As business owners we would like to respond to Dan Haley’s Oct. 13 columnn, “Fancy streets are great, but wait there’s more.” The article states that money spent on the streetscaping of the Chicago Avenue, Ridgeland to Austin, business corridor hasn’t spurred any economic development. We simply would like to point out some of the new businesses in the neighborhood and maintain that the money spent will continue to encourage some of the long-term businesses (Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Domino’s Pizza, Ace Hardware, 7-Eleven, to name a few) to stay committed to the neighborhood.

The corporate office of OakPark is at 41 W. Chicago Ave. and is a stable part of the Chicago Avenue corridor for many years. Additionally housed in this building is the Rare Bird Preserves, a new startup business that makes wonderful jams and jellies.

Recently, completed a significant improvement in the previously abandoned storefront at 18 Chicago Ave., creating The ARC, a multi-purpose sports training facility and home to organizations such as Derby Lite, Oak Park Youth Baseball, Legacy Baseball, Strikers soccer plus many more. In addition to the above new businesses, Anita Alvarez, Cook County state’s attorney, opened the Community Justice Center at 4 W. Chicago Ave. on July 7.

Although these may not be “big-box” retailers, they are very vital small businesses owned and operated by Oak Parkers committed to the diversity and economic prosperity of this often ignored but high-profile gateway to our community.

Bill and Bob Planek

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