The Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents, business owners and hard-working employees of Oak Park for their opened-minded discourse and expressed apprehension regarding the proposed Oak Park smoking ban, which was voted down on March 7.

As the IRA has informed you over the last few months, such a restrictive smoking measure would have been detrimental to the restaurants, businesses and the entire community of Oak Park. Even more alarming, the passage of such a restrictive piece of legislation would have dealt a serious blow to the freedom of choice and individualism that Oak Parkers take pride in. The IRA is grateful to all of you, both smokers and non-smokers alike, who expressed their dismay regarding their village’s attempts to over-regulate day-to-day life in Oak Park.

As a lifelong Oak Parker, I have witnessed first-hand the growth and rejuvenation of downtown Oak Park over the past several years and I have been thrilled to see so many high-quality restaurants and shops move into our area. With the recent development of condos and retail space near Lake Street, and Oak Park’s continued reputation as an unbiased and tolerant community, I know that our village can only continue to grow.

Finally, the IRA would also like to thank President Trapani and Trustees Carpenter, Kostopulos, Johnson and Pope, whose progressive decision regarding the smoking ban will allow the business climate in Oak Park to continue to grow, support economic growth and encourage outside businesses to open and thrive in Oak Park. I am confident that Oak Park will continue to be a wonderful place to live as well as a popular destination for tourists and out-of-town guests who are attracted to our wide variety of dining options.

Colleen McShane
IRA President

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