Chicago Ridge makes plans for milestone
Chicago Ridge will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2014 and village officials are planning a variety of festivities to commemorate the event.
Mayor Chuck Tokar at Tuesday’s village board meeting named 14 people to a committee to organize the celebration, which will begin in January.
Committee members include Trustee Sally Durkin, Village Clerk George Schleyer, Chicago Ridge Park District Director Kevin King and Commissioner Rob Pratl and School District 127.5 board member Cindy Koschetz.
Ed Maurer Jr., who helped write a book to commemorate the village’s centennial, and Rita McQuaid, a member of the village’s zoning board of appeals, also will serve on the committee.
Tokar said he plans to name an additional six people to the committee, which will be divided into subcommittees that will plan various aspects of the centennial celebration.
The village was incorporated on Oct. 14, 1914.
Preliminary plans call for a centennial ball dinner dance, a parade co-sponsored with Worth, a weekend festival, a fire hydrant painting contest, the release of the history book and a community cookbook. The celebration also will feature an 8th grade essay contest and a historical bus tour that will include locations in Worth.
The village also will open a time capsule buried 25 years ago at the old village hall and bury a new one, Tokar said.
“There’s just all sorts of things we could do,” Tokar said.
Tokar said he envisions a community festival that reflects games and recreation popular a century ago, such as an old-time photo booth; watermelon, hot dog and pie-eating contests; horseshoe pitching and children’s games played in early 1900s.
The village also plans to design an anniversary banner to display on light poles and will hang bunting on village buildings, the train station and the gazebo.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the board voiced concerns about a lack of parking for proposed restaurant and bar at 102nd Street and Ridgeland Avenue.
The Crossing Bar and Grill plans to open at 10236 S. Ridgeland Ave., previously Bearhawks Sports Bar and Grill. The bar is located in a strip mall adjacent to Gen Hoe Chinese Restaurant and parking is limited.
Trustee John Lind said he was most concerned about customers parking in the residential neighborhood adjacent to the bar.
“If you’re successful, that’s a problem for us. We’re going to have a room full of people in here if you’re successful,” Lind told bar owners. “It’s really, really going to be a big issue. I’m really conflicted.”
Trustees delayed granting a business license for the establishment until the owners find out if they can use a commuter parking lot adjacent to the strip mall that is used by Penny Lane School during the day.
Durkin said she opposed parking on the other side of Ridgeland Avenue because she did not want patrons crossing a busy street after leaving the bar.
Scrapping Pro Metal
Trustees also opposed a business license for Pro Metal Recycling, 9999 Virginia Ave.
Tokar said pictures of the company’s facility in Bedford Park show scrap metal stored throughout the outside yard.
“I’m really surprised someone from Bedford Park has not talked you about that,” Tokar said.
Durkin added that she was concerned about the additional traffic the scrap yard would attract to an already-busy industrial park.
Additionally, the proposed location for the scrap yard is adjacent to property owned by Mike Roche Jr., who village officials have worked with for several months to eliminate code violations and clean the property.
In a related matter, Lind said the village must take steps to improve landscaping at the fire house, 10063 S. Virginia Ave.
“It’s horrible,” Lind said. “I think the building is a beautiful building.”
He said landscaping is not the fire department’s responsibility and added that it reflects poorly on the village, especially when it is cracking down on other business owners to maintain their property.