Construction got you down? Touch a truck!

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

The 100 block of South Marion has been in a state of deconstruction for months, with the streets covered in dust and inaccessible by car. But local business leaders are hoping to lure pedestrians back to the shuttered strip — with the allure of playing on a construction vehicle.

The Village of Oak Park is investing some $5.4 million to give the street a facelift, complete with brick streets and granite sidewalks, and won't finish work until Thanksgiving. With the headache of constant construction, village hall is also throwing $34,000 into the pot to help promote the newly renamed "Pleasant District."

As part of that, the block is holding a "Touch a Truck" event this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. There, kids can play in sand, climb on construction trucks, and nibble some cookies, according to a Pleasant District press release. Face painting, crafts and live music from the pre-teen band "South Oak Park Rockers" will also liven up South Marion for a couple of hours Saturday morning.

Reader Comments

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Obey from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2011 2:10 PM

Julia, the story says kids can climb on construction trucks. Every child obeyed the sign prohibiting climbing on trucks. "Obeyed". Your kids move at a snap of your figure, don't they. What really interesting new shops?

Julia from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2011 1:03 PM

We went today with our three young boys and had a marvelous time. There were signs prohibiting climbing on the equipment and every child I saw obeyed that with no problem. It was well organized, with lots of adults overseeing the vehicle and sandpile area. Snacks, entertainment, craft, face painting-all great! Bought some drinks for the thirsty crew at Poor Phil's aftertwards. Noticed some really interesting new shops - will have to stop by without the kids! Great idea Oak Park!

Paying For It from Oak Park  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 9:22 PM

IDEAS FLOOD AT BUSINESS LEADERS LUNCHEONS. I know what we can do. Tell the parents to bring their kids to play on Marion street. By golly Paul, that's brilliant! Astoundingly pure genius marketing, says Henry. Who do we bill this one to? The tax payers, of course.

Andrew from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 3:31 PM

It sounds like fun. And no, not teach kids to ply on construction sites, teach them to respect construction equipment. If our soccer games get out soon enough we're there!

Girl that Doesn't Actually Hate Everything  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 10:09 AM

The comments on this article are ridiculous. If you don't like what people are doing to try and build our community, don't go. If you've got better ideas, please put the energy you put into blasting people on blog posts into your ideas. Why not be thankful that these people are investing time and resources into our neighborhoods? Please find an idea you do agree with and put your energy into supporting it. You think Oak Park is so bad? Look around, there is a lot to be thankful for.

Melissa Walker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 7:46 AM

I think it sounds fun, and I have heard from other moms and kids that think it sounds fun too! I agree with some of the concerns listed, but wanted to also put in my two cents saying "Good! sounds fun!" My son will have a blast.

epic lulz  

Posted: August 26th, 2011 12:56 AM

Teach kids it's ok to play on construction sites? Great idea.

Tom The Beer Guy  

Posted: August 25th, 2011 8:33 PM

The Pleasant district? More like the peasant district. Shopping local is for Marxists.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 25th, 2011 4:09 PM

Hey, kiddies, would you love to touch a Mack truck? And here's some grass-fed non-homogenized biodynamic goat's milk and gluten-free fairly traded cookies (this IS OP, after all) to go with it!!!((facepalm))

Another OP resident  

Posted: August 25th, 2011 1:13 PM

I think this idea is lame, but I asked a few local parent and non-parents what they thought and they pretty much thought why not? When asked if they would bring their own kids, they said no way.

Jaded from OP  

Posted: August 25th, 2011 6:04 AM

Not interested. Shop Local....and try to avoid injury in the construction zone? I plan to avoid the new "Pleasant District" through the end of the year regardless of when construction is completed. Let's see which business can keep going for that long! It's Oak Park's own form of "social Darwinism"....only the strong survive, but the Village will be the better for it. Right? Wasn't that the plan?

I ride in Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2011 1:33 PM

And bringing the kids out to "touch a truck" and eat free cookies for two hours is supposed to help local business...how...?

Red Flag from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2011 2:01 AM

Hope the contractors clean up the site a bit better than it is now (uneven roadway, piles of materials old and new, etc.) It is quite unsightly and hard to drive across on South Blvd. Also, hope the Village has everyone sign a waiver from any litigation for potential injuries. Nice idea but poor planning. Plus, the contractor is not going to do this for free especially on Saturday.

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