What Mayor Dan McLaughlin Wants to do With Another Four Years

The Orland Park mayor since 1993 is seeking his sixth term in the seat, along with a slate of incumbent trustees and a new candidate for village clerk.

Mayor Dan McLaughlin is looking to continue.

Orland Park’s mayor since 1993 recently announced at a fundraiser that he will seek another term in the position, to continue developing the downtown area, updating infrastructure while improving walkability and reducing traffic, especially along LaGrange Road.

McLaughlin is also committed to maintaining Orland Park as a retail hub in the south suburbs, though he also would like to see a broader range of job types available in town.

“A long time ago we chose to be a retail center, and we need to foster it since we committed to it,” he said in a phone interview. “But we also annexed property down near I-80, for what we hoped would lead to better paying jobs than just retail, for office and research use.  It’s been slow, but we still want to provide a better selection of jobs with that area.”

McLaughlin cited in a press release that commercial investment is up now in Orland Park at $96 million this year, compared to $11 million in 2009. He also cited residential development at $31 million in 2012, compared to $14 million in 2009.

McLaughlin’s other examples of stewardship he cited include the addition of Whole Foods and Berkot’s, along with intersection improvements on LaGrange Road at 143rd Street and 159th Street, as well as 159th and Harlem Avenue.

“Trying to get roads built out has always been a battle, since the state and county never had money to do it,” McLaughlin said. “We had to put up our own to get a lot of these projects off the ground. If we weren’t aggressive, the projects would never get done.”

Ninety 7 Fifty and Walking

Some residents still say the Ninety 7 Fifty on the Park apartment complex as a risky venture with a complex finance agreement, but he remains behind the effort, citing a recent bond sale worth about $20 million from the debt incurred to establish a line of credit with Indiana-based developers Flaherty and Collins, who are building the complex.

“We did it this way so we could protect the investment,” McLaughlin said. “To get an outstanding interest rate on the bond sale, and to be able to sell it to as many bidders thanks to our bond rating and financial condition, we’ll actually make added money on the (complex’s) construction.”

McLaughlin said several restaurants and retailers have inquired about both Ninety 7 Fifty’s first floor retail units, and areas in the north corner that haven’t been built out yet, though he said he couldn’t specify who has expressed interest.

Another initiative is to improve walkability, especially to connect the Old Orland area on 143rd Street west of the Metra tracks with the Main Street Triangle, the Ravinia Avenue corridor (which includes Frederick T. Owens Village Hall, Orland Park Public Library, Orland Township and other village buildings) and the Orland Crossing Shopping Center. One aspect of the plan includes a pedestrian bridge going over LaGrange Road parallel to the Metra track, though it has been delayed.

“The bridge itself is done, but the problem is there are no paths to walk onto the bridge from the east or west,” McLaughlin said. “With heavy equipment going back and forth, it didn’t make sense to put the paths in because they’d be chewed up.”

He said the bridge is scheduled to open in spring.

Orland Park United for 2013

McLaughlin also announced a slate of three incumbent village trustees running for re-election and a first-time candidate for village clerk, looking to fill the shoes left by David Maher, who has chosen not to run again after serving on the board since 1996.

Trustees Jim Dodge, Brad O’Halloran and Kathy Fenton round out the slate, along with John Mehalek running for clerk. All are under the Orland Park United ticket, according to the release.

Mehalek was described in the release as follows:

Mehalek served on the Community Consolidated School District 146 Board for eight years, serving as president for two and chairing the board’s Finance Committee for six.  An I.B.E.W. Local 134 Electrician, Mehalek serves as a project manager for private electrical contractors and teaches for the I.B.E.W. Apprentice Program. Mehalek was an Orland Youth Association Basketball Commissioner for six years, is a parishioner and volunteer at St. Michael Church, coached OYA Girls Softball, Boys Basketball and Boys Baseball. He and his wife, Michele, are band parents with District 146 and Carl Sandburg High School and have three children.

While he and the four candidates are running together, McLaughlin, who also serves as the Orland Township Democratic Committeeman, said the ticket is non-partisan.

“There is always an association to parties, with the proximity to regional and national elections, but for local races like this it isn’t necessary,” McLaughlin said about identifying as with a party. “I have people I support on both sides of the aisle, because we’re all trying to make Orland Park a better place.”

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laura December 21, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I meant it WASN't Patch editors.... correction most-recent post....
Ben Feldheim December 21, 2012 at 04:19 AM
It is unique users.
paul cervenka December 28, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I will speak to the village board on the 7th about the pedestrian bridge across Rt45. I have talked with engineers about this project and several others. It would have been open last fall but......
laura March 24, 2013 at 02:13 PM
03.23.13: Current OP Board members, candidates and Mayor: OP taxpayers would LOVE a thorough accounting thus far of the lease rates, demand/interest and future "contingency" plans for the 9750 project. Why hasn't the Village provided more transparency around this $65 million, TAXPAYER-funded construction project? Minus the rhetoric, please; just a serving of actual data. We are intelligent, educated adults who can read earnings or balance sheets and draw our own conclusions from the figures. Anyone who declines to provide full transparency into (or obfuscates the provision of it!) the detailed use of village tax-originated and bond-sourced funding should be censured. Despite promises of disclosure, I saw NO breakdown of the costs around this project and the rates and results to date in the so-called "State of the Village" slides posted earlier this month, other than noting they sold bonds to fund it. We KNOW that. So, WHERE is the accountability, candidates? It is OUR $65 million that's at risk. It's not just a "pet" project that the Board and McLaughlin decided to undertake to try to emulate Naperville's RiverWalk. Soooo... candidates.... WHAT are your positions/responses/ plans? What say ye all?
Bob N. March 31, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Why is MPI Media donating thousands of dollars to McLaughlin and the Orland Democratic Organization? http://www.elections.state.il.us/campaigndisclosure/ContributionsSearchByAllContributions.aspx?ddlContributionType=All+Types&ddlLastOnlyNameSearchType=Starts+with&txtLastOnlyName=Mpi+media&ddlFirstNameSearchType=Starts+with&txtFirstName=&ddlAddressSearchType=Starts+with&txtAddress=&ddlCitySearchType=Starts+with&txtCity=&ddlState=&txtZip=&txtZipThru=&ddlOccupationSearchType=Starts+with&txtOccupation=&ddlEmployerSearchType=Starts+with&txtEmployer=&txtAmount=&txtAmountThru=&txtRcvDate=&txtRcvDateThru=&ddlOrderBy=Last+or+Only+Name+-+A+to+Z&ddlVendorLastOnlyName=Starts+with&txtVendorLastOnlyName=&ddlVendorFirstName=Starts+with&txtVendorFirstName=&ddlVendorAddress=Starts+with&txtVendorAddress=&ddlVendorCity=Starts+with&txtVendorCity=&ddlVendorState=&txtVendorZip=&txtVendorZipThru=&ddlPurpose=Starts+with&txtPurpose


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