Today’s Chicago Tribune (April 9) heralds, “Aurora’s downtown simmers – City sees restaurant row’s growth as an appetizer for development.” Since 1984, I have been extolling the stimulative properties of a restaurant park and cultural center for Oak Park. Based on my firsthand experience with Ghirardelli Square, Baltimore Harbor, the Cleveland Waterfront and other restaurant-based tourist attractions, the Aurora experiment supports my thesis. Yet, from the Stankus Hole, Lake and Harlem, to Holley Court, to South Boulevard and Harlem, to Lake and Forest, the village rejects the restaurant park, banquet hall and cultural center concept and opts for condos. Condos are favored, even though Realtors tell me there are hundreds of empty condos in Oak Park.

With a village clerk now firmly in the camp of those supporting a fine- and performing-arts center, and shopping district after shopping district in Oak Park falling to the disease of EmptyStoreFrontitis, perhaps the Aurora story can wake up the somnambulant village board and aid my group in developing a proven tax-generating tourist attraction that will stimulate Oak Park out of its economic and demographic malaise like no new condo building or taxpayer-subsidized motel-hotel can.

Les Golden
Oak Park

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