By Bill Gantz

Staff Reporter


 30 years ago it was the site of a busy gas station.  After it closed some time in the late 1980’s it turned into a messy, weed covered and gravel strewn neighborhood eye sore that sat and sat.    For all that time the weeds and gravel covered over the hitch for the unsightly parcel.  Last fall Ed Rusch Jr. a village of Justice trustee began asking questions about the hold the village was facing cleaning up the space.  Providing expertise and background on the case was the Justice Director of Building Department who also serves as the Justice Service Administrator.  Recently the abandoned lot at the corner of Archer road and 86th avenue, has now been environmentally cleaned up and three underground storagetanks have been removed.  This vacant land can now be put to use.

  Through the years money had been sought to pay for the expensive clean up of the lot.  Village attention shifted last year to finishing up the work.  Justice was trying to pay the majority of the cost through the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust fund overseen by the Illinois EPA  and Illinois State Fire Marshall.  According to the service administrator, there was an inability to get the money because the date of the old station closing was out of the time period needed to be eligible for a (LUST) Fund payout.  According to the Justice administrator the Illinois State Fire Marshall, who issues the state permits, stated to village officials that he believed the date of 1975 was the time of the closing and any date on or before that made the application invalid.  However village trustee Sue Small came forward with personal knowledge of  the time the gas station was operating.  She stated to the village board  that in 1978 she had lived in an apartment near the gas station and had been a customer there.  It was her first apartment right out of high school, she said.  Trustee Hank Oszakiewski followed with accounts of  being at the station in the late 1970’s as well.  The oral testimony was just enough information to help clear up confusion and allow for the service administrator to inform the fire Marshall and  convince the administrator to award the funds and complete the project.

  The village of Justice was required to pay a deductible amount of $7,500 to receive the money.  Total cost of the clean up was pegged at approximately $75,000.

  The cleanup of this site is a first stage of a plan to that area of town.  The village was awarded  and has been appropriated $1.6 million from the state of Illinois.  That money will be used to rebuild the Northern part of 86th avenue, 73rd place, 85th avenue and 85th court.   The plan calls for removing the Archer/86th avenue  intersection and having 86th end at 75th street.  75th will be extended to meet Archer and turn so as to be perpendicular to it.  A new space will be created from the change of direction left over from that move and it will be combined with the cleaned up lot.  Plans call for the new parcel to be given to Indian Springs School District 109 where a much needed parking lot will be built so as to mitigate parking congestion.  The new format will provide safer accessibility to Brodnicki School as there will no longer be a busy intersection for children to cross over.  The start of this phase will begin once the State of Illinois completes a $1.3 billion infrastructure bond sale the Governor expects will happen soon.