New and Returning Orland Park Trustees Sworn In
Orland Park trustees swore to uphold state and federal constitutions Monday night. Now they have to follow through.
Six newly sworn-in trustees from Orland Park have different plans for their village, ranging from roadwork, to better reading habits, to an improved downtown.
“We're going to run on the idea that there are good things going on in Orland Park,” said Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, soon after he administered their oaths. “We're going to keep the ball rolling.”
Re-elected board trustee Edward Schussler ran on a slate with the other winning candidates, incumbent Patricia Gira and newcomer Carole Ruzich. Schussler said the April 5 election was won in a grassroots way.
“I credit my win to knocking on a lot of doors,” Schussler said. “We need a little more community [involvement], and we have to let people know what we're doing and why we're doing it.”
Since 1972, he said, Orland Park has grown from a population of 7,000 to 57,000 people. And as the population continues to grow, traffic hasn't gotten any better.
That's why the widening of Lagrange Road and 143rd Street, one of the larger projects the village has undertaken, is higher up on the village's list, he said.
“It's a top priority,” Schussler said. “We don't want to be stuck in the mud.”
Schussler said he'll also continue to direct attention to the Main Street Triangle – Orland Park's bid to create a walkable city center around the train station on LaGrange Road and 143rd Street.
“It's the biggest [issue] everyone on the board is in favor of,” he said. “We want to get the lawsuit settled and the developer signed up.”
Newly elected library board trustees Denis Ryan, Nancy Wendt Healy and Julie Ann Craig from the were also sworn in.
“I'd like to continue the book mobile program,” Ryan said, when asked about his goals as a trustee. “It's very popular for kids who can't get to the library.”
Ryan, who reads two to three books of historical signifcance a week, said the library doesn't have many problems, but that he'd like to focus more on veteran affairs.
“I'm not sure how it would fit,” he added, “but it's something I've been thinking about.”
Craig, who's more of a John Grisham fan, said she's on the library board “out of the kindest of her heart,” and that taking the oath last night was an honor.
“The new library is beautiful,” Craig said. “It can help people in a lot of ways. They can study in peace, come in and fill out job applications and get access to just about anything they want.”
The finance committee recommended adding $300,000 to the 2011 budget, and the board will vote on the addition on May 16. Roughly $242,000 of those funds, if approved, will pay for two four-by-four pickup trucks and one cargo van, and the remaining $58,000 would go to federally-mandated pool maintainance.
Public Works Director Edward Wilmes said the village could have used two of the vehicles February 2, the day of the 2011 snowstorm, because they have special lights and decals that make them more visible.