Nearly 200 people descended on the Carleton Hotel in Oak Park's Pleasant District on Friday, May 16th to hear from the elected leaders of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.
The State of the Villages Economic Luncheon, organized by the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce, included presentations from each of the officials totaling 45 minutes in the ballroom of the Carleton, 1110 Pleasant St.
Among the common themes that emerged: the benefit of each community taking cooperative and collaborative steps to spur on economic development throughout the neighboring villages.
All three leaders have extensive experience in business: Forest Park Mayor Tony Calderone and Oak Park Village President Anan Abu-Taleb as entrepreneurs and business owners, and River Forest Village President Cathy Adduci with more than 30 years as a business executive. Calderone has served as Forest Park's mayor since 1998; Adduci and Abu-Taleb both became presidents one year ago.
Others who spoke were OPRF Chamber of Commerce President Tony Munno and Wednesday Journal editor Dan Haley, who served as moderator during a question-and-answer session at the end of the two-hour gathering.
The summit is the first of its kind in recent memory. The speakers praised OPRF Chamber Executive Director Cathy Yen for her initiative in organizing the event. VOP-TV Manager Joe Kreml recorded the event, which should be available for viewing via the Village of Oak Park's cable channel next week.
To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.oprfchamber.org or call 708-613-0550.