George and Adrienne Olsen, left, check in for the new resident reception at Flossmoor Public Library on April 13. Community Relations Commission member Molly Deugaw and commission Chair Phillipa Leon-Thompson greet the Olsens. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
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New Flossmoor residents trade city life for suburbs

Newcomers to Flossmoor who told their stories at the village’s annual reception for new residents April 13 at Flossmoor Public Library had one thing in common: Most traded urban living for Flossmoor’s suburban charm.

Chandra Harris-McCray, vice chancellor for strategic marketing and communication for the University of Illinois-Chicago, moved from the South Loop to Flossmoor, but prior to living in Chicago she lived in Denver.

“I looked everywhere and found Flossmoor,” she said, noting that she was attracted to the difference “of a transient community versus a true community, and a back yard, hearing birds versus ambulances and police cars. That’s why I’m here.”

Kacie and Jarrod Westaway also came from Chicago, where they had lived for more than a dozen years. The arrival of their son, Reese, 2, changed their priorities, they said. Jarrod said they had friends who lived in Flossmoor.

“We were coming down here to hang out with them, and we were like, ‘Oh, this is really nice,'” Kacie said. “We like that there’s a train station. We can walk to the train. We can walk here.”

They said they are looking forward to cycling again. Kacie said she was reluctant to venture forth on city streets after Reese was born.

Jennifer Burke came from Baltimore with her husband, whose family lives in the area.

“It seemed like a very welcoming spot. I love the neighborhoods,” she said.

Access to the Metra train station was important for her, because she works in Chicago.

Andy Kokemoor also cited the proximity of the train station as a factor, but what really sold the community for him was the houses.

“I have a good friend who grew up here. My finance and I were really not considering the suburbs, but my friend said ‘If any suburb is good it’s this one,'” he said. “We really love the houses. We found one in particular. We saw it and we wanted to have it. The house led the way.”

There was one exception to the trend. George and Adrienne Olsen arrived in Flossmoor from Homewood.

“People said ‘When you retire why don’t you move south?’ We did. Two miles,” George said.

The move was an opportunity to stay in the community they love, downsize their home and locate just a few blocks from their daughter, who lives near Western Avenue and Flossmoor Road.

New residents at the event were able to mingle with each other and meet local business owners and village officials. The businesses offering samples of their wares included Birch and Bloom, The Bistro on Sterling, D’s Cookie Dough, Dunning’s Market and Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery.

A trombone quartet consisting of Cameron Arseneau, Lorenzo Martinez, Charlie Wachtel and Tommy Losh performed a couple of tunes before Mayor Michelle Nelson offered greetings from the village.

She introduced Homewood-Flossmoor High School Principal Clinton Alexander, Flossmoor School District Superintendent Dana Smith and Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Executive Director Doug Boehm, who each described their organizations and welcomed the new residents.

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