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Fond farewell to Mayor Owen and warm welcome to Alsip/Worth at SSMMA dinner meeting

Retiring So. Chicago Heights Mayor Dave Owen with his wife, June, at SSMMA's dinner meeting in Lynwood

Retiring So. Chicago Heights Mayor Dave Owen with his wife, June, at SSMMA’s dinner meeting in Lynwood

The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association recognized South Chicago Heights Mayor Dave Owen for 42 years of public service at a Sept. 15 dinner at Dream Palace, hosted by Lynwood Mayor Eugene Williams. Owen recently announced his retirement after being the village’s mayor since 1989. Prior to that, he served for 14 years as trustee.

In addition Mr. Owen has served as past SSMMA president, Illinois Municipal League vice president, chairman of SSMMA’s Transportation Committee, a member of Southland Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Council of Mayors of the Chicago Area Transportation Study and most recently, he was elected vice chairman of the Southeast Metra Rail Board.

SSMMA also welcomed new members at the meeting who are Alsip Mayor Patrick Kitching and Worth Mayor Mary Werner.

Additionally, the night featured the Field Museum’s Chicago Region Program Director Mark Bouman who presented information on the Calumet National Heritage Area Initiative, which aims to connect one bi-state region framed by two national parks: Pullman and the Indiana Dunes. The goal would showcase the region’s assets, stimulate economic development, cultivate environmental and cultural preservation, foster education and stewardship of natural and cultural resources and create a process for bi-state dialogue and management. Click here for the presentation slides. Feasibility study findings will be presented Oct. 29 in Gary, IN. Please click here for the flyer.

Governors State University President Elaine Maimon requested legislative funding support at the dinner. In the past two years the university has only received 50 percent of its funding from the state, she said. As a result, they will be closing their Small Business Development Center by the end of the year.

SSMMA Deputy Economic Development Director Reggie Greenwood invited attendees to join the growing number of companies that have invested $350 million in new investments in the Chicago Southland. The Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation (CSEDC) is working on new marketing efforts to package and showcase the region’s assets including incentives such as TIF districts, enterprise zones, growth zones, industrial sites and workforce resources. Please click here to see the presentation slides.

Richton Park Mayor Rich Reinbold, who provided a legislative update, stated that SSMMA is opposing a proposed federal rule that would require single transportation plans for federally defined urban areas. This means the association does not want the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to be forced to merge or create joint transportation plans.

Finally, SSMMA Deputy Directors Lakeshia Wright and Dennis Latto provided written reports for housing and transportation.

We gratefully acknowledge the Village of Lynwood for hosting this lovely and memorable event and Comcast for sponsoring the reception. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. at SSMMA offices. More photos are here. A related story can be found here in the Southland Voice.

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