About 60 people turned out Monday evening for the La Grange Park State of the Village event at Posto 31 Restaurant on 31st Street.
The theme of this year’s presentation, the fourteenth, is that the state of the village is busy.
“This event tonight only highlights what we have accomplished over the past year and I think our residents will be amazed at the amount we have accomplished and the projects we are pursuing in 2024 will also be highlighted. value tonight,” the president said. James Discipio said before the night began.
He noted specific projects that were completed in 2023, such as the opening of the Arboretum Villas at Plymouth Place and the Aldi store at nearby Plymouth Place. (scheduled to open this spring)
“Both of these projects took a lot of staff time to complete,” Discipio said. “We’re going to do streetscape improvements on La Grange Road, where we’re going to improve La Grange Road, and next year we’re going to do 31st Street.”
Several village officials were in attendance, including Village Trustees Robert Lautner, Karen Koncel, Mike Sheehan, Jamie Zaura and Joe Caputo, as well as Illinois State Rep. La Shawn Ford, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Illinois Chris Welch and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Department heads Rick Radde (Public Works), Tim Contois (Police Chief), Dean Maggos (Fire Chief) mingled with the crowd, along with Village Manager Julia Cedillo and Deputy Village Clerk Sandy Bakalich .
Assistant Village Manager Maggie Jarr organized the event and served as emcee for the evening.
Posto 31 handed out pizzas and other snacks to the crowd of guests just as the highlight of the event began, a half-hour film showing village officials describing projects completed or in progress. start-up over the past year.
Discipio introduced the film from a balcony on Plymouth Place, and Jarr began by talking about several developments, including Andy’s Frozen Custard in the Village Market shopping center, on the site of the former Original Pancake House, which had been vacant for several years. She also highlighted other developments, including the Arboretum Villas and the Kensington Place housing development, former site of the American Nuclear Society. The first house at Kensington Place was opened last year.
Jarr went on to say that the village completed work on the Village Market Streetscape Improvement Plan in early 2023, the project designed to improve the stretch of La Grange Road along the Village Market that serves entrance to the village.
“The Village is also advocating a reduction in the speed limit along La Grange Road in this area,” she said.
Police Chief Contois spoke of the return to full staffing of his department with the hiring of five new police officers. He credited the entire staff for the department “carefully reviewing and streamlining our recruiting process.”
Fired Chief Maggos also talked about recruitment, noting that for the first time, La Grange Park’s paid child care service has expanded its residency boundaries to certain areas outside of the village. He also noted that the department conducted valuable search and rescue training before the demolition, making way for Aldi.
“It’s rare to get training opportunities like this in commercial buildings,” he said.
The entire film can be viewed on the Village of La Grange Park YouTube channel.
Julia Cedillo said the evening was an opportunity for residents to not only look at what happened last year, but also get a sense of what was to come in the future.
“The focus on people, whether it’s making changes to better serve our residents or ensuring we have the capacity we need to deliver services more efficiently,” said -she declared, has been the key to understanding the past year.
Cedillo echoed Discipio’s comments on the number of accomplishments in 2023, saying, “We just finished our busiest year ever in the village.”
Trustee Mike Sheehan acknowledged that the Village has seen notable successes over the past year, but cautioned that challenges remain.
“I think in a few months, with Aldi opening, it will be great,” he said, “and I think we lay a good foundation for (replacing) the lead service lines at the ‘future. From what I’ve heard, we are further along than some other villages. It’s not one of those things where we can look back later.
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