With a solid turnout at its first meeting to gauge interest, a new citizen action committee called Flossmoor’s Future is moving forward with plans to coalesce residents’ energy and ideas into positive action for the village.
Flossmoor’s Future plans to focus on positive ways the village’s residents can contribute to improving the look, lifestyle and outreach of the town. Initiatives are still being developed, but ideas include a residents’ marketing effort, an ambassador program for residents to connect with people considering a move to Flossmoor and a beautification committee to maintain the village’s physical appearance.
Tom Dobrez, one of the group’s board members, said 100 people turned out at the first exploratory meeting in early September at Flossmoor Country Club. Because of the large interest, the group is hosting its next meeting at Olympia Fields Country Club on Oct. 24, when they expect to welcome 200 people.
“We’re not happy we had to leave town, but it was the only place that was big enough,” Dobrez said. “The first meeting was at Flossmoor Country Club and we filled every seat.”
Dobrez advised Flossmoor village board members at their Sept. 17 meeting that the group had been launched as an apolitical and independent collection of citizens focusing on seeking solutions to village challenges.
“These are challenges we’re all facing together. Occasionally, we believe we will be seeking the cooperation of this council,” Dobrez told the board. “We hope you will support us when that moment comes.”
Trustee James Mitros attended the first meeting and said he thought it was productive. He appreciated that the meeting was focused and put some topics off-limits.
“You had some good discussions and we need all the suggestions we can get,” Mitros said. “Thanks for including us.”
Trustee Diane Williams said she would appreciate the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with the group.
“I would be interested at the right point in time to learn more about what you want to get done and make sure you know some of the things we’re doing,” Williams said. “If we’re trying to get to the same place and we aren’t doing that together, we don’t get there the most efficient way.”
At the board meeting, Dobrez requested that Flossmoor provide a list of village employees and their functions, so it may address questions and concerns to the right people.
Dobrez has since received the list from Village Manager Bridget Wachtel. It includes the names of all village department directors and their email addresses in the body of the email, along with some additional direction on contacts. She also included a job description for each director attached to the email.
Complaining and negative talk will not be allowed at Flossmoor’s Future meetings, Dobrez said. That way, he said, the sessions will not become “a bunch of people in a room complaining.” Once the first initiatives are decided, small groups will form to work on individual projects.
“There’s only so much a town council can do, and as citizens maybe we need to take some responsibility,” said Dobrez, a Flossmoor resident of 51 years.
Flossmoor’s Future will be a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, accepting donations from the community and supported by concerned citizens, Dobrez said. It will track the addresses of residents who attend meetings to make certain all areas of Flossmoor are represented in the group.
“It’s an apolitical group; we’re not putting people up for office,” he added. “This is a constructive group of concerned citizens that have connections to this place. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been here for 40 years or 40 months, they can contribute.”