Matt Lulich retires after 29 years as park board attorney

Matthew Lulich bid good-bye to the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Tuesday after serving as the board’s attorney for nearly 29 years.
Dallas Collins, president of the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, thanks Matthew Lulich for his nearly 29 years of service as the board's attorney. He served for the last time at the Tuesday, Aug. 20, board meeting. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
  Dallas Collins, president of
  Homewood-Flossmoor Park
  District, thanks Matthew
  Lulich for his nearly 29 years
  of service as the board's
  attorney. He served for the
  last time at the Aug. 20
  board meeting.
  
(Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)
 

“The park district is probably my longest standing client,” Lulich said. He is retiring from his law practice after 38 years. He was in partnership with former Flossmoor resident Ken Goff. 

Lulich said park district business involved him in many facets of the law, including acquiring property, negotiations, human resources and personnel issues. “We do everything here that large corporations do,” he added.
 
One of the most trying times was shortly after he took the position in October 1990. The park district was trying to acquire the former Cherry Hills Golf Course. The first attempt at negotiations failed, but several years later the issue came up again. 
 
The park district had a “Keep It Green” referendum in 1998 to acquire three properties — Cherry Hills, which today is Coyote Run Golf Course, the former Hines Lumber site, which today is Millennium Park and the former Nike military site on 187th Street, which today is Patriots Park. 
 
Lulich represented the park district in a court settlement after the owners of Cherry Hills and the park district couldn’t amicably reach a purchase price. 
 
Sue Bertram, a former park commissioner, remembered those days. She applauded Lulich for allowing commissioners to hash out issues before he spoke.
 
“Some of those board meetings went until midnight. Matt was always there and he would let us kick around all our thoughts on the issues and then, when we thought we were done, he’d tell us what we needed to do and why,” she recalled, noting commissioners always appreciated and accepted his advice.
 
“I did get tested by fire,” Lulich said. “A couple rounds of Cherry Hills (talks) often times were nasty and it was a credit to the commissioners at the time. One of the main things that impressed me almost without exception was all the people who served on this board over the years always had the best interest of the park district at heart.”
 
He said he had “the good fortune to only have two executive directors to deal with over the years.”  When he started he worked with Greg Meyer. When Meyer retired, Debbie Kopas, the district’s business manager, moved into the executive director’s position in May 2006.
 
“Greg was a legend in park district lore and he pushed the Cherry Hills thing. When he retired and Debbie came in, we didn’t miss a beat,” Lulich said.
 
Kopas thanked Lulich for not only his years of invaluable service to the board, but his willingness to mentor and coach her. She appreciated the time he took on park district business and believed he, too, always had the best interest of the park district at heart.

The board will now be represented by Steve Adams of Robbins Schwartz.
 

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