The gold shovels digging into carefully cultivated mounds of freshly positioned topsoil. Shovels held by developers and public officials seeking the public’s attention on a coming project that they have long debated and now want to tout.

We’ve skipped most of these photo opportunities over the decades. But we will make exceptions and actually cover one planned and one still imagined groundbreaking this coming week, and the other, hopefully, soon.

In both cases we have signature projects that have been so long delayed, the public has either forgotten or concluded the efforts have been sidetracked. One is in Oak Park, the other in River Forest.

There will be a groundbreaking this week for the new Pete’s Fresh Market at Oak Park Avenue and Madison Street. We know this because the village has issued a press release announcing it. Village President Vicki Scaman and Stephanie Dremonas, CEO of Pete’s, will be wielding the shovels. 

This is good news. It is a public commitment to a project that we enthusiastically support. How could we not support a plan to build something good that will generate property taxes, sales taxes and new jobs on a site that the development-bumbling village government began assembling in 2001. 

Yes, 20 years ago. Surprising it has not returned to prairie.

We would note, however, for the overeager, that the same press release states actual construction of the new Pete’s will not begin until Spring. 

But remember, Pete’s, once the golden shovel touches topsoil you have to build the building. 

Over in River Forest there is also a decades-long pursuit of constructing a high-end, mixed-use condo project at Lake and Lathrop. We won’t regale you with the many setbacks we have assiduously reported on, the developers who have proclaimed success and then departed, the village board members who have talked tough while granting endless extensions, the multiple national real estate and economic calamities that have intruded, the ecological contamination underground.

The news at this moment is hoodwinkingly positive. And yet, a promised groundbreaking a couple weeks ago did not happen. A purportedly final, final step of removing a smidge of “unsuitable soil” before actually breaking ground for a new foundation is caught up for just a final second in waste-hauling requirements.

So we wait, with breath so bated we’re turning blue. 

It is literally now or never. And if it is now, we will cover that ceremonial moment and show you the gold shovel moment.

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