Immigrant rights group holds rally for OP restaurant

A local Mexican restaurant plans to close its doors Dec. 20. However, its owners have reached out to an immigrant rights group to try and save the family business.

Los Cazadores restaurant, 1113 Lake, held a rally and prayer vigil last night to publicize their effort to stay in business. The Village of Oak Park owns the building and is planning to sell it to a Chicago developer next year.

The village bought the building from the Garcia family in 2002. The Garcias claim they were pressured into selling, while Oak Park officials say the family approached the village looking to sell.

Oak Park hoped to make 1113 Lake part of a larger development project. But when that failed to materialize, the building was put up for sale earlier this year. A Chicago-based developer submitted the high bid and plans to replace the restaurant with some retail use.

Eddy Garcia reached out to the League of United Latin American Citizens to help draw attention to their situation. They held a rally and prayer vigil Tuesday night, after deadline, to protest the sale. Organizers marched from the downtown restaurant to village hall.

If the last-ditch effort fails, Garcia says the restaurant will close Dec. 20. Los Cazadores is not currently looking to relocate, he said, because moving costs would be too expensive. Relocating to other areas in Oak Park also wouldn’t work, he said, since many already have Mexican restaurants.

The village expects to close the sale of 1113 Lake sometime next year, said Bob Clements, redevelopment manager for Oak Park.

No left turns on Roosevelt Road

Motorists traversing Oak Park’s south border may feel a little handicapped. That’s because for the next few months, you won’t be able to make left turns off Roosevelt on most streets.

Berwyn is fixing water and sewer mains on the south side of Roosevelt. So that side of the street will be closed probably through April, said Paul Zimmermann, president of the Roosevelt Road Business Association.

Between Harlem and Lombard, motorists will only be able to turn left into either municipality at major streets. Those include East, Ridgeland, and Oak Park avenues.

Zimmermann said the work started about three weeks ago, and the city expects to complete it by the end of April.

“So far I’ve been down there many given times of day, and traffic seems to be moving pretty well,” he said. “It certainly doesn’t seem any worse.”

Fillmore and 13th are suggested as alternative routes if you need to get to side streets off Roosevelt. The city also expects to add some parking back on the Berwyn side as it completes phases of the project.

Some have expressed concern about not being able to turn left, but it’s unavoidable with utilities more than 80 years old under the street.

“It’s a drag when this kind of work has to be done,” he said. “Nobody’s happy about it, but it has to be done.”

More election slates coming

Two of Oak Park’s political parties are expected to pick slates this weekend.

The New Leadership Party is meeting Saturday at Holley Court Terrace to select its candidates. Current Village Trustee Greg Marsey says he’s considering a run for president or village clerk. He’s uninterested in another term as trustee, after spending an extended period as the only NLP voice on the board.

“I wouldn’t want to take on another 4-year commitment, being the sole voice of the NLP at the trustee level,” he said.

No other candidates have stepped forward yet, but Marsey says one of the NLP’s major issues in the next election is lowering the cost of village government.

The Village Citizens Alliance Party expects to pick its slate on Sunday at the north branch of Park National Bank. The VCA has yet to interview any candidates as of Monday, according to member Tom Ard.

The Village Manager Association recently announced its plans for next April, slating current board members John Hedges, Colette Lueck, and President David Pope. They also added two new faces: Glenn Brewer, a real estate and family law attorney, who is running for trustee, and Teresa Powell, a retired Dominican University manager, who is running for village clerk.

-Marty Stempniak

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