The continued revitalization of Franklin Park’s industrial, retail and commercial corridors is a
key motivator for Karen Special’s desire to continue to serve as a Village Trustee. Karen serves as
chair of the Property, Planning, Zoning and Building Committee.
Karen was appointed to the Franklin Park Plan Commission in 2009 where she worked to identify long range
planning goals for our area’s retail corridors including the Grand Corridor, the Grand and Mannheim
shopping area, the Mannheim Road Corridor and the Franklin Avenue downtown district. Today, these
retail districts are experiencing a remarkable revitalization, adding new national retail establishments,
large and small businesses and a diverse range of dining options.
Karen has lived in the Franklin Park area for over 40 years and she and her husband have three daughters.
As a mother, Karen believes that when parents are involved with their children’s school and
extracurricular activities, not only do the children thrive, but so does the community. Karen was an active
member of the PTA Executive Board focusing her attention on fundraising and creating scholarship programs
and now is a volunteer for BBQ day. She developed a program to link Franklin Park Seniors with our
schoolchildren by bringing the residents from the Senior Towers to theater performances at Hester Junior
High School. She is committed to community service, volunteering for the Girl Scouts and assisting with
Cheerleading efforts for the Leyden Bears Football program, where she worked to instill confidence and pride
in young girls.
Karen works hard to create a “senior friendly” environment in our town and strongly believes
that we must honor the people who built our community and make sure they can spend their retirement in our
community, safe and secure with a good quality of life. As a Trustee, she has worked hard to hold the line
on taxes while maintaining a high level of Village service. Karen supports maintaining highly-trained and
well-equipped Police and Fire departments. She loves serving as a liaison to the Senior community and
utilizing their input to create more programs and opportunities to allow them to maintain their vitality and
enjoy their golden years in Franklin Park.
Karen knows that people comprise a community and that it is critical that all voices be heard and that we
work together to continue the improvements begun since Mayor Pedersen took office. She works on efforts to
strengthen alliances with the park district, local schools and service organizations to move our community
further along the path of progress. Karen works hard to ensure the Village continues to offer affordable,
family-focused events and foster an atmosphere of trust and pride.
As Trustee, Karen has worked to discover new avenues of funding to support improvements to our aging
infrastructure to avoid overburdening the taxpayers. She believes that problems can be solved and progress
can be made when people come together to lend their voices to the process and as Village Trustee she has
continued the efforts of Mayor Pedersen to foster an open dialog with our residents and businesses to
support improvements in our community.
Karen also served on the Franklin Park Zoning Board of Appeals from 1994 through 1997. She is a
professional working in residential real estate. Her husband Mike is a board member of the District 84