Special Message From Village President Catherine Adduci - 2017 Year in Review

February, 2, 2018

The Village Board of Trustees (from left to right) Trustee Mike Gibbs, Trustee Carmela Corsini, Trustee Respicio Vazquez, Village Clerk Katherine Brand-White, Village President Cathy Adduci, Trustee Patty Henek, Trustee Susan Conti, and Trustee Tom Cargie.

The Village of River Forest has ended a successful 2017. The Village Board and Staff focused considerable energy to build on the three major goals that have been the center of every initiative we have considered since 2013: ensuring public safety, stabilizing property taxes and strengthening property values. I’d like to highlight some of our successes.

Ensuring Public Safety

Making sound administrative decisions

  • The Village Board of Trustees appointed long-time employees James O’Shea to Chief of the Police and Kurt Bolhmann as Fire Chief.

Providing upgrades to enhance safety

  • Completed a two-year initiative to upgrade to better, brighter and more cost-efficient LED street lighting throughout the community.
  • Supported training and professional development opportunities for public safety employees.
  • Invested in the continued use of technology advancements including an upgrade and expansion of the Village’s camera systems.
  • Upgraded the Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD) to enhance our 911 emergency capability.
  • Satisfied the Village’s public safety pension obligations per the Pension Funding policy that was adopted by the Village Board.

Stabilizing Property Taxes

Taking steps to turn Lake Street into River Forest’s downtown:

  • Lake and Lathrop - The Village is working with the developers to turn this corner, which is the eastern anchor of this commercial corridor, into a mixed use project that includes residential and retail space.
  • Lake and Park - The Village issued a request for qualifications/proposals to the development community for this project which serves as the western anchor of the commercial corridor. This approach allowed the Village to first find qualified developers who will offer a preliminary vision for the site and then choose a shortlist of developers who can then further develop their initial vision into a more comprehensive proposal.   

Constructing residential projects:

  • The 29-unit Promenade Townhome construction on Madison is nearing completion.
  • The Village Board approved a Planned Development for a 15-unit condominium development at the corner of Bonnie Brae Place, near Concordia.

Opening new stores

  • Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opened on the site of the former Dominick’s Finer Foods on North Avenue this summer.
  • River Forest Chocolates moved to a larger location at 7759 Lake Street
  • Children’s Urgent Care opened their location in the River Forest Town Center (7343 Lake Street)

Inspiring potential development

  • The Village purchased 7610 to 7620 Madison Street. The site, formerly owned by Lutheran Children and Family Services, will jump-start redevelopment in the Madison Street Tax Increment Finance District. The Village’s 2009 Corridor Study noted this as a prime area for redevelopment.
  • A developer of senior living facilities approached the Village with ideas to turn the TCF Bank building on Harlem and Chicago into a senior assisted and independent living facility.

Strengthening Property Values    

Responding to last year’s State of the Village report, which addressed issues faced by seniors:

  • Trained public safety personnel on how to help residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other medical and mental health issues.
  • Offered bracelets through the police department to give officers a means of quickly locating necessary emergency information.
  • Continued to offer wellness check on our seniors during the harsh winter and summer months, or as needed.

Improving the environment

  • Promoted a Parks Foundation committee that had developed ingenious and creative environmental programs into a full-fledged commission.
  • Voted on the Mayors Caucus Greenest Region Compact which calls for a Climate Action Plan for each municipality.
  • Continued to work with Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation PlanItGreen Plan on six major sustainable initiatives.
  • Adopted an ordinance regulating residential beekeeping.

Moving River Forest Forward

  • Started the process of updating the River Forest comprehensive plan. The plan could present options for adding bike paths, new pedestrian safety measures and other items.
  • Resurfaced Division Street from Thatcher to Harlem Avenues.

Keeping finances strong

  • Continued to hold the line on finances thanks to prudent spending by our department heads, a good finance team headed by Finance Director Joan Rock and an excellent Board finance committee.
  • Adopted a balanced budget for the 8th consecutive year.
  • Earned another Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

Enhancing accountability

  • Created a Facebook page that now has more than 700 “likes.”
  • Launched a new, more user-friendly website.
  • Continued monthly distribution of E-News , which contains a monthly look at what has happened at Village Board meetings and other items of community interest.


Cathy Adduci
Village President