I walked my dog through the rain on Friday morning and watched the workers cut down the trees on Lake Street between Oak Park Avenue and Euclid. The tent, lights, and all the tables and chairs were gone.
For those in the neighborhood, you know that we had serendipitously realized a European outdoor cafe culture here in Oak Park due to the pandemic. This was a wonderful consequence of a horrible circumstance that should make us think about what restaurant culture could be like in the spring, summer and early fall throughout Oak Park.
Do the village trustees have the vision to look at the present streetscape plan, consider the potentially wonderful dynamic that was presented in response to the coronavirus, and change the sidewalk layout in this area and elsewhere to allow for more permanent outdoor cafes after the pandemic has run its course?
Of all of the compromises that we have made since March, outdoor dining has been a plus. Let’s continue to realize it and promote it going forward.
Stephen J. Kelley, FAIA, SE