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Riverside Town Hall Won't Bear Topinka's Name, But Auditorium Might

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Officials in Riverside Township want to name something in honor of late Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a Riverside native, but it won't be the historic town hall. It might be the auditorium, instead.

Topinka's son, Joe, had been pushing for the honor, but a special township committee on Wednesday night voted against renaming – or even dedicating – the 111-year-old Riverisde Town Hall after the trailblazing politician.

"He was just disappointed," said Riverside Township Supervisor Richard Tuscher. "He had been pushing for it for a long time."

Topinka, who was born in Riverside, was the state's first woman to be elected state treasurer, the first Republican woman nominated for governor, first woman to serve as state Republican chair, and first woman to win two different statewide offices. She died last December, after suffering a stroke.

Tuscher said a lot of people provided input before the committee voted not to name the town hall after Topinka.

"These people really don't want to rename the building. They want to honor Judy in some way, but they don't want to rename this historic building," he said.


He said Riverside residents are attached to the town hall's historic nature.

"To be very honest with you, people are still going to call it the Riverside Town Hall," Tuscher said

That's why he believes it's a better idea to rename the auditorium on the second floor of the town hall after Topinka.

"They will call it the Judy Baar Topinka auditorium," he said.

A township committee gave its backing to that idea, and the recommendation goes to the full township board for a vote later this month.

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