Rather than sitting in a boardroom and waiting for the community to come to them, West Dundee trustees and top officials walked through the village Monday to meet the people, to take note of problems and discuss ways to solve them.
The tour, scheduled as part of Monday's board meeting, was the brainchild of Trustee Patrick Hanley as a way for trustees to see what's going on in the community.
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The groups toured three east-side neighborhoods. The walks lasted for about an hour before trustees and officials reconvened at village hall for the remainder of the board meeting. Each group had four people who toured separate parts of the village.
"We're making ourselves available, looking at issues and getting exposed to parts of the community trustees don't see everyday," Village President Chris Nelson said. "It has the potential to keep the residents engaged, and it keeps the board engaged with the community."
During the walks, officials encountered dozens of branches thrown about the streets -- remnants of Friday night's storms. They also saw sidewalks and trees in need of maintenance, ash trees slated for removal, minor property damage and inconsistent fencing.
Part of the tour also involved officials meeting and interacting with the public.
Paula Amenta said she wasn't surprised to see them out and about.
"West Dundee is a very community centric village, it always has been, that's why we've lived here for 26 years," she said.
Officials from one group also ran into Chuck Denofrio, who has a large, man-made pond in his front yard, complete with fish. His beef? That someone pushed his 300 pound statue of the Biblical character Rebecca into his pond over the weekend. It's the second time that's happened in the 31 years he's lived in his house.
"I know it was just teenagers," Denofrio told West Dundee Police Chief Andrew Wieteska. "Round them up. They can come over and pick it up and put it back."
At the end of the walks, trustees discussed the information they compiled.
One of the largest issues was untrimmed trees and bushes that extended over sidewalks. Hanley suggested hiring a pair of seasonal workers next summer to trim the lower branches, rather than paying a company $35,000 to do it.
Village Manager Joe Cavallaro said he will compile all of the notes everyone took and give them to the trustees at a later date.
The next walking tour will take place in late September or early October, Nelson said. The plan then would be to hit the western part of the village and Spring Hill Mall,