Recently, I saw a sponsored ad from the Lake and Lathrop developer in Wednesday Journal that disturbed me and compelled me to write.

The ad was designed to mimic a newspaper article, intended to deceive readers into thinking they are reading a researched, fact-based article. Ha! In my opinion, the ad’s content rewrites history and misrepresents this languishing community eyesore.

The developers have continuously missed deadlines and the Village Board of Trustees (VBOT), under Cathy Adduci’s leadership, enables these failures to continue without repercussion. The construction site sat littered with unsightly rubble for many months after demolition before clean-up commenced. It has been an empty, undisturbed hole now for greater than two years. Other than a new construction site banner, there is no development in the development.

Cathy Adduci is running for a third term as village president on a record of being “pro-business.” Well, I was a business displaced by the Lake and Lathrop project, which impacted the selling of my business. I asked the VBOT in early planning meetings to consider offsetting hardship expenses incurred by the small businesses primarily impacted. Despite appeals to take these needs into account during developer negotiations, no such “pro-business” planning was ever done. When village staff eventually engaged, the support offered was restrictive geographically within River Forest, and the type and timing of financial support. The loss of village stalwarts like Tulipia still stings. This development reveals the Adduci-led board is not “pro-business.” The failed vision, management, accountability, and transparency fall squarely on her shoulders.

My awful experience, losing two additional businesses, and the continued failure of the project, is why I believe it is time for a new village president. Patty Henek had the original foresight and subsequent clarity to vote No on this project. Not to stop development but to be thoughtful and transparent about the impacts of development projects on key stakeholders. 

As a litmus test, the Lake and Lathrop project should be the gold standard to determine which leader is “pro-business” in River Forest. Join me in voting for Patty Henek on April 6.

Garfield Phillpotts, River Forest

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