Trustees William Healy (from left), Cynthia Nelson Katsenes and Michael Milani had cake in their honor after they were sworn back into office on May 1. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Trustees William Healy (from left), Cynthia Nelson Katsenes and Michael Milani had cake in their honor after they were sworn back into office on May 1. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Re-elected Orland trustees lauded, Cultural Center to be demolished

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By Jeff Vorva

Orland Park Trustees William Healy, Cynthia Nelson Katsenes and Michael Milani ran unopposed in the April 4 election and all three were sworn in at the village’s Committee of the Whole meeting on May 1.

Mayor Keith Pekau had plenty of gratitude for this trio.

They were all elected to the board for the first time in 2019, when there was some strife.

The three generally agreed with some of Pekau’s decisions while other board members did not. The board changed in 2021 when Pekau-endorsed trustees Sean Kampas, Brian Riordan and Joni Radaszewski were elected and there has been rare disagreements among the members.

“I would like to thank them for all of the hard work for the last four years,” Pekau said of the three returnees. “There are four people who understand what they have been put through – me and the three of them – in the first two years.

“What many of you don’t know is that sitting trustees at the time filed criminal charges against them within their first 24 hours. These are the types of things they dealt with over and over again for making decisions that were important for you [the public]. They stood up, made tough decisions and did so unwavering.”

Pekau said that some of the stands they took during the pandemic, including trying to keep businesses open when the state wanted a shutdown, were risky.

“We weren’t sure that we had the information correct,” Pekau said. “But we were doing the best we could with what we had. As it turns out, in hindsight, we nailed it every single time. We got every decision right.

“I would never have guessed that we would have batted 1.000.”

Cultural Center coming down

The board voted unanimously to enter an agreement with Darien-based Wight and Company for the development of a master plan for improvements to Doogan Park, 14700 Park Lane.

The plans include demolition of the Orland Park Cultural Center in January. The Cultural Center once housed the village’s library.

“The old library needs several million dollars of repair,” Pekau said. “We did offer it to schools for a dollar and they declined because the repairs are too much for them to do.

“We think it’s more appropriate to expand the park, so that’s the plan.”

The building houses various classes and special recreation programs, which will be moved by the end of the year.

Taste of inflation

Because of the rising cost of food, Taste of Orland prices will go up this year.

Vendors will be allowed to charge up to $8 per food item.

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