Newly sworn-in village president Catherine Adduci Monday called for the formation of a citizens' committee to advise River Forest on how to best approach economic development in town.
Adduci said River Forest would look for people with marketing, planning and development expertise that would "leave no stone unturned in attracting the appropriate businesses and development" to Madison Street, Lake Street and North Avenue. Additional development would stabilize and increase the village's tax base, Adduci said.
"We have an enormous amount of talent in River Forest, knowledgeable people," Adduci said after the meeting. "The time is now."
Board discussion on forming and tasking this committee would take place as soon as possible. It would likely be led by Trustee Susan Conti, chair of the economic development committee, Adduci said.
During her remarks after being sworn in Adduci said the board would move swiftly to decide on a sewer project for the north end to modernize the system and to figure out how to pay for it. On the table right now is a $19.4 million proposal to install separate sanitary and storm sewers under Greenfield Street.
She also thanked her current and former colleagues and pledged to continue the progress made in the past four years.
"I am honored and proud to make a little bit of history by the village electing me the first female president of River Forest," she said. "I look forward to continuing the progress of the last board and building on their successes."
A packed house Monday night watched as Adduci, new trustees and village clerk took the oath of office. Thomas Cargie, Thomas J. Dwyer Jr., and Roma Colwell-Steinke, who had served as River Forest village clerk, became new trustees. Sharon Halperin became the new village clerk. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Alfred Swanson, who at one time was a River Forest trustee, administered the oath of office.
Much of the time was also reserved for trustees to say farewell to outgoing village president John Rigas, and trustees Jim Winikates and Mike Gibbs. Gibbs was ill and unable to attend.
Trustees thanked Rigas for his transformational leadership to make River Forest better, Gibbs for his passion for River Forest and Winikates for his solid expertise that helped bring financial stability to the village. Each received a replica street sign and a plaque.
During his farewell remarks, Rigas advised his former colleagues to listen, learn and participate with passion but remain open to all sides of an issue.
"Be cautious and get all the facts from people who know the information, do your homework," he said. "Dig deep for the courage to make the tough decisions; you'll know you'll make the right ones. Have fun and enjoy your work."
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