By Joanne Kosey
There will be some big shoes to fill, no pun intended, when Greg Gorski takes over the position of president of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce. Gorski will succeed Dave Moravecek, who is stepping down from the position he has held for 15 years.
Moravecek had served on the organization's board for five years before assuming the role of president at a time when the chamber was experiencing a downturn.
Recognizing the need for the village of Riverside to have a viable chamber, the new president embarked on a campaign to increase membership and have a more active and visible presence in the community.
For many years, the chamber held its annual Steak Fry at the Forest Preserve Grove at 27th Street and Desplaines Avenue. Moravecek returned it to downtown Riverside before the chamber replaced it with RiverFest, more of a family event. In an effort to encourage people to shop locally and highlight the businesses, they created Chamber Bucks in a cooperative effort with the businesses.
While Moravecek was chamber president, the organization began purchasing the lighted garland that adorns the lampposts throughout the business area. Attention was given to the Harlem Avenue business area with the placement of large planters to make the area more attractive. He spoke of working with the Brookfield Chamber on a few occasions in a collaborative effort.
During his tenure, Moravecek noted, the village grew to adopt a friendlier approach to businesses, instituting a façade grant program and offering financial incentives to key businesses.
While he will no longer be an officer of the chamber, Moravecek will remain on the board and looks forward to continuing the group's efforts. The challenge continues to be getting people to volunteer to help with events the chamber holds.
Moravecek is confident the chamber will do well with new officers and will continue to help increase business in Riverside. We can be assured he will give his insights, gained over 15 years as president. A job well done and appreciated.
Side note: Ivins-Moravecek Funeral Home will celebrate 90 years of business in Riverside this year and, if my memory serves me right, Dave Moravecek is the fifth owner.