Park Ridge resident writes in praise of Austin

Editor’s note: The following letter was published in the Chicago Sun-Times April 25 Commentary section along with a photo of residences on the 100 block of South Parkside. We thought our readers would find it interesting.

As a result, during all these years, communities like Austin have been getting a bad rap!

I moved because I got married, but a lot of others left because they said, “Things are bad,” and both the police and the press have been saying the same thing ever since. I don’t think that’s the real story.

Each spring I drive through my old neighborhood. Call it nostalgia, call it a personal pilgrimage, call it reconnecting with the friends and memories of an uncomplicated youth. During these wispy time-travels, I’ve noticed what Austiners would like others to notice, too.

A neighborhood of neat red bungalows, tidy green lawns, new little stores, refurbished church and school buildings, and everywhere feisty warning signs that proclaim: “No guns, no drugs, no gangs, no loitering?”we guard our own!”

Sure, there are problems in Austin?”find me a community without them. But because people here take nothing for granted, they work harder at it. You know, the American Dream thing! And if the homes and streets and side streets seem a little worn out, hey?”that’s just what happens over 50 years. No one’s really to blame except time.

So I salute the homeowners there who I know are rehabbing their two-flats along Menard and Lorel Avenues, the business people spicing up their storefronts along North Avenue and Madison Street, the minister who welcomed me into my old Rockne movie theater on Division Street, which is now the proud home of his congregation, the fellow who owns our old family home on Mayfield Avenue and who generously toured me through that little galaxy of my greening years, plus the principal of the local school on Massassoit Avenue who, by golly, I remember from when I was a kid.

I know, I know: The Magnificent Mile and State Street are where the action is. But if anyone who visits Chicago would truly know our city, they have to walk the walk of gray but revitalized neighborhoods like Austin where surprising things are happening.

So, here’s to all the Austins in our city.

Jack Spatafora
Park Ridge

Aaron’s is a business worthy of your consideration
I visited your website to determine the mission and purpose of the Austin Weekly News, but was unable to find that information. Nonetheless, I believe the mission of this weekly publication is to inform and empower the residents of the Austin community. Economic empowerment is a much needed aspect of this community. As such, the Austin Weekly should feature local, black-owned businesses that provide great products and quality service.

I would suggest that an article be featured highlighting Aaron’s Buffalo Wings located at 5410 W. Division. Aaron’s offers great tasting wings and superb customer service, a rarity in this community. More importantly, the venue offers a welcoming atmosphere whereby you do not have to order your food through a thick glass/plastic barrier.

I would like to thank you for your time and consideration. I am just a concerned stakeholder of this community and a proud customer of Aaron’s.

Donovan Taylor