Among this week’s list of “things I learned at the Oak Park Village Board meeting,” this is one of my favorites so far: Citizen Involvement Commission members wear red sashes. It’s an odd, unique little thing that caught my attention. They wear them with pride and remind people why it’s important to get involved in your community. I can appreciate that.

While it struck me as a bit odd, what does “odd” really mean in Oak Park? Trustees and residents joke about the “Oak Park way” during almost every meeting.  I’ve grown to assume that’s just the way of the village. Plus, it brings some much needed comic relief during the heavy meetings of budgets, streetscaping, TIFs and economic development.

Anyway, back to my point.

Jim Kelly, chairman on the Citizen Involvement Commission, stepped up to the podium during Monday’s special board meeting wearing his sash. Where else in life can you get away with wearing a sash? I thought of that during the meeting. Maybe there should be more occasions. I know they are worn at ribbon cuttings. Anyway, he proceeded to proudly recognize the efforts of all volunteers who serve on village advisory boards. Kelly was also recognized with an award for his sevice. 

Kelly presented awards to the following “outstanding commissioners” for their services. Recognized were: Dr. Ravi Gravois-Shah of the Board of Health, Christina Morris of the Historic Preservation Commission, and Andrea Ott, chairperson of the disability access commission.

They also enjoyed a reception and some cake before the two hour meeting kicked off. Mondays can be odd nights in Oak Park. But at least I’m always learning something.

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