As is our custom, our annual pre-Thanksgiving list of things we’re thankful for, and things we’d be thankful if:

• We’re thankful for the Marion restreeting project being completed on time. We’d be thankful if it leads to a retail renaissance in the Downtown Oak Park business district.

• We’re thankful for a new Oak Park village board. We’d be thankful if they can move downtown development forward.

• We’re thankful for citizen involvement. We’d be thankful if those citizens, especially around Oak Park Stadium, would tone down the histrionics and demonstrate more civility in public discourse and fewer lawsuits in court.

• We’re thankful for opposition on the River Forest board to Frank Paris’ one-man rule. We’d be thankful if Frank Paris and his supporters would recognize times have changed and begin working collaboratively with the opposition to ease the current stalemate.

• We’re thankful for Sharon Patchak-Layman and Ralph Lee, who are breathing new life into an overly staid high school board. We’d be thankful if the rest of the board would regard them as a breath of fresh air instead of an unwelcome annoyance.

• We’re thankful for the possibility of having Friday night football at OPRF stadium one of these years. We’d be thankful if the Zoning Board of Appeals would stop wasting time rehashing the same tired opposition testimony over and over and over again and finally approve the installation of lights at the stadium.

• We’re thankful for the parking garage at OPRF High School that so greatly benefits the institution. We’d be thankful if that institution would show their gratitude by helping the village pay for its upkeep.

• We’re thankful for such a vibrant local arts scene and that groups like Village Players and Festival Theatre have turned things around financially. We’d be thankful if Oak Park would support a state-of-the-art performing arts center.

• We’re thankful for those with enough vision to push for a “cap” over the Eisenhower Expressway. We’d be thankful if it ever becomes more than a pipe dream.

• We’re thankful for new restaurants and retail on Harrison Street. We’d be thankful if established businesses would stop leaving Harrison Street for Madison Street in Forest Park.

• We’re thankful for new development opportunities on Madison Street. We’d be thankful if we had fewer opportunities and more projects in progress.

• We’re thankful for construction finally beginning on Whiteco. We’d be thankful if we’re not in for any more unpleasant surprises.

• We’re thankful for the Collaboration for Early Childhood Care and Education. We’d be thankful if local bodies of government would collaborate to help fund their ambitious plans to address the achievement gap early in life.

• We’re thankful for invaluable community resources like the Historical Society of OP-RF. We’d be thankful if the village allows them to make the old pumping station/firehouse next to Stevenson Park their permanent home.

• We’re thankful for an Oak Park park system that is reinventing itself. We’d be thankful if they ever finish.

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