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Hosey: Time to drag away uncooperative Elwood

To the delight of Congressman Bobby Rush, a Will County judge tossed a lawsuit brought in hopes of stopping NorthPoint Development from constructing an enormous industrial development.

“This is exhilarating news, and it only confirms what many elected officials — including Senator Durbin, Senator Duckworth, and myself — have said all along, that this lawsuit was specious at best and dilatory at worst,” Rush crowed, sort of.

Rush actually made that statement in an email attributed to him and sent by one of his PR people, so who knows if he really said it or not. But either way, Rush certainly sounds happy, exhilarated even, about NorthPoint clearing a courthouse hurdle and coming one step closer to flooding the region with semitrailers and warehouses, regardless of how his constituents in Elwood feel about it.

Rush’s constituents in Elwood, for their part, don’t seem particularly hot on the idea. In fact, you might even say there is a general antipathy among the people of Elwood when it comes to the prospect of an obscenely gigantic industrial development in their midst, and that may prove to be a problem for NorthPoint.

NorthPoint Development intends to build a gateway bridge over Route 53 in Elwood to ensure that semitrailers only enter the proposed Compass Business Park one way.

NorthPoint Development intends to build a gateway bridge over Route 53 in Elwood to ensure that semitrailers only enter the proposed Compass Business Park one way. (Image provided/)

The thing is, the city of Joliet made the construction of a bridge over Route 53 a condition for the project. NorthPoint needs just a small piece of Elwood to make this bridge happen and Elwood’s leaders, for some reason, won’t give it up.

Rush urged Gov. Pritzker to take that tiny bit of Elwood away and give it to NorthPoint, but the governor hasn’t gone for it, which is unacceptable.

If the governor won’t step up to the plate and make Elwood fall in line, then it’s up to someone else to take charge and get this done. Someone bold and decisive. Someone like Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

O’Dekirk, a cheerleader for the NorthPoint project, lauded the members of the city council who voted to annex 1,263 acres for the industrial park, saying, “You stood tall for the people of Joliet and you made the right decision.”

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk (Geoff Stellfox – gstellfox@shawmedia.com/)

Yes, they stood tall, and now it’s time for O’Dekirk to stand tall, to put on a black tracksuit and Joliet Police Department-issued baseball cap and march down to Elwood with maybe a dozen or so police officers at his back, in case he needs a hand.

Once he gets to Elwood, O’Dekirk can order Village President Doug Jenco to surrender the strip of land NorthPoint needs. If Jenco doesn’t do as he’s told, what choice does O’Dekirk have but to grab him by the collar and haul him away?

You might think grabbing another man by the collar and dragging him off just because he doesn’t do what he’s told would be against the law, but you would be wrong. At least around here while Jim Glasgow’s still the Will County State’s Attorney.

Glasgow’s already shown he doesn’t have the nerve to do anything one way or the other when it comes to something like this, so it would undoubtedly end up in the hands of a special prosecutor, perhaps one like Special Bill Elward

Special prosecutor Bill Elward

Special prosecutor Bill Elward (Kevin Schmidt/)

Elward previously weighed in on a similar matter and explained that while he doesn’t “condone” such behavior, he also doesn’t consider it criminal.

That’s got to count as legal precedent, putting the law squarely on Joliet’s side as far as this goes, and putting Jenco and the rest of Elwood on notice that it’s time to do as they’re told.

• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at jhosey@shawmedia.com or on Twitter @JoeHosey.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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