West Dundee village president not seeking another term
After 22 years of serving West Dundee — 15 of them as village president — Larry Keller says it's time to move on.
Keller, 69, announced he will not seek another term once his time is up in April, because he's done his part and it's time for someone else to take over.
"I've enjoyed being able to serve people and, hopefully, I've done a good job in their mind," Keller said. "I don't have the delusion that I've done everything perfectly, but hopefully I've gone the right direction."
Keller's career in village government started in 1990 as a village trustee. When then-village President Calvin Grafelman was killed in a car accident in 1997, Keller was sworn in as village president. While in office, the village secured a new public works facility and fire station, as well as a riverwalk, and lights on Main Street.
The new village president will face several challenges, Keller said.
When it comes to economics, West Dundee is hurting like other communities, and has lost major retailers, including Best Buy and JCPenney. His replacement will need to work with the board to secure sustainable revenue streams, Keller said.
"It's not a secret that Spring Hill Mall has not been doing as well as it once did," Keller said.
Moreover, at least two trustees won't be around once the new board is seated in the spring.
Trustee Norm Osth, who has been on the board for 12 years, is not running again. As well, Trustee Becky Gillam resigned from office after she was elected to the Kane County Board. She will be sworn in Monday and had been a village trustee since 2007.
Gillam will remember Keller for his grace under pressure.
"He's a very even keel type of personality, and I think it's worked well for the village," Gillam said. "He doesn't get excited, he's very calming and that's good for the village."
Like Keller, Osth, 75, is also stepping aside to let someone else make their mark.
"Not only are we the senior members of the board, we're also the old fogey members, but I think it's good," Osth said. "I think maturity has a lot to say."
Once he's out of office, Keller, a retired teacher from Elgin Area School District U-46, will start up an organization to promote local volunteering.
"That's another way that I can give back to my community," Keller said. "To me, that's what it's all about, starting something, making it grow and then giving it to somebody else."
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