2013 may be remembered as the year that Ridgeland Common closed for construction, taking away one of Oak Park's two public pools for an entire summer season. While the Ridgeland pool will return new and improved in 2014, for this year, other local pools are prepared for increases in visitors.
Sitting on a blanket, with a bag of popcorn and a beverage in tow, to take in free outdoor movies on jumbo screens in popular parks, or pools, is a rite of summer in Oak Park, Forest Park, Riverside and Brookfield. In those places, it seems, seeing an outdoor flick on a humongous movie screen is the right thing to do this summer.
Forest Park Park Director Larry Piekarz said that part of the appeal of the No Gloves Tournament is the elements that have remained constant through the years: top-notch softball, smoke rising from grills and busy beer tents. However, for the 45th annual tournament, there will be some new attractions.
With better weather and longer days, local farmers' markets are readying for opening day. In Oak Park, Riverside, and Forest Park, residents will soon be abandoning the frozen food aisle and buying their produce fresh from the farm.
Local restaurateur Charlie Robinson learned his 200-year-old barbecue recipe from his grandfather while growing up in the Mississippi Delta. It's been passed down in his family for, he estimates, 14 generations.
Not too long ago, the SOHO condominium and townhouse development in Oak Park seemed to represent all that was wrong with the local real estate market. The ambitious project was the brainchild of local architect John Schiess and developer Alex Troyanovsky, who originally purposed an all-townhome development at the corner of South Boulevard and Home Avenue (South-Home, hence SOHO).