Paul Hinterlong reflects on Naperville City Council role

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Former Naperville City Councilman Paul Hinterlong looks back on his fourteen tenure, describing it as a “rollercoaster.”

Hinterlong’s humble beginning

Hinterlong joined the Naperville City Council back in 2009 despite never having any intention of running, until others encouraged him to do so.

“They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” he said.  “They knew I had a heart for Naperville and was number one to me. And, you know, is all about Naperville and keeping what we had going going.”

Tackling controversial topics

Originally on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Hinterlong would take his seat on the dais for fourteen years, winning re-election several times.  During his tenure, he and his fellow council members had to tackle a number of controversial issues, from smart meters to Naperville’s first downtown hotel.

“I guess at that at that time, [Hotel Indigo] was controversial, I was I was really sitting on the fence for a while,” Hinterlong said.  “And then finally I was able to  get my arms around it.  It was an important vote. I do think now that it’s here and is flourishing and everything.  I think it was the right move”

Other issues that standout include destruction of the old Nichols Library, marijuana dispensaries, assault weapons ban, not to mention the pandemic.  But through it all, Hinterlong says the key to council:  compromise.

“I think compromise is a very hard thing to do.  People aren’t compromising like they used to. They won’t sit down and talk anymore,” he said.  “That’s what needs to come back. You know, we’re all here for the same reasons. Want the same things. Let’s get there.”

Something to be proud of

One of the things former councilman Hinterlong says he’s most proud of is having a part in getting the city of Naperville to where it is today.

“That’s the whole council as a whole and our staff.  I think we’ve done a great job. It’s still a very desirable city, number one or two in the in the nation every year.  We’ve been able to keep that up even through the recession.  The mayor came up with his eight years of financial principles and that righted the ship.  We had to make a lot of hard decisions in our budgetary decisions to make that happen. And we did it.”

Hinterlong had to give up his seat on city council due to the implementation of term limits, something he himself voted for.

“I think everybody deserves a chance to be on city council if if they get elected, they’re going to find it’s not as easy as they may think it is.  Wanna thank all the taxpayers for 14 years of being able to serve them.  Glad to let somebody else have a chance and again, thanks for your support and giving me the opportunity over the years to let me do what I think is best for Naperville.”

Hinterlong says now that he’s done with his time on council, he hopes to have a bit more free time for golfing, fishing, and kayaking.