So long, Mike Z

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Back in 2008, when a fresh-faced Mike Zalewski assumed his seat in the state legislature, we were a little skeptical. After all, he’d been appointed as the Democratic nominee via time-honored and, frankly, cynical tradition of a shoe-in backing out after winning a primary.

Mike came from a well-connected political family on Chicago’s Southwest Side. His dad was not only a longtime Chicago alderman but, specifically, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s alderman. Great optics it was not, from the eyes of suburbia.

In the intervening 14 years, however, Zalewski proved to be a more-than-capable state legislator, one who commanded respect across the aisle and someone who succeeded in advancing and passing significant legislation.

He was a consistent, dependable voice for the communities he served in Springfield and, through his advocacy, Riverside and Brookfield benefited by securing essential funding for important infrastructure projects, like the new Swan Pond Park path and the Veterans Circle fountain, which is slated for completion this spring. He was always just a phone call away.

While his defeat to Abdelnasser Rashid in the Democratic primary last summer had to hurt and might have been shock, the redrawn 21st District benefited Rashid, who targeted progressive voters and turned the spotlight on the connections, suddenly a liability, that were so helpful in Zalewski’s entry into state politics back in the day.

In the end, however, Zalewski can leave Springfield having accomplished much and having served his constituents with integrity and enthusiasm. Thanks, Mike.

Key deal

It may not be the sexiest story you’ll find in the newspaper, but it’s a pretty significant deal that The Feil Organization has finally been able to secure ownership of the former Carson Pirie Scott property at the North Riverside Park Mall.

Not only does the property include far more than the huge 180,000-square-foot big box retail space that used to house the department store, it also includes acres of parking lot — 11.55 acres in all — and the owners of the anchor properties have a say in what The Feil Organization can and cannot do when it comes to mall redevelopment.

The last time the Carson’s property changed hands was in 1998, and when the retail chain went belly up in 2018, the property went into foreclosure and for more than four years there wasn’t a thing The Feil Organization could do with regard to that property’s redevelopment.

Now that the property is in their hands, what has become a very prominent white elephant can hopefully be put to good use in some fashion, and soon.

The post <em>So long, Mike Z</em> appeared first on Riverside Brookfield Landmark.

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January 17, 2023 at 04:16PM

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