors, be sure to click here and sign up for the email newsletter from your new Alderman, Artur Zadrozny!

Re-Think Backyard Flooding

May 7, 2019

If your backyard looked like our backyard last week, then you had a new water feature courtesy of Mother Nature. With the largest amount of rainfall in consecutive days since 2017, Des Plaines wasn't the only community suffering in the wet season. In fact, if it seems like we get more rain than we have in the past, it's not your imagination. According to the US Government's National Climate Assessment study,

Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. The heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent, and the amount of rain falling on the heaviest rain days has also increased. Since 1991, the amount of rain falling in very heavy precipitation events has been significantly above average. This increase has been greatest in the Northeast, Midwest, and upper Great Plains - more than 30% above the 1901-1960 average. There has also been an increase in flooding events in the Midwest and Northeast, where the largest increases in heavy rain amounts have occurred.

In the past, we used to think diverting the water into the storm sewer system was the best solution; however, that is no longer the case. As we have come to learn, putting more water into an already-stressed system, no matter how large we make it, causes problems for our neighbors downstream. The Des Plaines River is the end point of the watershed for most of the City. People who live along the length of the River, not just in Des Plaines, are seeing their homes threatened and even demolished because of the effects of flooding.

So what are we supposed to do? Depending on how long your backyard "ponds" stick around, there are DIY solutions and more-involved solutions that landscapers and landscape architects can design and install. These can be simply building a rain garden or having a French drain system installed. Any of these solutions will add value to your home. One of the best articles I've seen on this topic is in Family Handyman, "How to Achieve Better Yard Drainage," which details real solutions to managing the rain water falling and ponding in your backyard (rain water is better for your grass and plants too than the fluoride-treated water from the faucet).

The point is to think of backyard flooding as water that can be dispersed on your own property without pushing it off to your neighbor's next door or your neighbor's downstream. As we learn to deal with increasing heavy downpours as the new norm, we can do something ourselves to manage the water collecting in our yards.

If you have pictures of water runoff solutions in your backyards, I would love to see them! Post to www.Facebook.com/DP3rdWard.

Click here for the Family Handyman article.

Click here for the National Climate Assessment.

The new Des Plaines Comprehensive Plan contains a section on the City's policy directive for managing backyard flooding.

Des Plaines Hiring Crossing Guards

December 29, 2018

The Des Plaines Police Department is currently accepting applications for school Crossing Guards (and Substitute Crossing Guards) to work 1-3 hours a day, Monday through Friday, as needed. Crossing Guards prepare crossing zones, assist children in crossing streets safely, and acts as a liaison for the Police Department with students, parents, and school personnel. This is a seasonal position that pays $15.00 per hour. Please apply online at: www.desplaines.org/Jobs

What's in store for DP's future? Read the 2022 Strategic Plan

February 4, 2018

I'm proud to introduce the new Strategic Plan that carries Des Plaines into 2022.

"The City of Des Plaines introduces its Strategic Plan for 2022, a new and dynamic roadmap toward an even more exciting future. As we honor Des Plaines’ 182 year history and all of the contributions made by its residents, businesses and community leaders, we build on past and recent achievements to take our City to the next level. The City of Des Plaines remains committed to utilizing the most progressive, sustainable and efficient service delivery and partnering to create a high quality of life with those that choose to call Des Plaines home."

Download the 10-page plan here to view details of the policy direction the Council plans to take.

New website for Pantry!

January 7, 2018

Visit the newly redesigned website for the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines by clicking here.

The Pantry has been serving Des Plaines residents since 1971. Visit the website to learn of donation hours and urgent needs, client hours and registration info, and more.

2018 Ward Meeting Schedule

December 26, 2017

The Third Ward meetings will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Prairie Lakes Community Center on the following dates unless otherwise noted:

February 14

April 11

June 13

August 8

October 10

December 12

Council to discuss back yard hens

July 31, 2017

The discussion of whether to change the ordinance to allow back yard hens in Des Plaines will take place at the City Council meeting on Monday, August 7, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Experts Ed Fuhrman and Jennifer Murtoff will be at the meeting to provide facts, dispel myths and answer questions.

