By Jennifer Johnson
February 23, 2010

Foreclosures continued to hit Park Ridge in 2009, according to a recently released report that shows an increasing number of properties were taken over by financial institutions last year.

According to the Feb. 10, 2010 report released by the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit financial research and policy organization, there were 202 new Park Ridge foreclosures in 2009, an increase of 47.4 percent from the previous year.

Of the total foreclosures, 125 occurred during the second half of 2009. The previous year, when 137 foreclosures were recorded, 76 took place during the second half of the year.

Since 2005, foreclosures have skyrocketed in Park Ridge, increasing more than 640 percent. Numbers were fairly low during 2005 and 2006, but the rate more than doubled in 2007 when 76 foreclosures were reported. Since that year, foreclosure filings have increased 165.8 percent.

According to the Woodstock Institute report, north and northwest suburban Cook County were among four regions in the Chicago area that saw the most rapid rate of foreclosure growth, with new filings increasing between 40 and 48.5 percent between 2008 and 2009.

A high number of unoccupied, foreclosed homes in Park Ridge has been blamed, in part, for a significant decrease in revenues received from water usage, Park Ridge’s finance director reported late last year. In addition, the city had to take over grass cutting for a number of properties that became vacant in 2009, said Carrie Davis, director of community development.

“With increased foreclosures, there’s always an increase in property maintenance issues and certainly that’s the case here,” Davis said.

Although the city pays to have grass cut on property where it has been neglected, the owner is required to reimburse the city, she said.

Park Ridge Police Cmdr. Lou Jogmen said foreclosed properties in general have not become a target for criminal activity in the city. Crime and property maintenance issues have, however, been an issue at some vacant, but not foreclosed, properties in the city, most notably empty office buildings near Touhy and Washington Avenues.

Park Ridge’s neighbors are also experiencing rising foreclosure rates. In neighboring Niles, 240 foreclosures were recorded last year, an increase of 54.8 percent. Des Plaines, which has experienced a significant growth in new housing in recent years due to downtown redevelopment, experienced 488 foreclosures, an increase of 42.3 percent.

In Chicago’s Edison Park neighborhood, 35 foreclosures were recorded, while 220 occurred in Norwood Park.

Traditionally higher income communities like Glenview, Northbrook and Wilmette — towns to which Park Ridge has often compared itself — have also experienced a steady increase in foreclosed properties in the last four years. In 2009, there were 260 foreclosures in Glenview, 195 in Northbrook and 110 in Wilmette.

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