On Thursday, a House Joint Resolution to create the Donald E. Stephens Memorial Bridge on the Balmoral Avenue bridge over Interstate 294 was adopted by the Illinois House. This legislation was introduced by State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) and House Assistant Minority Leader Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont) is a chief co-sponsor of the resolution. He is also the son of the late Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens.
“Today is a wonderful day for the Rosemont community and my family personally,” said Leader Stephens. “It is very humbling to see this resolution adopted in the House today and this tremendous honor bestowed upon my father and his accomplishments. I’m glad his memory will continue to live on in the community where he served, and all who encounter this bridge will remember his legacy.”
Donald E. Stephens was born in Chicago on March 13th, 1928. In the mid-1950’s, he sold insurance in unincorporated Leyden Township which would one day become Rosemont. These homes needed municipal services, like fire protection, but no communities neighboring it agreed to annex the area. Stephens then helped incorporate the town and became its first mayor, serving as mayor of Rosemont until his death in 2007 and as one of the longest-serving mayors in Illinois.
Around the time when Stephens first became mayor, this area had bars, a few farms, and a regularly-flooding creek. Now, the Village of Rosemont is home to the Allstate Arena, Rosemont Theater, Parkway Bank Park, Impact Field, the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and Museum of Hummels.
House Joint Resolution 31 to create the Donald E. Stephens Memorial Bridge was adopted in the House unanimously. It now heads to the Senate for consideration and adoption.