The upcoming closure of the Pickwick Theatre, disagreement over how colleges ought to reply to COVID-19 and an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant being charged with battery in opposition to a Park Ridge 14-year-old had been among the many tales that caught and held Park Ridge readers’ eyes in a packed and infrequently turbulent 2022.
Have a look again at a few of the most generally learn tales of the yr in Park Ridge.
1. Pickwick Theatre plans to shut in January — however a brand new operator could possibly be ready within the wings
Information that co-owners Dino Vlahakis and Dave Loomos deliberate to stop showing movies out of Park Ridge’s treasured Pickwick Theater ripped by way of Uptown and higher Chicagoland earlier this month, inciting a tidal wave of reminiscences and substantial hypothesis over how motion pictures may proceed displaying within the 1928 Artwork Deco palace. Over a fast-paced week, Vlahakis and Loomos noticed ticket gross sales skyrocket and curiosity in taking on the 900-seat theater soar, prompting Vlahakis to inform Pioneer Press/Chicago Tribune “the excellent news is the theater will in all probability shut as operated by the Vlahakis and Loomos household, however there will likely be anyone taking its place.”
Vlahakis, whose household has owned the Pickwick since 1967, mentioned he plans to maintain his possession of the constructing, which hosts 24 tenants past the movie show itself. He later advised Tribune leisure critic Michael Phillips that possible heirs to the movie operation included Traditional Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson and Music Field Theatre proprietor William Schopf. The Metropolis of Park Ridge has additionally met with the households, Mayor Marty Maloney confirmed to Phillips.
The ultimate screening of the Vlahakis and Loomos period is deliberate for Jan. 12, 2023, with two showings of Gone With the Wind.
2. Faculty board’s tie vote upholds masks necessities in Park Ridge-Niles District 64 after fiery assembly
Early within the yr, controversy over whether or not Park Ridge-Niles Faculty District 64 ought to hold or get rid of its masking requirement for elementary and center faculty college students rocked a February school board meeting, with nearly 75 audio system providing public remark. Among the commenters advised the board to “develop a spine” or referred to as board members evil, whereas others advocated for maintaining the mandate in place out of issues for the well being of immunocompromised college students and college employees.
The board voted 3-3 on a movement to take away the masks mandate, retaining the established order on masks insurance policies at district colleges. Some faculty board members requested police escorts to their automobiles following the five-hour assembly and the Park Ridge Police division stepped up its presence round district colleges the next time out of “basic concern.” Barely per week later, a call from the Joint Committee on Administrative Guidelines prompted the district to go mask-optional.
3. In Park Ridge, even the mayor has string lights in his yard, however officers uncover they’re unlawful
Yard string lights exploded in reputation over the pandemic as individuals sought out secure methods to spend time collectively. However till earlier this yr, the lights had been technically prohibited in Park Ridge, the place the zoning code didn’t enable unshielded, or unshaded, gentle.
Resident Thomas Fisher brought this to City Council’s attention in June after a neighbor complained in regards to the string lights in his yard.
“I’m not assuming it’s going to vary, however the request you’re making is affordable,” mentioned Mayor Marty Maloney, himself a string gentle proprietor. “I’m making an attempt to get a decision as quick as we are able to.”
Park Ridge amended its zoning code the subsequent month to permit the lights so long as they aren’t hung greater than 10 toes from the bottom and don’t exceed a sure stage of spillover illumination onto neighboring properties.
4. Park Ridge residents categorical anger over youngster of coloration being pinned to pavement; police chief asks for witnesses
Offended Park Ridge residents packed a City Council meeting just a few days after an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant, later identified as Michael Vitellaro, grabbed a rising Maine South freshman and pinned him to the sidewalk in Park Ridge’s Uptown space and accused the boy of taking his son’s bike. The boy is of Puerto Rican descent, and the incident prompted many Park Ridge residents to share their fears in regards to the stage of inclusion and acceptance for individuals of coloration in the neighborhood with metropolis leaders.
About six weeks after the incident occurred, Prepare dinner County State’s Lawyer Kim Foxx accepted expenses of aggravated battery and official misconduct in opposition to Vitellaro, who was relieved of his police powers and later indicted by a grand jury. The case is now making its method by way of the Prepare dinner County Circuit Courtroom system, and the boy’s household has employed the regulation agency Romanucci and Blandin to signify them and their son.
5. Park Ridge Park District voters approve $33.4 million referendum to improve ice area
Park Ridge voters gave the go-ahead to the Park District to subject $33.4 million value of bonds for a battery of upgrades to Oakton Ice Enviornment and Oakton Park within the Nov. 8 election. The bonds will add about $136 to the property tax invoice for a house with the world median worth of $437,000, the district mentioned. Enhancements the referendum will cowl embody altering the cooling system and chemical for the ice rink itself, making the sector’s loos and locker rooms extra accessible to individuals with disabilities, a relocated canine run and a brand new strolling path round Oakton Park.
It was the second large current price hikefor Park Ridge taxpayers after Park Ridge-Niles Faculty District 64 determined to supply full-day kindergarten. District 64 issued bonds for building of services for kindergarten, which ultimately totaled about $43 million after prices rose and the district expanded the scope of the venture.
Construction is set to begin on Oakton Park in 2024, Park District Govt Director Gayle Mountcastle mentioned.
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