Checking in with Mayor Curry on Day 71
BY TIA CAROL JONES
In April, Jada Curry made history as the first African American woman to serve as President of the Village of Lynwood. Curry’s place in history was not lost on her when she was sworn-in on May 11. Two months later Curry is learning what it will take to make Lynwood self-sustaining and creating a welcoming environment for the Village’s residents.
One of the first things Curry had to do was hire new people to fill vacancies left when people from the old administration transitioned out. She has not had contact with the former Mayor, other than a text
message she received the day after Election Night. But, she has not let that stop her plans to turn Lynwood around.
Curry has created several opportunities to open the lines of communication for residents in Lynwood. Something she started right away was a weekly walk-and-talk. Each Thursday at 6 a.m., Curry, along with other elected officials and department heads walk the neighborhood
parks and engage residents. It is a time for residents to get to know
Curry and the other people in her administration, as well as share concerns, offer suggestions and ask questions.
Curry has humanized the office so residents feel like it is more than just a place where they come to purchase their city stickers or pay their water bills. “They come up to the front counter and it’s nothing for them to see me, helping or just talking. Or, if they come in to see me, they don’t have to jump through multiple hoops to see me, I’m coming right out,” she said.
Curry has started movies in the park every other Friday at Lakeview Park, featuring family- friendly movies. Curry gets there early to talk to residents, get to know them and hear what’s on their minds. Curry is in the process of working on a streaming platform so meetings can be viewed without residents having to come in-person. Curry has done this because she is aware that some of the more senior residents of
Lynwood might not be able to make it out to the meetings, but she wants them to be informed and included.
There is no typical day for Curry. On any given day, Curry is greeted by Village residents in the parking lot and she chats with them. Curry has been fielding a lot of residents’ questions and concerns. Curry has seen an uptick in potential businesses that want to come to Lynwood. Making Lynwood more self-sustaining is a multi-layered process.
“You always go into things like this with these great plans and you
quickly realize there is a step you have to overcome before you get to the full execution of the plan,” she said.
Curry is now looking at what it means for Lynwood to be self-sustaining and what it looks like for the residents in the Village. Residents want more restaurants and coffee shops, so Curry is working on making that happen. There is a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Family Dollar on the way,
as well as a new restaurant.
Curry is engaging entrepreneurs, ice cream shops and grocery stores. Curry wants to understand what residents want, while reaching out to those businesses and convincing them Lynwood is where they should locate their businesses.
All of the previous administrative staff resigned, and Curry had an empty office. She worked quickly to fill administrative positions. She described it as “building the plane while you’re flying it.” Curry reached out to neighboring towns for assistance.
“Those Mayors and Village administrators have been wonderful and
offering up their support and allowing us to ask questions,” she said.
Right now, Curry and the administration are doing pretty good. The
quality-of-life plan is in the works. The comprehensive plan will be facilitated by an outside agency. Curry is trying to wrap her arms around the Village finances and stabilize them.
The residents’ response to Curry being Mayor has been positive. At a recent Village meeting, there was a full house. It was something Curry had never seen before. Meetings have gone from 10 minutes to an hour and a half long. Department heads are required to attend meeting and give reports, Trustees are required to do the same. Residents also
are encouraged to engage the administration and speak up.
On Friday, July 6, Lynwood hosted its first LynVinia Live Music Experience. There were more than 500 people in attendance.
“That was a moment for me when I realized how meaningful it was for these residents to have a Mayor they can see, touch, feel and talk to,” she said.
There are two more LynVinia events in the works, and Lynwood Fest is set for Aug. 21.
For more information, visit www. lynwoodil.us.