To honor Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. for his distinguished career with the City as council president for 17 years and mayor for 15, City of Dearborn TV (CDTV) has created a rich video of the lasting improvements he made to Dearborn.
The compilation highlights his leadership and perseverance throughout decades of dedication, which presented many challenges and produced many notable results.
Beginning Dec. 21, residents can watch it any time using the on-demand platform at https://cdtv.viebit.com/player.php?hash=kCTseXGdlnUm, which can also be accessed from the cityofdearborn.org. It can be watched on the City’s Youtube channel at https://youtu.be/dJn3ZMJW8II (see video below).
It’ll also be aired on CDTV, which is cable channel 12 on Comcast and channel 10 on WOW! (See schedule at the end of this article).
With in-person tributes not being possible due to COVID safety concerns, a dozen community leaders from across Dearborn, as well as state and regional leaders, were interviewed for the video; they are guides down the path of recent history.
Mayor O’Reilly advanced initiatives that modernized the City and made it a larger magnet for culture. Significantly, it was Mayor O’Reilly who recruited Artspace to transform the historic City Hall building into an innovative space for artists to live and create, with plans for public exhibits and events, and with the goal of being an economic driver for the east downtown.
The other side of that landmark project was moving the operations of City Hall to the Dearborn Administrative Center, making services more accessible and efficient for residents and ensuring a lasting cost-saving measure for the City’s budget.
During his administration, the John D. Dingell Train Station was constructed with federal grant dollars and added to the city’s reputation as a sought-after destination and a regional transportation hub.
He also prioritized recreation in Dearborn through the installation of new playground equipment at multiple parks, and the construction of bike paths, splash pads, a new family pool at Ford Woods Park and a comprehensive bathhouse at Dunworth Pool, which is slated to open early 2022. It was his vision that added resort cabins and more modern amenities to Camp Dearborn.
Mayor O’Reilly also championed improvements that streamlined processes and removed unnecessary obstacles. By eliminating the need for escrow accounts for those purchasing homes that needed to be brought up to code, he made it easier and more economical for residents to invest in Dearborn.
He was devoted to the strength and quality of neighborhoods throughout his administration. Two key areas of focus were infrastructure and City relations. By his directive the City moved away from building caissons to a sewer separation model to meet federally-mandated measures to prevent pollution from entering the Rouge River.
As a result, many neighborhoods also have new streets and water mains. He also strongly supported and promoted neighborhood associations as conduits between the City and its residents.
His leadership skills were honed at the federal level, working for the late Congressman John Dingell. He also was a staff member in the State Legislature.
Eventually his interests led him to seek public office in the community that he loved. While serving Dearborn, his broad knowledge and advocacy capabilities were recognized by regional and state organizations, such as the Michigan Municipal League, where he rose to leadership positions and was able to impact larger issues.
As a retiree, Mayor O’Reilly plans to continue living in Dearborn with his wife, Christina.
CDTV broadcast schedule
The tribute video will play on CDTV (Comcast Channel 12 and WOW Channel 10) on the following schedule:
• Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.
• Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
• Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. and noon