Winfield president Birutis takes positive message directly to village's residents

  • Winfield village President Deb Birutis says there are plenty of positives to focus on in her politically divided town.

    Winfield village President Deb Birutis says there are plenty of positives to focus on in her politically divided town.

Updated 9/13/2011 5:33 AM

Winfield village President Deb Birutis says she's grown tired of reading negative headlines in political blogs and newspapers about her politically divided town. So she will take her message directly to residents.

A 1,000-word essay, reminiscent of an annual state of the village address usually read in the spring, is penned by Birutis in this month's village's newsletter. In it, Birutis reminds residents that an independent report said that the tiny village led all of DuPage County in new home sales for the second year in a row last year.


Also, she congratulated new police Chief Stacy Reever on her appointment, and said that the village continues to attract businesses during an economic downturn, with nine new businesses arriving and a new bakery on its way.

"It's great news, it's that simple," she said. "Residents should know and I want to get the message out. We would like to be a part of (businesses') success."

Birutis said she sent the message partially to offset "misinformation" about several big projects, specifically an ambitious $3.7 million Riverwalk. However, she also said she wanted to let residents know that despite the bitterness, real progress has been made.

"When you have the negativity, it begins to send out the wrong message to residents, whether in a newspaper or blog site, it hurts the village as a whole," she said Monday. "I want people to know that Winfield is attracting businesses and residences."

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Birutis said tax increment finance money and impact fees will combine with donations and a match by Central DuPage Hospital to pay for the village's $208,000 portion of the Riverwalk project.

She and other supporters of the project say it will become an economic engine in town, drawing developers who will bring with them increased sales tax revenue that can ultimately be used to fix the village's deteriorating roads.

However, detractors continue to attack the project, saying without a clear plan of what to expect down the road, the Riverwalk remains nothing more than a pet project that will eventually drain taxpayer money.

Birutis said her door is open for anyone with questions about the project, which moved forward for design and engineering work last month. Birutis mentioned that board approval in the essay.

"I meet with residents to make sure they know the true facts," she said. "If certain people want to stop progress, I can't help that."

"In the economy we have nationally right now, and it is struggling, Winfield is a great place to live. We are growing and I want the residents to be proud of our town."