Now comes word that Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs is in discussions to relocate its well-loved restaurant to a space on Madison Street previously occupied by Leona’s. That would be a good match, taking a long-dark restaurant space and bringing new energy, while keeping Robinson’s in a familiar stretch of Madison Street.

Charlie Robinson’s eatery is on the move after the village government purchased its longtime home with the goal of combining that parcel with the adjacent District 97 headquarters, which is also village-owned and slated for eventual demolition. Put together and it is a block-long frontage on a key portion of Madison Street that could make an attractive development site.

We’re encouraged to hear that the plan features a lease-to-buy option for Robinson’s which has been a fixture in Oak Park since the late 1970s. There are few entrepreneurs in Oak Park who have made the investment in community life that Robinson and his family have made. 

That said, we’d have to be persuaded that this move might warrant, as Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb suggested, an investment of TIF dollars. To us this is a welcome relocation of a valued business. TIF dollars, limited as they are in total and in time left to be collected on Madison, must be used with great judiciousness. This does not seem to be such a case.

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