January 19, 2005


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Teardowns an increasing concern in Riverside
Riverside is rapidly becoming a teardown magnet for developers. This trend, and the oversized new construction it breeds, will permanently diminish the appeal of our village.

Our street, Downing Road, could, sadly, be the proverbial canary in the coal mine. During the last six months on the short stretch between Southcote and our home, there has been one teardown/new construction completed, three teardown/new constructions planned, one under negotiation, and one new construction proposed.

One home was specifically marketed as ripe for teardown. To put this in perspective, of the 19 homes that existed on this length of Downing, five have been or are slated to be demolished. That's 26 percent!

It is impossible for such a rapid transformation not to have major impact on the community. In our instance, the increase in noise, dirt, inconvenience and safety concerns are significant, albeit temporary, nuisances.

Of greater concern is the loss of the diversity of housing styles, size and cost. If you survey the new construction around town, you will notice the trend towards look-alike houses (compare 362 Downing and 299 Selborne, both by Victorian Builders) and, more ominously, toward homes grossly out of style and scale with their surroundings.

The Plan Commission survey featured some of the worst offenders of the new construction?"massive homes that are out of proportion to their lot and their neighbors.

In a recent Landmark column ("Applying Riverside's proposed zoning code," OPINION, Dec. 29, 2004), Darcy Lewis detailed the results of applying the proposed changes to the construction code to these recent additions to the community. Her disheartening conclusion is that the proposed changes, though a step in the right direction, do not go far enough. If they cannot reign in another 724 Arlington Road, they will be of little value forcing developers to treat smaller lots with any respect for scale.

On Feb. 3, the village trustees will meet to consider the recommendations of the Plan Commission regarding teardowns and new construction in Riverside. We intend to educate ourselves further on this matter and make our concerns known.
Louis and Mary Centorcelli

Thank you for supporting music
It is beautiful to hear the sound of music in Lyons Elementary School District 103 from the band to orchestra to chorus performances. For all of these groups to work it takes leadership, dedication, teamwork and practice.

My appreciation to the music directors and students for bringing this beautiful music to our communities at the various school and community events. The parents enjoyed the Winter Concert performances performed by the third- to eighth-grade music students, and the communities were treated to performances for Veterans Day, School Spirit Day and performances for residents at senior centers and the villages that District 103 serves.

Most recently, we enjoyed the George Washington Middle School chorus students' performance at the Lyons Township High School Junior High Choral Festival Concert. This event was a combination of the local feeder middle schools and LTHS chorus students. The music was inspirational.

Thank you District 103 music directors, Mr. Kanwischer, Miss Fisher and Miss Strand for bringing out the best in the students and sharing it with our communities. Thank you to residents of Brookfield, Lyons, Stickney, Forest View and McCook for your support of music in our schools.

Please join us for the GWMS Spring Concert on Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. to be held at George Washington Middle School in the Large Gym. The band, orchestra and chorus students will be performing.
Deborah Szlak
Music Parents Association President

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