Board welcomes OTB with two dissenting votes

Trustees Zeldenrust and Abbasy vote ‘Nay’ for different reasons

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (July 18, 2019) – On the second page of a three-page Board meeting agenda, in a list of nine items presented for vote by Trustee Mike Fish, Chair of Economic Development, were two items that did not receive unanimous approval.

Gambling

“Resolution # 1113, expressing support of Hawthorne Racecourse Inc.’s plans to operate within the village” was Item 4 that Trustee Fish made a motion to approve. Hawthorne/Voska Ventures LLC had attended last month’s Committee of the Whole meeting to request a full liquor license for a new business at 2 River Place, Unit G. A large bar will be the focus of the new business, and it will be surrounded by booths and carrels equipped with monitors on which sporting events and track races could be broadcast and bet on from around the world. (See June 20 article.)

Trustee Brian Hardy seconded Fish’s motion. As is customary, Mayor Patty Eidam asked if there were any questions or discussion before calling for the vote.

“Mayor, I’d like to make a comment if I could,” said Trustee Jerry Zeldenrust. With the Mayor’s assent, he read a prepared statement:

“I preface my comments with an idea that came from our ‘Meet the candidates’ event at the library earlier this year. After the formal portion of the night, a resident asked why the Trustees don’t talk much [at Board meetings] about why they are voting for or against a motion. It seemed to this resident that it would be helpful to know the logic that goes into the voting.

“I agree, and I want our residents to know that one of the best things about being up here on this Board in this town is the mutual respect that we all have for one another. We can agree to disagree, and we still are respecting each other’s point of view after the voting. In fact, we are encouraged to do our homework and vote our consciences.

“I’m gonna be blunt–I am not a fan of gambling, and I don’t believe it adds to the quality of life here in Lansing. Others have made their feelings known to me as well. When I think of things I want to tell people I am proud of in Lansing, I mention our schools, our parks, Fox Pointe, the Historic Ford Hanger, our neighborhoods, our churches, and the events such as Cruise Night. These things are all about family and family values and safe, fun things to do.

“Permitting a gambling location with a full bar and bar food in a strip mall on the north end of town is not something I would be proud of in our town.

“There is a reason the casino commercials have a tagline about who to call if you get addicted to gambling–it appeals to people who may have a weakness in this area. And that concerns me. We work hard to limit the rising costs of living here in our village for the sake of our young families who often struggle to make ends meet. I don’t think it is wise to put a temptation or stumbling block out there for them.

“This, like all businesses, is in business to make a profit. I have no doubt that in order to highlight this new location, advertisements and billboards will be used to showcase it. I’m assuming so. I hoped we would one day have a billboard along I-80 to highlight the positive attributes of our town, but I fear that alerting travelers to the Lansing area, that we are now the new home of an off track betting location will cause the wholesome, family-minded folks to pass us by. And that concerns me.”

No other comments were made, and then the vote was called:

  • Trustee Mike Fish: Aye
  • Trustee Brian Hardy: Aye
  • Trustee Jerry Zeldenrust: Nay
  • Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich: Aye
  • Trustee Saad Abbasy: No
  • Trustee Mike Manno: Aye

Liquor

The next motion made by Trustee Fish was to approve Ordinance # 19-024, amending Article II of Chapter 8 of the Village Municipal Code issuing a Class 1 liquor license to Voska Ventures, LLC. 
Hardy seconded. There were no questions or discussion, and the vote proceeded, this time with only one dissent:

  • Trustee Mike Fish: Aye
  • Trustee Brian Hardy: Aye
  • Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich: Aye
  • Trustee Jerry Zeldenrust: Nay
  • Trustee Saad Abbasy: Aye
  • Trustee Mike Manno: Aye

The Board meeting continued, and a variety of other reports were given and votes were taken. Toward the end of the meeting, under Old Business, Trustee Abbasy circled back to his previous vote and offered this explanation:

“Just wanted to briefly let you know, and even communicate out to the OTB owners and operators that I’m not necessarily opposed to the operation of an OTB within our community. My concern with the plan as presented was that as it was presented was something that I was uncomfortable with and was not what I was originally made to come on board with. So I just wanted to make it clear that my concern with the OTB was not with the OTB, but the plans for the current restaurant as it was. I just wanted to clarify [that] a little bit.”

The Off Track Betting business by Hawthorne Race Course Inc. will open at 2 River Place, Unit G, a few doors down from Ron’s Reels Slots & Poker, which requested and was granted a liquor license in August of 2017.

Related:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this news:

5 thoughts on “Board welcomes OTB with two dissenting votes”

  1. I’M PROUD TO KNOW THAT SOME TRUSTEES ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH FAMILY VALUES INSTEAD OF REVENUE FOR THE VILLAGE.

    I APPLAUDED TRUSTEE JERRY ZELDENRUST FOR TAKING A STAND FOR WHAT MAKES THIS TOWN THE REASONS WE DECIDED TO MOVE HERE, AND NOT TO FILL THE POCKETS OF GREEDY POLITICIANS WHO FAIL TO REMEMBER WHAT OUR VALUES AS RESIDENTS STANDS FOR.

  2. I am a former Lansing resident but still with deep roots and a fondness of the community I grew up in.
    I also enjoy horse racing and have been to several OTBs
    This location is destined to fail and wasnt given much thought by the board.
    The first reason it will fail is the location, tucked away in a small little spot off Torrence.
    The second reason it will fail is there will be a new horse track built in Tinley Park, horse bettors will prefer to go there instead of a small cramped OTB.
    The third reason is a new south suburban casino will be built.
    The board was sold a bunch of garbage comparing the OTB in Mokena with what this OTB will be like.
    Total different demographics and clientele comparing Lansing to Mokena.
    Very sad the board did not do their homework.

  3. Does this mean we will have a marijuana dispensary in Lansing, also? That brings a lot of revenue.

  4. I agree with trustee Zeldenrust , this is not what Lansing needs.chance and luck should never replace hard work . This just preys on the citizens. The “ I know my next bet I win will solve everything “ is just chasing the wind.

  5. Remember this people when you vote for the new Mayer et al in the next election. Keep Zeldenrust and Abbasy and vote out the rest. It is obvious the rest do not have our best interest at heart. You can bet on that!

Comments are closed.