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August 29, 2003

A Filled Room Attends the Meeting Concerning Mohr 
Oak Park Journal photo

Oak Park Village Attorney Ray Heise and Village Manager
Carl Swenson Listen to the Residents Concerns.
Oak Park Journal photo

Mohr Cement vs. the Residents, a meeting
with Mohr to follow..
by Ed Vincent

The meeting began on time and with a full room of citizens.  One
of the early questions posed by a resident was; "How can we minimize the dust that comes from Mohr's cement?"  It was noted by other residents surrounding the Mohr Cement Company, that the dust was all over their properties. 

Mohr Cement, as Viewed from the expanded area
across the street.
Oak Park Journal photo

The American Flag and the Ever Present Santa
Claus and Christmas Tree.
Oak Park Journal photo

Village Attorney Mr. Ray Heise noted that Mohr did install a wheel washing system on the trucks that will greatly reduce the dust carried by the trucks. It was noted by Mr. Heise that the wheel cleaning system is not currently operating.  The belief was that the system would be operational soon.

Mr. Heise also noted that "the Village is actually exacerbating the 
issue since the town is having work done on the street (Lexington) and preventing some of the new changes from taking place.  Mr. Heise also noted that the large 18 wheelers are not allowed in the neighborhood and should only use Garfield when going to the expressway. 

The Grit leading to and from the Cement plant.
Oak Park Journal photo
When we examined the streets later, and the following day we found most of the tracks did not enter the surrounding streets and appeared to be most often using Garfield. 

Another resident was bothered by the noise from trucks beeping when they back up.  There were a number of residents who are retired and are subjected to the sirens all day long.  Since  it is a State law to have backing warning devices on all trucks,the noise can not be reduced.  It was suggested that the trucks enter without having todo as much backing up. The Village noted that it would look into the matter.

Mohr Cement will start work before 7:00 a.m., which is a normal business activity, even though it is ahead of normal business hours allowed in the Village.  Mohr will not be allowed to jack hammer cement out of the trucks before 7:00 a.m., which the company had been doing to the objections of the residents.  A neighbor asked if there was any litigation going on between the Village and Mohr. 

Village Attorney Mr. Ray Heise commented that there was no current litigation going on between the Village and Mohr. 

Concerns about children's hearing was raised by retired engineer Nicholas Spelson, who lives at 916 South Maple.  He said that he was wearing hearing aids in each of his ears at a cost of $4000.00, and he was concerned about the hearing of young children. 

Some residents were quite irate about no parking signs for the trucks and not having them being enforced by the Village.  It was also mentioned that in the areas prohibiting parking during the week before 10:00 a.m., that little or nothing was being done to enforce those laws being broken. 

This Vehicle has Grit All Over its Hood.  This could
Turn Out to Be a Concern for the New Volvo Dealership
that is to built across the Street from this Vehicle.
Oak Park Journal photo
A complaint noted numerous times involved the cement grit residue that was found all over the streets and into the homes of the neighbors.  Sometimes it was felt that the street sweeper even made the situation worse by putting more of the grit into the air.  It was noted that the Street sweepers that did not have adequate water being put on the street prior to sweeping and that this was something that was being adjusted by the Village.

A resident asked who was going to check on the noise levels with the Cook County or State regulatory agencies (OSHA a federal agency might also be called)?  Carl Swenson responded by saying;"I'll take responsibility to see that it's done" 

The Expanded Mohr Cement Area now Reaches
Further Into the Residents Block
Oak Park Journal photo
A neighbor asked; "When Mohr expanded why didn't the Village see to it that there was increased parking provided without causing more trouble to the neighbors ?" It was noted that it would be looked into.  There was also the question of missing work permits that perhaps should have been acquired before the large blocks of poured concrete were put into place surrounding the expanded area that Mohr had
purchased.  It was noted by the Village representatives that the matter of both structural integrity and permits was being looked into.

Notes are taken concerning residents issues.
Oak Park Journal photo

A person living next to the concrete wall had complaints about reoccurring graffiti being placed on the walls surrounding the Mohr property. Police informed the residents that the tagging of the area was not the mark of any gang, but rather kids who thought they were being artistic. 

Yellow Concrete Walls are used often for
Graffiti and being repainted many times.
Oak Park Journal photo
A young female resident added that she feels a lot of residents have had their property values stolen from them (based upon the 
expanded area of Mohr Cement and the general conditions).

It was noted that Mohr Cement has been in Oak Park some 110 years, and in that time there have been many times that issues have been raised over the appearance and neighborliness of the Mohr family to the residents.  Barbara Otto said; "They thumb their noses at us all the time." This comment was seconded by others in the audience.  The Village said that Mohr Cement has been headed in the right direction and showed signs to the Village that 
they were willing to work the local people and the town.

Oak Park Journal photo
Village Trustees Galen Gockel, Gus Kostopulos and Diana 
Carpenter were present for the meeting.  Ms. Eilene Fein, 
and Ms. Barbara Mullarkey were also at the meeting listening 
to the concerns of neighbors.

A meeting was going to be set for sometime in November with letters going out to people who had signed the sheet at the meeting.

Mohr Cement Company 110 Years in
Oak Park and counting...
Oak Park Journal photo
When we went back to Mohr the next day to take some photos for the story we took all our photos from public property, but we were followed when we finished by a man in a vehicle, and asked a mile from the location if we had taken all the photos that we needed.