LOMBARD – When Sean McMenemy moved to Lombard from Kansas City in 1999, he was charmed by the small-town feel, by the architecture of the historic downtown and by the camaraderie of the local merchants.
He felt inspired to find a way to help foster development in town, so about 10 years ago, he created Hello Lombard, a website that showcases some of the village's highlights and displays Lombard in a positive light.
"If I can do something that makes the downtown more attractive, that's also helping me," he said.
McMenemy treats Hello Lombard (hellolombard.com) similar to a blog and puts up a new post every few months. He's not affiliated with any community or downtown development organizations. He's simply one man doing his part to make a difference.
In recent months, he's begun to solicit the help of other community members to help him write blog posts. He sees the limits to what he and his wife know about the village and hopes that other people can add their voices and experiences to the site.
"I just love the sense of community and the architecture of the downtown," he said. "I hadn't realized [before moving here] that the merchants all talk to each other. It's like one big business."
Soon, McMenemy is hoping to organize a network of local artists who will meet throughout the village to sketch, paint and photograph things throughout town. He said he's met many creative local people and wants to work with them to create art that is tied to Lombard.
Overwhelmingly, he wants to highlight the positives of Lombard, rather than the negatives.
"There are all kinds of things to complain about," McMenemy said. "I think I'd like to help build something, rather than destroy it."