The village of Riverside will welcome a familiar face back to the ranks of its board of trustees in early July after Trustee Elizabeth Peters announced last week that she’s resigning her post to take a new job out of state.
Peters, who is in the third year of her first term as trustee, will formally say goodbye at the village board’s meeting on June 18.
“I just want people to know how much I’ve appreciated this opportunity and how much I’ve learned and grown,” said Peters, an intellectual property attorney who is leaving private practice to take a job as in-house counsel at Steelcase Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“It’s been great to have been part of something where people love their community so much. We’re blessed to have that.”
Village President Ben Sells said he plans to name a recent former trustee, Patricia Collins, to fill the vacancy created by Peters’ departure. Collins served one term on the village board from 2013-17 and is familiar with many of the issues still facing the village board, such as the Des Plaines River floodwall, that are still pending.
“I wanted someone who had been through it,” said Sells, who said he also wanted to be sure Peters’ seat was held by a woman. Peters is one of only two women serving on the village board at this time.
Sells said that while others were interested in the vacancy, he also did not want to fill it with someone who might be interested in running for election to the board in spring 2021, when Peters’ term expires.
“I didn’t want to give someone a leg up,” Sells said.
Peters and her husband, Brad, have been Riverside residents for 13 years and are the parent of two daughters, ages 2 and 6. Peters has been involved in some capacity with village government for most of that time, beginning with her appointment to the Riverside Economic Development Commission in 2011.
She was named chairwoman of the commission in 2014 and led the effort to make that commission more active, launching a marketing study and rebranding effort that sought to present Riverside as an attractive place for business.
“I’m really proud that became something we were able to get going and get momentum on,” Peters said. “That carried over to the work we did on the [village] board. I think the board has recognized the importance that we had to change the game in Riverside for business to thrive. Riverside is getting there.”
In addition to Peters taking on a new job, her husband has also landed a new gig as supply chain director for Kellogg in Battle Creek, Michigan. And with her oldest child just about to enter first grade, the couple felt the stars align, according to Peters.
“If we were ever going to move, I didn’t want to do it in the middle of schooling,” Peters said. “It’s a perfect timing scenario. I think the gods were telling us something.”
Peters said she was happy to be part of another change in Riverside, which is seeing younger parents getting involved in local government and organizations.
“I do feel like there’s been more of a shift in the past three years, where more and more people with younger kids are saying it’s important to be involved,” Peters said. “I feel like I’m seeing much more engagement.”
Sells said he will miss Peters’ thoughtful approach to issues before the village board.
“I was hoping she would be Riverside’s first woman president,” Sells said. “She’s so thoughtful, so well prepared. There’s a wisdom she brings to our discussions that I’ll miss.”
This story has been changed to reflect that two women serve on the Riverside Village Board. The other is Cristin Evans.