Mr. Furhman is a Technical Trainer at Great Lakes Naval Air Station and founder of Chicago Land Urban Chicken Keepers - Round Lake Area. He is a long-time area advocate for sustainability and self-sufficiency and has lectured extensively on the topic of back yard hens in urban environments.

Jennifer Murtoff is a consultant for homeowners and organizations interested in setting up and maintaining back yard hens. She has worked with Heartland Housing, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, Sunrise Lake Outdoor Education Center, and the Oscar Mayer Magnet School. She has taught classes and served as a guest speaker at local conservatories and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Public comment is encouraged. If there is consensus from Council to allow back yard hens, they will direct staff to draft an ordinance to be presented for a vote at the August 21 Council Meeting.

Update on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

View the agenda packet for Monday's meeting to read the background material on the issue including the ordinances in place in other municipalities.

Update on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Discussion Continues on August 21, 2017. Download the packet item for educational materials and a proposed pilot program.

Update on Monday, September 18, 2017

Council voted tonight (7-1) to deny the ordinance that would have permitted the keeping of back yard hens in Des Plaines. Mine was the sole vote to not deny the ordinance. I will bring this before Council again in 2019 when new Council members will be seated, and if it looks like we may have a favorable outcome.

Petition to allow back yard hens in Des Plaines

June 17, 2017

The Des Plaines Illinois - Chicago Land Urban Chicken Keepers (CLUCK)group of Des Plaines residents has created an online petition for residents to sign to show their support to change the City code to allow the keeping of hens in back yards. Sign the petition!

As we prepare to bring this topic up for discussion during a future Building Code Code Committee meeting, having signatures from residents all around Des Plaines will add strength to the case to change the Code.

What to do with old campaign signs

April 4, 2017

Check out this article, "7 Ways to Re-use those Old Campaign Signs," for ideas like:

  • Birdhouse

  • Sled

  • Chair

  • Painted white for new sign

  • Recycle

Let's talk water reclamation

March 8, 2017

  • When we get sudden, extreme rain events, the Des Plaines River has the potential to flood. With much of the City's storm sewer infrastructure a century old, we must contend with the challenges Mother Nature gives us.

While the City budgets each year for storm sewer replacement and road improvements (such as River Road) to mitigate flooding, what else is being done? Our guest at the next 3rd Ward meeting is Commissioner Josina Morita of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board (MWRD). She can update us on what the MWRD is doing with our tax dollars for stormwater management and what policies are in place that affect Des Plaines.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

7:00 p.m.

Prairie Lakes Community Center

515 E. Thacker St.

Meeting Room 2 (northeast wing)

Everyone is welcome, and please bring a friend.

Blue Sky development going to zoning board

February 16, 2017

The public meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) where the request for a zoning map change from the Blue Sky developers will be heard on Tuesday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. The agenda can be downloaded from here:


This is a proposed multi-family development for independent individuals over the age of 65 to be built on North Avenue between Second and Third Avenues. The acreage is currently occupied by the now shuttered Era Tool plant located behind the single-family homes adjacent to the railroad tracks.

Citizens are welcome to attend and to address the PZB at the podium with their thoughts on the issue.

Next 3rd Ward meeting: Improved sidewalk and curb design around Hoffman Park

February 5, 2017

Winter will soon give way to construction season in Des Plaines. West Villa Drive in the Villas neighborhood is scheduled for reconstruction from Southeast Place to Northwest Place. As part of this work, an improved design of the curbs and sidewalks on Hoffman Parkway around the circular Hoffman Park will be implemented for the safety of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Our guest, Derek Peebles, Civil Engineer with the City of Des Plaines will explain the research that went into the new design and what this work will entail. Please come:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

7:00 p.m.

Prairie Lakes Community Center

515 E. Thacker St.

Prairie Room

Even if you don't live near Hoffman Park, come to hear Derek speak as he gives a very interesting and inside look into what goes into the engineering of roadway projects within the City of Des Plaines.

Desparately seeking Lustron!

December 27, 2016

I'm working on a project with the Des Plaines History Center on the Lustron homes in Des Plaines. If you or someone you know is living in one, please have them contact me at denise@3rdWard.org. I need photos!