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Sexton Running to Keep Himself, Village Healthy

Mayor views election campaign as therapeutic

Most political candidates see an election campaign as exhausting. Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton sees his as therapeutic.

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In a recent conversation with the Evergreen Park Patch, Sexton said his bid for a fourth term is helping him recover from the West Nile virus that struck him last summer. From being bedridden, to using a wheelchair and then a walker, Sexton is now walking unaided although slowly and deliberately. There is more physical therapy to be endured, “but I am way ahead of the curve,” he said about his recovery.

“I think it’s good I’m running. I need the wherewithal. I need the challenge. It’s no more difficult than physical therapy,” Sexton said.

He spent three weeks in intensive care at Advocate Christ Medical Center. He then spent five weeks re-learning simple skills like how to get out of bed. Physical therapy intensified at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

“Things really started to come together, thanks to great therapists,” Sexton said.

He also credited his five grandchildren for propelling him forward. He gave them a promise in September that he would walk with them, house to house on Halloween. He accomplished his goal.

“There are challenges you set yourself up for in life and you’ve got to produce,” Sexton said.

Projects that Sexton has initiated are also coming to fruition; and that’s another reason he’s running for mayor. He wants to see them through.

“There’s a lot on my plate and I didn’t think it was time to hang it up,” Sexton said.

Two projects in particular are at the top of Sexton’s list to complete: Evergreen Plaza and the seven-acre site that used to house Webb Ford. Both are located on 95th Street. Both have positive possibilities. A new grocery store may get its introduction to the Chicago area in the old Webb Ford site and new developer is looking over the Plaza site.

“I’m in the midst of talking with them,” Sexton said of the Debartolo Group, a real estate development company out of Florida, who is doing its 60-day due diligence. Many questions are being asked and answers given. Such questions include will Carson’s stay, what other retailers can they get, and what would it cost to rebuild the Plaza?

“I am confident the new developer can do it,” Sexton said.

After the 60 days are complete, Sexton said he would know more, including the decision regarding whether or not Debartolo will take on the project of rebuilding the Plaza.

“I think they will,” he said.

New businesses in other designated areas are also a priority and the village has a record of bringing in such eateries as Famous Dave’s and the soon-to-be opened Culvers. Evergreen Park will also boast of a Meijer and Menards.

The mayor and the village staff are also working on bringing Walgreens to the southeast corner of 95th and Pulaski, where a muffler shop now stands. At the recent zoning board meeting citizens were concerned on how it would affect the surrounding residential neighborhood and Sexton, who lives one house off a commercial area, understands their apprehension.

Sexton said he doesn’t want any of the neighbors “disrupted” and that their concerns, such as increased traffic and where to place exits and entrances so they can ease the burdens on the neighborhood can all be worked out with the developer.

Walgreens still needs to go before the Village Board and the building commissioner before ground can be broken. “There’s a lot of work to de done there,” said Sexton.

Sexton knows about the work that needs to be done to bring a business to town, or an idea to reality, both as an appointee and elected official. He was named to the Youth Commission in 1983 and the Police Commission in 1985. He was first elected in 1987 as a trustee. He was appointed village clerk in 1995 and elected mayor in 2001.

In addition to keeping the town financially healthy, Sexton is proud of the fact that the village offers parks and playgrounds, including the new 50-acre park on what was the old golf course near 91st and California. He’s also proud of the continued public safety of the villagers and keeping the day to day operation of the village on an even keel.

Sexton grew up in Little Flower Parish in the neighborhood just north of Beverly in Chicago. He married his wife, Karen, 39 years ago. They settled in Evergreen Park 37 years ago.

“I used to think my parents were strange because they lived in one house all their lives. Now it looks like I’ll live all my life in one house,” he laughed.

In that house Sexton and his wife raised three children who have since married and are raising their children in Evergreen Park.

“That’s a phenomenon in Evergreen Park and there is lots of that happening here,” Sexton said. “It’s a testament to a good neighborhood.

