OPDC celebrates 31st, presents Nicholases


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The Oak Park Development Corporation celebrated its 31st year of assisting businesses in the village at its annual meeting March 15 at The Village Players Theatre.

OPDC also presented its annual Nicholas Awards, given to business and/or property owners that "have made significant commitments to the economic well being of the community," according to an OPDC statement.

Nineteen recipients of the 2004 awards were chosen from more than 40 nominees, including:

? Volvo of Oak Park, 1140 Garfield St., for its newly built $6 million facility;

? Jack and Tim Sheehan, owners of the Medical Arts Building Annex, 719 Lake St., for their "pain-staking and beautiful work" renovating the Arts Deco building;

? Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits, 610 Madison St., for its new French Quarter-themed facade;

? Diana Ostreko, for opening her design retail shop, Amazing Space, 1105 Chicago Ave.;

? J C Licht, 7051 North Ave., for its $250,000 facade and interior renovation;

? Joyce Smoler, for opening her art gallery, At the Gallery, 135 N. Oak Park Ave.;

? Taxman Corp., for building Euclid Commons, Euclid Avenue and Lake Street, one of the largest commercial developments completed in 2004;

? Rocking Horse Boutique, 110 N. Marion St., for expanding into its new space and planning to open Bug-a-boo Shoes next door;

? Caribou Coffee, for opening its second Oak Park location at 136 N. Oak Park Ave., where sales "continue to surpass expectations";

? Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Shoppe, for opening at 1025 Lake St.;

? Morningside Academy, 1192 S. Cuyler Ave., for its "great adaptive re-use of an older building";

? Joe Zhang, for opening his internet cafe, Cyber Arena, at 1010 Lake St.;

? Amy and Chris Shaw, for opening Memento Scrapbooking, 1114 Chicago Ave.;

? Charlie and Helen Robinson, for opening Robinson's Rib Express, 8 Chicago Ave.;

? Mixed Company, which relocated to 1107 Chicago Ave., "and became an immediate anchor in the Chicago Marion Harlem district";

? Laura and Andrew Maychruk, for renovating 907-911 S. Lombard Ave., which now houses One Point Center and Majamas;

? John Panagos, for opening Penny's Noodle Shop at 1130 Chicago Ave.;

? Karl Bader, for opening S3 Kitchen, 814 S. Oak Park Ave.;

? Belmont Village, 1035 Madison St., the $20 million, non-subsidized assisted living senior facility.

OPDC used the following criteria when selecting winners: amount of investment, innovative product or concept, prestige business brings to community or "ripple effect" caused.

The award gets its name from Robert E. Nicholas, a developer in early 1900s downtown Oak Park.

Bunny hops to The Avenue

The Easter Bunny is coming to town from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, thanks to The Avenue Association.

The whole family can visit with the Easter Bunny and take part in a variety of children's activities, including:

? Fly Bird (719 Lake St.): Water color station hosted by Ferencak Gallery & School of Art. Free Easter pencils for the first 100 kids;

? Buzz Café (in OP Public Library, 834 Lake St.): coloring station;

? Fuego Loco (722 Lake St.): coloring station and Sancho the Hot Pepper;

? Scoville Square (NW corner of Lake St. and OP Ave.): painted wooden eggs hosted by Wonder Works Children's Museum, from 1-3 p.m.;

? The Perfect Dinner (809 South Blvd.): free fruit and vegetable seeds;

? K9 Cookie Company (723 South Blvd.): cookie decorating for dogs and kids;

? Great Harvest Bread Co. (736 Lake St.): free whole wheat bread sticks;

? Also at Fly Bird : Easter egg hunt for parents.

?#34;Compiled by Drew Carter

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