Dolton — Mayor Shaw, members of the Village Board and Village Hall, and leaders of community organizations joined about 150 people at the June 23 dedication of the new Waterfall, located across from the Village Hall and near the Village Library.
The Waterfall is a spectacular public park display with a courtyard, park seating and garden.
Mayor Shaw said that Waterfall is a part of a larger effort to bring cultural displays to Dolton and the South Suburbs.
The mayor said that a bill he introduced last year that was adopted and signed by Governor George Ryan also opens the door to the building of an ethnic museum that would be located in the South Suburbs to showcase the heritage of all ethnic groups in the growing South Suburban region.
“This would not have been possible had we not received support from Springfield,” said Shaw who also serves as the 15th District State Senator which includes Dolton and several neighboring suburbs.
“This is just one more step in the advancing progress in Dolton. The enabling legislation I introduced and that the legislature adopted will put a multi-cultural museum in the South Suburbs to reflect the rich diversity we have in the South Suburbs. It would serve everyone.”
Shaw said that the planning for the Waterfall began four years ago as he was looking out his Village office window.
“I saw an empty field out here and all we were doing was cutting the grass,” Shaw recalled.
“I thought, this was a waste of space and we sought grant monies to help put something there that would expand the cultural offerings in Dolton and the South Suburbs. The first effort was not good and I did not like it. So we went back to the planning board and this is what we have.”
The new Waterfall is a massive structure with three large fountains that move thousands of gallons of water every hour.
“This waterfall is as good if not better than the waterfall and cultural displays thatyou find in Chicago. You don’t have to go to Chicago now to enjoy something like this. We have something right in our own back yards,” Shaw said.
Harris, who is expected to announce a candidacy to recover his legislative seat, said that he was proud to have worked with Senator Shaw and Representative Mary Flowers to secure the grant monies to pay for the Waterfall.
“I was able to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for the district for each of the villages and that is what a state representative should be doing,” Harris said.
Flowers praised the progress Dolton has experienced and credited Shaw, the Village board of trustees and Harris for the effort.
“You are very fortunate to have Mayor Shaw,” Flowers said.
“This is a beautiful city and Mayor Shaw has taken your tax dollars and made this a better village for everyone.”
Finance Committee Chairman Ronnie Lewis served as emcee introducing the many guests who attended the dedication and ribbon cutting.
Pastor Britt, a Dolton resident, offered an invocation at the opening of the event. Members of the Police and Fire Departments also attended the dedication. Deputy Police Supt. Christal Hodge, who is serving as acting police superintendent, was in attendance, as was Fire Chief Mark Mullen.
About two dozen residents of the Dorchester Senior Center also brought out their lawn chairs and enjoyed the ceremony and the wonderful weather.
“Sitting here listening to the waterfall is a great feeling,” one senior said.
The Village provided food and refreshments to guests that included dozens of children and residents of the community.
“This is a credit to the community,” said Lewis. “When we first started talking about a waterfall, we had a vision. The Mayor saw what we needed and made it happen. I think it looks great.”
Said Pastor Britt, “It’s nice that we don’t have to go all the way downtown to enjoy something as beautiful as this is. It’s a very pleasant and enjoyable place to relax for residents and it is the kind of thing that we have been seeing coming to our South Suburbs.”
Also in attendance were Village Clerk Judith Evans and Village Trustees Willie Lowe and Gary Lambert. Board of Review Commissioner Robert Shaw also attended and greeted visitors to the Waterfall.