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Kay January 17, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Just a quick update Family restaurants: Barraccos Rosangelas Capitavi Famous Daves Golden Griddle Grocery stores : Petes and two Aldis Parks: at least one in each quadrant with new equipment Softball fields in multiple places Yukich Field and the new green space at 91st street. And multiple smaller parks. Not a bad list for a Village that is about 2 square miles
Kay January 17, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Sorry should have looked at evergreenlove13 I missed a lot of stores.
SatisifedEPResident January 17, 2013 at 09:57 PM
God Bless and God Speed Mayor! Thank you for all you do and have done for this village. Looking forward to your re-election in April!
evergreenlove13 January 17, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Kay, you picked up some stores that I forgot. I think we could both go on and on with a list of all the good stuff in this town but it might be falling on deaf ears. ;)
TM January 17, 2013 at 11:06 PM
I can hear you!! Keep it coming
evergreenlove13 January 17, 2013 at 11:17 PM
TM. ;) I guess we can hold our breath for these people to try to tell us how we are wrong about all the great things. These people are silly.
AP January 18, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Wow, this move is like that of a big bully and big baby. Anyone who has an idea that's not in line with his gets steamrolled, and then those that stand up he goes and gets his lawyers involved to throw them off the ballot. Does the Mayor know that there's an unofficial boycott of EP from Beverly people? Or that stores like Meijers and Menards will kill many small businesses in EP? If he's such a visionary, why does the Plaza have such a high vacancy rate? Or why is Webb Ford still empty -- he told us over a year ago that a hot new concept in grocery was coming there, but so far the for sale sign is still up -- so what's the deal? Have fun in EP, maybe Jimmy can get'cha a job making min wage over at Ross Dress For Less or sweepin' the lumber yard at Menards. Oh wait, maybe you can work the deli counter at Aldi's, ANOTHER great addition to EP!
Kay January 18, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Wow AP for starters you must be a big roller that you cant appreciate a store that allows people to get a good value ie. Ross or Aldi. Second I belong to a group called Moms of Beverly where moms discuss good play opportunities, great restaurants, best preschools, and where to find things for the kids. All to often the mom of BEVERLY suggest things in EVERGREEN PARK. Library activities, Rec Dept preschool, deals at walmart ect. Doesn't seem like these hundreds of Beverly moms are boycotting EP. I'm not sure if you are aware of the economy probably not since you don't need a value, but it's not exactly booming anywhere. Trying to fill vacant retail is very difficult right now seeing as businesses are apprehensive to open new stores and I'm pretty sure this is an issue everywhere currently including Beverly, Oak Lawn, and Palos. You obviously don't have any money issues so don't worry about it.
evergreenlove13 January 18, 2013 at 03:00 AM
So I am guessing you are a Beverly resident who is mad that some tree's were cut down?
ChiResident January 18, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I guess we're supposed to be impressed by the Mayor getting 2nd-tier discount stores in EP, bargain grocery chains, chicken wing shacks and nail salons. I guess we're also supposed to be impressed that you belong to the "Moms of Beverly" facebook page. You were right about one thing, though: Filling vacant retail is very difficult right now, so the Mayor's solution? BUILD MORE RETAIL SPACES ON OPEN GREEN SPACE. I'm sure the existing property owners in EP are PLEASED about that, as are the small business owners who will have out-of-state Big Box stores cut into their profits. Also, did you know that the Meijer/Menards development is got a real nice tax break? Please go ahead and try to prove how the Meijer/Menards development helps out EP or Beverly.
Kells January 18, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Very well said AP. Sexton sells out EP to any big box store. As for the rude comment below, Beverly residents were not just interested in cutting down trees. At the board meeting they had some very logical concerns and presented themselves very professional. They may very well to be proven right, sacrificing green space for big box stores only to make other small business go out of business creating brown space. Of course, the mayor was very rude to them and would not answer their questions. They left pretty angry.
Kay January 18, 2013 at 09:04 PM
