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Member community spotlight: Richton Park

Last week Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold joined panelists, elected officials, partner agencies and others at the Cook County Recovery Roundtable – Paving the Road to Equitable Transit. The virtual event was hosted by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Active Transportation Alliance in collaboration with the Chicago Community Trust.

The discussion centered on how COVID-19 has impacted transit and highlighted the importance of making transportation accessible to essential workers, who are predominantly people of color. See the video.

Mayor Reinbold, a Richton Park resident since 1952, has served as village president since 2001. Previously, he served as a village trustee from 1993-2001. He is the owner of Reinbold Properties, general manager of Englund Properties, and president of the Chicago Cart Company. He serves on many boards, commissions and committees, including the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association (past-president, legislative chair and Transportation Committee board), the Illinois Municipal League Board of Directors, Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus Terrorism Task Force (chairman), I-57 Corridor Council (chairman), South Suburban Airport Coalition Commission, Matteson Area Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board, as well as others. He is also a veteran of the Vietnam War, and a proud member of the American Legion and the VFW.

The village describes itself as the hub of Chicago’s Southland suburbs, a warm, welcoming and diverse village with easy access to the city via a busy Metra station and Interstates 57 and 80. The community also prides itself on being a tight knit community with low crime and opportunities for kids, including the Southland College Preparatory Charter High School, new library, plenty of youth activities and quick access to four-year Governors State University. To attract and retain Millennials, families and those wishing to “age in place,” Richton Park has attracted a recent Super Walmart retail development, and is developing a transit-oriented town center and fostering a spirit of volunteerism, entrepreneurship and beautification

Richton Park sits astride the famous Sauk Trail which was used by the Sauk and Pottawatomie tribes for moving between settlements and sacred areas stretching all the way from the Mississippi around the Rock Island area all the way to what is now Ottowa, Canada. After the arrival of the Illinois Central Railroad in 1852, developers established a depot and platted a small agricultural village where the rail line crossed the Sauk Trail. In 1926, the Illinois Central Railroad electrified its suburban lines, with Richton as the last stop. When Chicago’s suburban sprawl finally pushed into the area in the late 1960s and 1970s, the village’s population boomed as it annexed new housing developments. There were 2,558 people living in the village in 1970. By 2010 the population had grown to nearly 13,646. It is bordered by Matteson to the north, Olympia Fields to the northeast, Park Forest to the east, University Park to the south and Frankfort to the west.

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