By Nona Tepper
Mayor Anthony Calderone officially announced he will not seek another term on Dec. 6, naming his personal and professional life as reasons he's leaving office after 20 years. The Review broke the news on Nov. 30 that Calderone would not seek a sixth term as mayor.
"This decision was a difficult one to make; and a heavy-hearted one," Calderone wrote Dec. 6 in a reflective Facebook post.
"I will fulfill and complete the balance of my term with the same passion and earnest desire that I so did when I began this journey."
Calderone was elected mayor in 1999, after serving as village commissioner for eight years. He succeeded the late Lorraine Popelka, who served as the village's first female mayor for 12 years. Calderone said he used his professional skills to change the culture at village hall, as well as how it delivered its services, when he first entered office. Calderone is the owner of Illinois Alarm Service, a security alarm firm.
"I never imagined serving as mayor for 20 years, but it was a calling that I felt needed to be answered as our village was faltering, and it took enormous effort to get it on track for the future," he wrote.
Calderone named ushering in new businesses, helping the village create its own identity, appointing volunteers to serve on boards and commissions and more as accomplishments he's proud of.
He named the village's staff -- including its legal, engineering, land planning and financial team -- as "by far the finest anywhere." But he said finances continue to be a challenge for Forest Park.
"The challenges of zoning regulation in a mature village, unfunded mandates and limited finances will continue to be challenging," he wrote.
A lifelong resident of the village, Calderone's family first settled in Forest Park more than 100 years ago. Growing up, he delivered newspapers. When the time came, he attended Proviso East High School.
Calderone served in various volunteer roles in the village, including the president of the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park, president of the West Central Municipal Conference, volunteering with the Lions Club and much more.
"Forest Park runs through my veins and I will always love this community and its people," he wrote. "I wish the very best for a bright and vibrant future for our amazing community. The good people of our town will always remain in my heart."