While longtime North Riverside Mayor Richard Scheck may have had his critics — particularly in retirement when past financial policies triggered urgent changes during the Great Recession and his continued influence in local politics after moving out of town – it is undeniable that most who lived in and worked for the village during his 20-year tenure loved him.
It is not an understatement to say Scheck was viewed and continues to be viewed by those who were in town between 1989 and 2009 as a village patriarch, who maintained a firm hand on the wheel and personally charted the village’s course during those two decades.
His accomplishments can’t be denied. During his time as mayor, the landscape of the village changed – literally – with the development of Commons Park in the 1990s, now considered a village jewel, the overhaul of Veterans Park and its now top-class ballfields and the development of the Tot Spot on 14th Avenue.
That huge water standpipe looming over 26th Street is a critical piece of municipal infrastructure that in large measure owes its presence to Scheck, whose skill in lobbying state and federal legislators brought hundreds of thousands of dollars to tiny North Riverside.
North Riverside solidified its place as a retail sales powerhouse with the arrival during Scheck’s tenure of more big-box stores and deals Scheck made with key businesses such as Rizza Ford, Castle Buick, Edward Don and Best Buy to improve their properties and keep them in town.
Many of the services for senior citizens North Riverside residents take for granted now were developed and expanded under Scheck.
We’ve been critical through the years of some of Scheck’s policies with respect to freezing the property tax levy, subsidizing services so heavily, underfunding pensions and a familial approach to hiring village staff.
His positive impact, however, on the lives of local residents during his time in office is undeniable, cementing his place as the village’s greatest mayor.
Legal Fees R Us
We can’t say we’re surprised that Lyons Township High School’s divorce from the Lyons Township Schools Treasurer’s Office, also known as the TTO, has not exactly been amicable.
The TTO, however, has chosen to withhold about $6 million from LTHS – coincidentally just about the amount the TTO sought to recover from the high school in its years’ long, ultimately futile lawsuit.
Last week during a special meeting of the TTO board, trustees reallocated to other TTO member school districts about $1.2 million funds LTHS believes it is entitled to.
The high school has sought a restraining order to prevent the reallocation of the funds, which for now are supposed to remain in specific bank accounts until the matter can get worked out.
In the meantime, the TTO – which brought four attorneys to last week’s temporary restraining order hearing – continues to rack up legal fees related to its actions involving LTHS. That’s after spending more than $4 million to recover about $765,000 during the eight-year lawsuit just concluded.
Make it stop already.