Members of the township board agreed in March to pay $2,000 — about half the $3,956 total cost for the 24-by-14-inch bronze plaque — to the manufacturer, Deerfield-based Architectural Bronze and Aluminum Corporation, to get the process started.
The township is providing a photo of Topinka to the company to serve as the model for a bust on the plaque, which will also be inscribed with dates she served in office, her birth and death dates and words of appreciation for her service to the people of Illinois and Riverside Township, according to Mary Rob Clarke, a township trustee who has served as the chair of a committee dedicated to finding an appropriate way to honor Topinka.
“The township board is very excited about the dedication,” Clarke said.
Once the manufacturer receives the photo of Topinka, it will take between six and eight weeks to complete the piece, Clarke said. Once the plaque is in hand, the township board will host a dedication ceremony in the auditorium of the Riverside Township Hall.
Topinka, a longtime resident of Riverside who served as a state representative, state senator and as the state’s treasurer and comptroller, died in December 2014 at the age of 70. She also was the longtime Republican committeeman for Riverside Township.
Following Topinka’s death, her son Joseph pushed for the township board to dedicate the township hall to his mother’s memory. When that failed, he hoped the board would erect an elaborate, permanent display of artifacts and information related to his mother’s years as an elected official.
In August 2015, the township board settled on a plaque to honor Topinka and to mark their dedication of the township hall’s auditorium.