“The Addison Advantage truly is about people, and about our sense of community,” said Addison Mayor Rich Veenstra.
The Village of Addison is a community of 37,000 located in Chicago’s western suburbs. It boasts a vibrant and diverse population, along with its booming industrial, manufacturing and business base. Its prime location as a transportation hub and solid economic base also give Addison a distinct advantage.
“From housing to employment, culture, business, schools, entertainment and recreation, the Addison Advantage is rooted in its rich history and people,” said Mayor Veenstra, who was elected in 2013. He and his family first moved to the village in 1973, and he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 1992 and previous was the first chairman of the village’s Substance Responsibility Commission. “Addison offers a warm welcome to residential, business and industrial newcomers, with opportunities for everyone. When looking for a flourishing village in which to live, work, do business and play, the Addison Advantage shines.”
Originally a farming community, the Village of Addison has grown by leaps and bounds during its 132-year history. From early settlers of German descent, to those of Italian heritage and more recently Latino, Indian, Polish and southeast Asian ancestry, new residents have meant a steady trajectory supporting housing, employment and commercial growth.
“Our people are first and foremost the heart of the Addison Advantage,” said Mayor Veenstra; many families are second and third generation residents. “Here you’ll find a spirit of collaboration and willingness of people to step up and lend a hand, or band together in support of a common cause.”
The mayor is no exception. He and his wife, Mary Ann, raised their own children, Rick and Mandy, in the community and now enjoy the frequent company of their three grandchildren who live nearby.
The mayor, a retired pharmacist, cites a plethora of community and service organizations that help make Addison unique.
“It really isn’t just the number of organizations that we have in Addison,” he said. “It is the spirit of cooperation that makes every agency — be it a taxing body, a church or service club — want to work together.”
The mayor has spearheaded this cooperation by bringing businesses together to help market the community as part of a Retail Alliance. He has brought the pastors of the various churches in Addison together to work on programs, such as providing weekend meals to students who qualify for free lunches at school during the week.
But perhaps the most obvious example of cooperation pre-dates his tenure as mayor, as the annual Mayor’s Community Charity Ball enters its 26th year in 2016.
The event was begun by Village President Anthony Russotto, and has grown by leaps and bounds. Mayor Veenstra has fostered the event into becoming its own nonprofit organization, that through the annual event helps support 20 different charities and service organizations.
“The Mayor’s Community Charity Ball really exemplifies who are as a community,” Mayor Veenstra said. “These groups come together to share the work, help get the word out about their accomplishments, and share in the giving by the residents and business community of Addison. And since its inception, more than $850,000 has been raised and used to help the needy, right here in town.”
This spirit of cooperation and community mean that all are welcomed with open arms, and encouraged to become part of the Addison Advantage.