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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