Renovating Little Village

By: Blanca Flores

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsChange is coming to Little Village and it is coming to help beautify and serve the community. After 23 years of having a clock hang in the symbolic arch of Little Village, the clock finally marks the correct time and continues to work. Luis Olvara, came from Mexico to work on the clock July 31 and August 1. Since this clock did not have the proper maintenance to stay working properly and some pieces were missing, Olvara had to change the motor and spent an hour making sure that everything was connected correctly as he tested the clock.

“I hope it works on the first attempt, I am doing this from memory,” said Olvera as he went up the ladder to the arch tower where he was working. The clock began to function correctly after 1pm. Now that money has been invested in getting the Centenario Clock given to the Chicago’s Little Village community in 1991 by former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico, maintenance will be routine.

There had been suggestions to change the clock and to take it out and put another symbol there. Many community members and businesses along with the August Sallas, President of the Little Village Community Council, worked hard to get that clock ticking again.

The clock is not the only piece in the Little Village entrance that is getting restored. Nilda Esparza, executive director at the Little Village Chamber of Commerce passed by to see how Olvera was doing and also revealed a few changes coming up around Albany and 26th Street, now know as Vicente Fernandez Way.

Among these changes, a new paint job for the arch along with bump belts under each tower so people do not park under it. These belts will help maintain the arch in good condition and will hold flowers to enhance the arch’s beauty. There are also plans to remove the rails under the arch, were the ribbon “Bienvenidos a La Villita” hangs.
This will allow large trucks to pass without hitting the railing.

A new clinic has just been inaugurated by the Walgreens on Albany and Walgreens is also having its share of renovation and new services to the community. Getting tourists as well as other Chicagoans to visit Little Village is important and Esparza has even suggested to restaurant owners near the arch, to create an outside patio where visitors can eat their food and admire the Little Village entrance.

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