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Monday, August 8, 2022

Park Forest Mayor To Present ‘Working With State & Local Elected Officials’ at National Housing Cooperatives Conference

John Ostenburg

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Park Forest Mayor John A. Ostenburg will be presenter for a workshop on “Working with State & Local Elected Officials” at the annual conference of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) in Seattle October 30 through November 2.

The conference is expected to draw cooperative housing residents and officials from across the country. The workshop will be a component of the conference’s “Legal & Legislative Issues” track.

In addition to serving as Park Forest’s mayor since 1999, Ostenburg served seven years as a Park Forest Trustee and two years as a member of the House of Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly. He has been a director of the Birch Street Townhomes Cooperative, where he resides, since 1983.

The mayor has presented similar workshops over the years at NAHC conferences in Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver. He wrote two articles on the topic – “Influencing Local Government: Steps Co- ops Can Follow” and “Park Forest Co-ops: Influencing State & Local Government” – for the March/April 2001 edition of the Cooperative Housing Bulletin, the official publication of the NAHC.

“Housing cooperatives are miniature versions of local government,” Ostenburg explained. “The residents elect their governing officers who are responsible for the operations and well-being of the cooperative, just as is the case in local government. Yet, many times cooperative officials aren’t aware of ordinances and legislation that could have either a positive or a negative effect on the cooperative. This workshop will focus on how to keep abreast of such matters, and how to make elected officials aware of the impact those measures may have on the cooperative.”

Five separate housing cooperatives exist within Park Forest, representing about one-quarter of the municipality’s housing stock.

Ostenburg has had long-standing involvement in housing-related matters. He served on the board of the South Suburban Housing Center, on the Housing/Urban & Economic Development Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives, and on the Housing Committee of the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association (SSMMA). He currently serves on the Housing & Community Development Committee of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and is the official SSMMA liaison to the Chicago Southland Housing & Community Development Collaborative. His current tenure as a director of the Cook County Land Bank Authority and as a member of the Steering Committee for the Community & Economic Development Committee of the National League of Cities provides additional housing- related background.

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