By Dan Haley
The Oak Park Residence Corporation has hired a new executive director with a background in municipal government and investment banking. Most recently she has worked for a non-profit housing initiative in Chicago.
Maria Saldana, 58, will begin work at the Oak Park not-for-profit by mid-March. She won't have far to come to work as she has been a resident of neighboring Austin for 23 years. And both Saldana and ResCorp board chairman Wayne Pierce said that in the future ResCorp may look to both Austin and Maywood as communities the agency would like to serve.
"The focus will be on Oak Park and then beyond. We have the capacity to grow. But we will need a strategy for growth," said Saldana Tuesday. Saldana, an attorney with 10 years of experience in the Corporation Counsel's office for the city of Chicago in the 1990s, has also served on a range of non-profit boards including the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, the Chicago public school board and as president of the Chicago Park District board.
In December she left an executive position with The Resurrection Project, a two-decade old non-profit focusing on housing and community building in the Pilsen neighborhood of the city.
Saldano said she "jumped at the chance" to come to ResCorp. "I've always known Oak Park as a leader" in housing.
Saldano will replace Ed Solan who is retiring as head of ResCorp after 13 years as executive director. Pierce said, "Ed did such a fantastic job. Our organization is in such good shape, especially having come through such a tough economic time."