I guess it makes absolutely no difference if you are impressed or not seeing as you don't live here. As for myself I am also not impressed that I belong to moms of Beverly just stating a fact. As I mentioned earlier I enjoy having the ability to shop for my groceries at a reason price bc I don't like to waste money. As far as that green space went Mayor Sexton attempted to purchase it and keep it as a golf course. The owner Babe was the one who sold the land to Meijer/Menards. Now the fact that the same argument was made when Walmart opened that is was going to impact smaller stores didnt happen then so why would it now. Ace, Exclamations, AJ meat market all still here. As for it's impact on EP it will bring money to the village. And in the best interest of all the remaining property is being turned into open space for all to enjoy. Place to play with my kids, good values, and a wonderful community of people who could ask for more. I've lived here for 35 years and am extremely happy.
ep concerned January 20, 2013 at 07:14 AM
Well we don't have a community pool but we have frisbee golf.....wow!
ep concerned January 20, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Some of those trees were over a 100 years old. But don't worry you can buy one from the village!
ep concerned March 02, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Just reading back on some stories. This one takes the cake for the pity party train rolling into the station. I think we all know you were sick Mr Mayor but it may be time to move on. You have bullied way too many people here. I see that someone is running against you. I would like to hear about what you have to say about the race and your opponent. Maybe a debate would be a good idea?
evergreenlove13 March 03, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Is this Mr or Mrs. Good?
evergreenlove13 March 03, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Oh yeah, quit acting like a cry baby. Your posts are laughable with how childish you are being.
ep concerned March 04, 2013 at 12:03 AM
I can assure you I am neither. A local business owner though concerned about the village and my business.
evergreenlove13 March 04, 2013 at 01:02 AM
That's right, you are the same business owner who refuses to say what business they own. I highly doubt that you are really a business owner because a true business owner would not blame a mayor for a business failing. I am pretty convinced that you are either Mr. or Mrs. Good but keep denying it if you must.
ep concerned March 04, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Maybe if We would have gotten tif money we would be a bit better off. As it stands now we are holding our own and that's about it. I can't give you what I don't have. But I'm not opening ourselves to further harrassment.
evergreenlove13 March 04, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Maybe you just don't have a good business. Meaning stuff people need or want. You cannot blame a mayor for the fact that your business isn't doing great. I am almost certain that Calabria isn't blaming the mayor. I am not out to harass you, I just don't feel that you are being honest.
ep concerned March 04, 2013 at 03:45 AM
I'm being honest but am not going to expose myself to harrassment. That's how it goes around here. I am not alone by saying that other businesses feel the same way I do. Maybe we feel we can be doing better if we got TIF MONEY. IT DOESN'T SEEM FAIR and we were never approached about it then we read in the paper that Petes gets 1 mil......kinda hurts actually.
TM March 11, 2013 at 02:51 PM
evergreenlove13, I also would LOVE to know what business ep concerned owns. If he/she was really concerned about Evergreen Park, then they would look into Mrs Good, and her husband, since he seems to be the one calling the shots and running the show. Those two disgust me! Hopefully there are not enough morons to write her in.
evergreenlove13 March 11, 2013 at 04:54 PM
I also noticed that it is always Mr. Good who is talking, why isn't he running? TM, Mr. Good even responded to me on another article. I also find it pretty funny that he was on a facebook page blasting the mayor for having political signs on 95th st., guess what is now on 95th street in the old Chuck's Barber Shop window...."Good for Mayor"! Gotta love hypocrisy ;)
ep concerned March 21, 2013 at 04:09 AM
Tm and love 13.......you have no idea how far off you really are. Too funny!
evergreenlove13 March 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Yet again you fail to explain yourself. You refuse to give facts to back up your stories. That to me means that you are lying.
ep concerned March 22, 2013 at 02:22 AM
What facts do you want exactly?
ep concerned March 22, 2013 at 02:22 AM
And no I'm not lying.....
TM March 23, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Maybe, what business or kind of business you own? I shop local so I want to make sure I am giving my business to someone sane and responsible. And let me just say this, the person (Mr Good, Mrs Good, who knows) is ridiculous. She is on Facebook complaining about paper clips. Grow up
evergreenlove13 March 23, 2013 at 08:58 PM
For starters explain about all these other people who don't like the job the Mayor is doing and why. Explain why you don't like the Mayor. Explain yourself about TIF money. Explain yourself about all the other things you have thrown out their about the Mayor. You just throw out statements because you obviously don't like him personally.

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