I must be missing something. In Dan Haley’s March 2 column, “Bricks or seniors. Gotta choose,” he states that spending money on improvements to the Oak Park Avenue and South Boulevard streetscape, and funding a senior center in the same block, is a waste of taxpayer money. He wants to know what the financial return to the village is in spending TIF funds for the “ultra-upgrade to a block that is nearly filled.”

Really! Is he being facetious? Am I missing the irony? Is he suggesting that the only time the village should spend money on public improvements is in an attempt, usually failed, to attract new businesses? Is he possibly, in the same breath, suggesting that the senior citizens of this village do not deserve a new senior center?

How about the fact that George’s Restaurant, Grape Leaves, Garland Flowers, K-9 Cookies and Maya del Sol, among many others, have been paying taxes into the village coffers for years? Don’t they deserve a little support from village hall? And given the fact that most of the senior citizens in Oak Park have lived here for 20, 30, 40 years or more (because, let’s face it, Oak Park is not on AARP’s list of best retirement destinations), and have paid taxes, a lot of taxes, during that time, they just might deserve a new facility.

And, Dan, bringing up the “tax rolls” is a joke. How long have those properties been vacant? How many viable businesses were shuttered, forced to close or relocate outside the village because of poor planning? How many tax dollars went uncollected because of this fiasco?

Don’t try to put budgetary burdens on the back of those residents and businesses that have remained loyal to this village. Find someone else.

John Kehoe
Oak Park
Oak Park Avenue and South Boulevard streetscape proposal

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