A sore point comes up in Darien’s debate on the traffic light

DARIEN, IL – Two Darien city councilors on Monday called for action to reduce the number of crashes at an intersection. In advancing their arguments, one of them brought up a sensitive point concerning a loan to a country club a few years ago.

At a city council meeting, Ward 4 alderman Tom Chlystek said he supported the decision to put a traffic light on Clarendon Hills Road and 67th Street. The intersection has stop signs at 67th, but not at Clarendon Hills Road.

In early November, Ward 2 Alderman Lester Vaughan, who represents the area in question, requested a four-lane stop, noting the cost of a traffic light.

At Monday’s meeting, Vaughan said another crash happened on Sunday afternoon with a woman’s car hitting a pole. He thanked Chlystek for his support for the improvements.

“Having your support as a council would be very important for this intersection, so hopefully we can budget it and really alleviate the whole situation,” Vaughan said. “Not that it will prevent all accidents, but anything we can do to improve it, I think we should do.”

Asked about the cost of a traffic light, Dan Gombac, director of municipal services for the city, replied that it would cost around $ 350,000.

That’s when Vaughan brought up the country club loan.

“If we can give Carriage Greens $ 366,000, we can fund a lamppost or stop sign at that intersection. Point blank,” Vaughan said. “We wrote them a blank check. Why ? “

Treasurer Michael Coren opposed it.

“I’m sorry, Councilor Vaughan, I can’t let you make a statement like this,” Coren said. “We gave them $ 366,000, but it’s a loan that they’re paying off with some accelerated extra income that we get from there, so it’s not just about giving money… They’ve got got the money, but it’s a loan, and they’ve already started paying it off. “

“I respect that,” Vaughan said, “but we wrote them a check.”

Chlystek added: “It doesn’t save any life, so that’s a point.”

In the fall of 2019, the city presented the loan as an incentive for economic development.

At the time, council split 3-3 on the package, with Mayor Joseph Marchese breaking the tie in his favor.

Vaughan and Chlystek both voted against the incitement.

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