At 81, Maywood Resident Bobbie McFadyen Has No Time for Cynicism

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Maywood resident Bobbie McFadyen, third from left, wants other residents to get involved in the community. On Nov. 3, she hosted a discussion on community concerns at her home, which was attended by Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, second from left. | Submitted photo

Friday, November 4, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Bobbie McFadyen, 81, can’t take it easy. A resident of Maywood for over 33 years, she’s too tired to sit still. That’s why, on the evening of Nov. 3, she gathered roughly 15 other tired and exasperated residents in her home, located on the corner of 19th Ave. and Oak St., to talk about ways they could revitalize both themselves and their community.

“I’ve been pretty disgusted,” McFadyen said candidly during a phone interview today.

Her home, she said, has been crashed into twice since she’s been living in it. The first time, McFadyen said, it was hit by a young female driver whose car “went all the way into the back of the house.” Her downstairs sustained so much damage it had to be redone, she said.

“In the next [crash], the only thing that kept the car from going into the wall again were the hedges,” McFadyen recalled. “The fence is still down.”

On top of the reckless traffic, she said, there’s what she perceives as the lack of a uniformed police presence in her neighborhood. The lack of camera surveillance. The alleys badly in need of repair. The dearth of local news that she can access with the ease and regularity of the now-defunct Maywood Herald or Pioneer Press. The sky-high water bills. The poor service she gets when she calls, or visits, village hall. The absence of a satisfactory full-service grocery store in town. The list goes on.

McFadyen, who said she’s known Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins for decades, added that she isn’t necessarily laying all of the blame for the village’s problems at the feet of its officials and employees.

Most of the issues she and her group discussed last night, she said, have been happening for many years and have created an atmosphere of cynicism and inaction that only results in the problems becoming even more entrenched, she said.

“Theres’s a lot of work to be done,” McFadyen said. “I believe that we deserve to have nice things just like other communities, but if we don’t ask for them, how do we get them? I want the best, at least as much as I can handle, so I’m going to do what I can.”

That’s why the 81-year-old regular churchgoer, along with her like-minded neighbors, are looking into starting a block club. They’re also eyeing their next meeting date. Things are ramping up — better later than not at all.

“We don’t get involved enough to ask about things and go to the meetings,” McFadyen said. “I used to go all the time and I don’t go all that often, anymore.”

Lately, McFadyen said, she’s been looking to the future.

At last night’s meeting, the group had the sympathetic ear of first-term Trustee Isiah Brandon, 28, who had attended the meeting upon McFadyen’s invitation. She said she’d also invited the mayor, but Perkins had a scheduling conflict.

“These residents have really been holding on to the belief that things can get better in Maywood for a very, very long time,” said Brandon. “They’re still holding on and that was something to appreciate from them.”

Brandon said he thinks there needs to be more systematic back-and-forth communication between village officials and residents.

“It’s an educational situation,” the trustee said. “We must set out to explain to residents how we operate. People should know, for instance, when a street sweeper is scheduled to come into their area. Things like that aren’t as clear as they should be to residents, so we must make them as easy as possible.”

There are glimmers of hope, Brandon and McFadyen indicated. Although the Herald is no longer here, the elderly Maywoodian said she sometimes treks to the bank or other local facilities to pick up the West Suburban Journal, a print weekly that publishes in Maywood and other suburbs.

And village officials aren’t completely unresponsive . Sometimes, she said, it may take multiple calls before her concern is handled. What’s more, she had a sitting trustee in her living room to listen to the group’s worries.

Brandon said he’s currently working on his own system of outreach, which would involve hosting regular meetings throughout the village. He said the meetings could be vehicles to gather complaints similar to those McFadyen has aired for years and to make sure that they’re resolved.

“We’ve got to make ourselves more available as village officials,” said Brandon. “We can’t just wait for them to come to us. We have to find ways to come out to people, as well, and this system [of meetings and tracking complaints] provides a great opportunity for that.”

An answer for the long-run, McFadyen said, is for more young people get active in the community. In the meantime, she noted, she’ll have to take the lead. VFP

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11 thoughts on “At 81, Maywood Resident Bobbie McFadyen Has No Time for Cynicism”

    1. It is going to take a while until the whole community can come together and decide if the village of Maywood wants to move forward. It starts with the community that wants to have Maywood rise again.

      1. Like what Ms. Bobbie McFadyen stated that the community needs to attend this town hall meetings and hold the members accountable.

  1. I applaud Ms. Bobbie McFadyen at her age of 81 that is really taking a stance to make a difference in the village of Maywood. She hit every nail that I totally agree with her. I also applaud Trustee Isiah Brandon for being young and proactive in the village of Maywood and talking to the citizens and building a relationship. I see great potential in him as a true leader and visionary for the village of Maywood.

  2. Isiah is a breath of fresh air on the village board, some of it is youth which is refreshing but he really wants to do good for the village and puts energy into his role.
    Part of the problem around the village, and where a lot of the problems exist, is that many (not all) village employees are cynical as well and not well motivated–some are downright lazy. A lot of them need to move on or be let go, but it just doesn’t seem to happen. Sometimes i hear it blamed on the unions, but sometimes I think its based on nepotism too. Whatever it is that’s a big part of the problem in the community and needs to be better addressed. Unfortunately after awhile citizens get cynical too and we can’t let that happen; the town is starting to look a lot better over the last several years, but the village needs to step up its game too and get more aggressive about the things that ail us. We do have a lot of good people, great homes and a lot of positives going for us–we just all need to step up our game and demand more from ourselves, our village officials and employees.

    1. You hit that note on the nail on what you typed. Like I said, “It is up to the community itself, that really wants to make a change in the village of Maywood.”

  3. Kudos to people who stand up for what they believe in. I am also an avid fighter for what I believe. I believe we as a people can pull together and make this a better community. Where do we start? I’m so glad you ask the question. First and foremost form a block club, go to the clerk’s office and pick up a packet to start a “Block Club.” Stay informed by sending a representatives to each and every board meeting. Find out for yourselves exactly what’s going on. This is election time. You’re going to hear many excuses as to why there have been little to no improvement in this financially stressed community for years.

  4. lets-talk.jpg

    Hey guys! Make sure that you attend this meeting that Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon is hosting, and have your voice be heard.

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