An Eye to the Future Gurnee's First Community Development Director Hits the Ground Running

By Susnjara, Bob | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 5, 2003 | Go to article overview

An Eye to the Future Gurnee's First Community Development Director Hits the Ground Running


Susnjara, Bob, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Bob Susnjara Daily Herald Staff Writer

Gurnee's new community development director craves action, so it looks like he's landed in the right spot.

Not only does Dudley Onderdonk oversee three village divisions - building, engineering and planning - but he's also involved with projects such as East Grand Avenue revitalization, crafting a new nuisance ordinance and getting rid of billboards in Gurnee.

Village Administrator James Hayner, tongue firmly planted in cheek, likes to periodically check in with Onderdonk, 53.

"Jim Hayner will come in my office and say, 'Are you bored yet?' No, not in this town. There's a lot going on in the development side of things. And, also, we work very closely with other units of government," Onderdonk said.

Gurnee scoped the country before hiring Onderdonk to fill the slot of the newly created community development director. The field was narrowed to a final eight when the village board settled on Onderdonk in December 2002.

Onderdonk came to Gurnee after eight months with a Wheaton consulting firm, Planning Resources Inc. Previously, he spent almost six years as planning and community development director with the village of Oak Park.

He flipped his resume to Gurnee after hearing through a friend the village wanted a community development chief.

"This is going to sound weird," Onderdonk said. "I really enjoy local government. I built my career (in government). As a consultant, you get in, do a report and then you leave. And you really never establish any long-term relationships with anybody."

Gurnee Assistant Village Administrator Brad Burke said Onderdonk has been a good fit, especially in the leadership area. He said Onderdonk's 30-year planning and community development career has proven valuable in a village government that has young employees in many key positions. …

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