August 13, 2019

The Village of Orland Park had a very positive few weeks.

We wrapped up Market in the Park, which is held weekly on Thursdays, on August 1st.  It was wildly successful with many more people attending, several additional vendors and many more food trucks than in previous years.  Our staff did an outstanding job, and as usual our residents had fun without any incidents.

We also held our 17th annual Taste of Orland on the first weekend of August.  It too was a great success. The final act crowds topped 20,000 people and over 40,000 people visited the Taste over the weekend.  The weekend included a salute to veterans on Sunday. I am thankful for the cooperative weather as well as for our amazing staff.  They work very hard to set up the event and during the event to ensure that it comes off without a hitch.  Almost every department in the village contributes!

In other big news, The Wall Street Journal did a study on homeownership rates for cities, towns and villages of over 20,000 housing units (about 50,000 people).  ORLAND PARK IS NUMBER ONE IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!  The high percentage of home ownership in the Village of Orland Park is a reflection of a diverse and affordable housing market demonstrating that the American dream of homeownership is very much alive and well in Orland Park. It also reinforces that Orland Park has an outstanding quality of life.  We have great schools, 64 parks, over 15,000 acres of forest preserve in or adjacent to the village, and we are the shopping and restaurant mecca for the southwest suburbs.  Combine that with the great transportation options that provide easy access to a world class city and you have a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

Home ownership also provides social benefits beyond pure financial and economic benefits. Home ownership and stable housing go hand in hand. Homeowners move far less frequently than renters, and hence are embedded into the same neighborhood and community for a longer period. Homeowners also tend to take better care of their homes and in general have better relationship with their neighbors.  Lower crime and lower drug usage are more likely in communities with high home ownership. In my opinion it is one of the reasons why Orland Park is consistently #1 or #2 in the low level of violent crime rates for towns greater than 50,000 people. Homeowners are more likely to be involved in community civic engagements, local elections, and volunteer work compared to renters–again with other things being equal.  The positive social benefits from home ownership and stable housing are compelling.

The board meeting on Monday the 5th mostly dealt with routine business.  I did remove one thing from Accounts Payable–paying for our annual renewal on the Code Red system.  The board agreed that we need to investigate alternatives.  Technology has advanced significantly since we started using this system and 5 to 6 hours to run through the entire village with notifications is very slow.  We think there are better alternatives for more timely notifications.

We also approved a professional services contract for a public relations firm on a vote of 5 to 2 (Trustee Dodge and Fenton voted against).  Trustee Fenton thought our Public Information Office does a good enough job and we don’t need anyone else.  While I agree that our existing PIO office does a good job, it is primarily geared toward keeping residents informed of our many events.  They are very good at this and social media.  However, this contract is intended to help market Orland Park to the region, the state and the country, with the goal of retaining our existing business and residents and attracting new businesses, events and residents.  Between our PIO office and the mayor’s office we have eliminated the equivalent of 2 full time positions–a significant savings for the village.  Rather than replace these positions we are outsourcing to a firm with specific expertise at less than half the cost of one full time employee.

Trustee Dodge voted against this, again citing concerns about “process.”  I remain a bit confused as to his sudden epiphany, as these are the same processes that have been in place during his more than two decades as a village official.  I should point out that the village manager could have hired the PR firm under his authority but chose to bring it to the full board for debate and consideration in a meeting that was both live streamed and recorded.  We remain committed to our promise of transparency.  This transparent process led to the village retaining a professional public relations firm that is not political—their only focus will be on promoting the many amazing things happening in our hometown.

There are several upcoming events to enjoy including the August 24th concert at Centennial Park West.  The headline act is Loverboy with Jefferson Starship performing before them. The opener is 4cast. We hope to see you all there as attendance will set the tone for future concerts.

  • Tickets for this event are $30 and you can bring in your own food and drink.  Food and drinks will also be available.  Tickets can be found at https://www.universe.com/events/loverboy-and-jefferson-starship-tickets-orland-park-F09L2X?ref=universe-discover&fbclid=IwAR2iJe4jvU9zhp_s-oybM6gD8-v0we-LSKCi1WR6PXjs9kl8IcEQkCBbRoo
  • Additionally, if you want to have a party, or bring employees/customers, sponsorships are available.  A $1,500 sponsorship will get you 30 tickets, signage and recognition, as well as a tent and table.
  • Coffee with the Mayor is on August 16th at 8:30 at Cacao Café, 9111 151st Street.
  • Cookout with the Cops is on August 19th at 4PM at Deer Point Estates Park.
  • I am hosting the Veterans Golf Classic on September 10th at Silver Lake Country Club.  Foursomes, sponsorships and individual golf spots are still available.  Please call my office at 708-403-6160 if you are interested.
  • The Orland Park Brewfest is on September 21st.  Tickets are available now.
  • Save the date for Mayor Pekau’s Crystal Tree fundraising dinner on October 9th.
  • As you can see, there is a lot going on in Orland Park.  I hope to see you at one or more of the events!

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