Finally, Riverside is taking steps to become a pro-business village. It’s about time we give new business the welcoming commitment it deserves. 

In last week’s Landmark, the article “Riverside OKs sales tax rebate for La Barra” detailed the estimated $100,000 being rebated to the owners of the bustling new business over the next three years. La Barra is a most welcome addition to a town in desperate need of a business that will attract the dreaded “outsiders.” 

But as we roll out the red carpet for La Barra, I fear we’re forgetting something. What about the businesses in town that are stubbornly loyal to this grand old village? Where’s the rebate for Aunt Diana’s, a business that lost a considerable amount of revenue due to the Burlington restoration project? 

Customers looking for a sweet treat had to walk into a ditch and onto a plywood ramp to get to the 40-year-old candy maker’s front door for weeks. This, by the way, began during Easter, one of candy’s biggest holidays. 

Or what about the Little Bohemia Restaurant, whose aged customers arrive rather early to get the best slice of breaded pork? A piece of plywood is not welcoming to an elderly couple using walkers. 

How about Chew Chew? Parking was decimated in front of the restaurant for practically the entire summer as water lines were dug up in the middle of Burlington. Scott Zimmer, owner of Chew Chew, has been in town for 20 years by the way. 

What do we give them for their time served? I’m not saying every business in town should get $100,000. There are smaller investments that would go a long way. How about a garbage can for Aunt Diana’s? The little angels like to throw their Pixie Sticks and Gummi Hamburger wrappers in the alleyway and onto the sidewalk. This type of litter puts a damper on the beautiful new Burlington streetscape. 

How about some village-funded advertising for every restaurant in town? It will only help our central business district if the village endorses all business owners who make this place unique. 

My message for the village board is simple: don’t forget the people who have stuck with this town through thick and thin. Reinvest in those businesses as well as the new. The natives are getting restless and they may just go out and look elsewhere for new lands. 

Jacob Palka