Tina Grotzke chats with Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott after he presented her a certificate of appreciation for her 20 years on the zoning board. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Tina Grotzke chats with Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott after he presented her a certificate of appreciation for her 20 years on the zoning board. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Countryside zoning commissioner honored for 20 years on board

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By Steve Metsch

For the past 20 years, Tina Grotzke has had a say-so in every development that’s come to Countryside.

Grotzke was appointed to another term on the city’s the plan commission zoning board of appeals during the city council’s meeting on June 12.

Mayor Sean McDermott noted Grotzke’s two decades of service before he administered her the oath of office.

“I’d like to present a certificate of achievement for her dedication and hard work. She’s been there and worked on some really difficult issues and is really thoughtful in her work,” the mayor said.

Grotzke, 66, was flattered by the mayor’s praise.

“I blinked and it went by. It feels strange to say I’ve been there 20 years, but I have,” she said on June 17.

Grotzke grew up in La Grange Highlands. She and Jim, her husband of 44 years, have lived in Countryside for 35 years.

“It’s a great area to raise kids. The schools are awesome,” she said.

She got into city government in a roundabout way, in response to a plea from the late Carl LeGant, who was mayor at the time.

“He said he had these openings and nobody wanted to do it. I thought, ‘Well, I’ll do it. I’ll put my name in’,” she said.

She originally served on the police pension board for a few years.

“After that there was an opening on the zoning board. That’s where I wanted to be,” Grotzke said.

That’s because her family has background in construction.

Her husband was a union plumber. So was her late father, Frank Tollis.

“I do have some knowledge. I understand about the construction field, and it’s very interesting,” she said.

One perk Grotzke especially enjoys is that zoning board commissioners gets to know about each proposed developments before anyone else in Countryside.

For example, at the board’s most recent meeting, they learned about a high-end restaurant and banquet hall that may come to town.

It is proposed for the site of the former Acura dealership on Joliet Road, a building that has sat vacant several years.

“They’re going to transform the front. The renderings were beautiful,” she said.

During the city council meeting, McDermott told her: “We really appreciate all you’ve done for the city in those 20 years. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of reading.”

Grotzke doesn’t mind doing her homework.

City Planning Manager Richard Trent helps zoning board commissioner prepare, she said.

Earlier this year, it was back to the future for her when a new comprehensive plan was introduced for the city.

“One of the first thing we handled when I was a newbie was the comprehensive plan. Now we just did a new one. I said to the guy, ‘I’m an old hat at this’,” Grotzke said.

“Countryside is a wonderful town,” she added. “That’s one of the reasons why we stayed here. We love it.”

Jonathan Gertsmeier, Danielle Edenfield and Marco Gutierrez, were also appointed to the zoning board. They did not attend the meeting.

Ed Carter was appointed as a commissioner on the of fire and police board.

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