Riverwoods Celebrates Groundbreaking For A New Village Hall
Mayor Norris addressed guests at the recent groundbreaking for construction of a new village hall for the Village of Riverwoods. (The following is his address.)
A few years ago, the Village of Riverwoods celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Riverwoods was founded by a group of about 600 people living in the woods who, like Greta Garbo in “Grand Hotel”, wanted to be left alone. Given this genesis, I doubt if anyone is surprised to learn that the village board meetings during the 1960’s were held in the home of the mayor, Robert Clendenin. It was a decade before anyone thought that a building dedicated to use as a village hall was needed. Eventually a small 40-year-old, former camp cabin in the woods was purchased.
It was another decade before the Board authorized the building of offices for staff and space for record storage. Ten years after that additional offices and a second meeting room were built as part of the 1989-90 expansion. The final alterations were completed in the late 1990’s by the incumbent mayor in $5,000 increments.
We all loved the charm and history of our old Village Hall, but sadly, time and technology finally caught up with our little cabin in the woods, not to mention building codes, fire codes, OSHA, the ADA and worst of all, gravity. Everyone agreed we had to do something. The question was what.
The Building Committee and the Board of Trustees spent over two years examining if the best thing to do was to rehabilitate what we had, or to build new, and if we did build new, where to locate the new building.
Many people had many ideas, and no one was reluctant to express them. As Alfred Lewis, our Village attorney from 1962 to 1983, once said, “Becoming involved in the affairs of the village [of Riverwoods] was like accidently stepping into a gang fight.” Let me just say there was much lively debate. Eventually, economics and fiscal responsibility led us to the conclusion that the best option was a new building built on the existing site.
We are here today to formally break ground for that new building. We will all miss our little cabin in the woods. It served us well for many years.
At the same time, I am excited at the potential of the new village hall and the many advantages it will afford us to better serve and build the Riverwoods community in the future.