Cool Cars to Feature New Hours, More Themes

It's spring, and that means it's almost time to dust off your baby.

Vintage car owners seem to want less cruising and more chances to show off their vehicles, so Elmhurst City Centre is tweaking for 2012. The city's Public Affairs and Safety Committee Monday gave first approval to the plan for the summer event, which runs from June through August and centers around First Street and Addison Avenue.

City Centre Executive Director Tom Paravola told the committee the hours will shift to 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays to reflect the times participants are actually showing up and leaving. Previously, the hours were from 7 to 9 p.m. The event also will focus more on themed areas on Addison Avenue.

“People aren't cruising around the block the way they used to seven or eight years ago,” Paravola said.

Third Ward Alderman Michael Bram asked if businesses see a benefit from the crowds that come to view the cars. Paravola said it's a “mixed bag,” but businesses are not hurt by it. Restaurants and bars benefit the most, but some retail stores report more sales, too. The ones that do not still like the foot traffic, he said.

For restaurants, the Wednesday event is “like having an extra Friday night,” Mayor Pete DiCianni said.

First Ward Alderman Paula Pezza said complaints from residents have fallen off over the years, and Paravola acknowledged that most issues have been addressed.

Cool Cars begins June 6 with Dust-Off Night; all pre-1997 cars are welcome. Other nights will feature GM models, convertibles, pony cars and imports. The last night is Aug. 22, and there will be no event on July 4.

Approval for the event now goes to the full City Council.

John W April 25, 2012 at 07:45 PM
As a resident I am not a fan of this. Once in a while would be OK but I basically avoid the downtown area like the plegue on Wed nights.
Jim Court April 26, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Although I believe that events that create traffic and exposure in the downtown area can be viewed positively, I sometimes question some aspects of the cool cars event. Elmhurst wants to see itself as an elitist town, even though many components of our community do not reflect this. These type of shows are very popular with a segment of the population that Elmhurst tends to reject. These are often working class people. Before I sound like a snob, I have done many kinds of work, including trade work and mechanical. What I am thinking of is the concept of branding. Is this type of event congruent with the niche Elmhurst desires. I am throwing this out there to generate feedback and opinions. If this were a Harley-Davidson show would our citizens embrace it? What type of community are we. I am sometimes not sure.
Keepingit Real April 26, 2012 at 01:31 AM
@Jim-Most likely not. I have learned there is no point in being snobby, stuck up, or more well off than someone else. Why keep up with the Jones family? There will ALWAYS be a bigger dog in the yard. And that dog just might tear you down to your real size one day. Then what? Seriously? People are complaining about 2.5 hours.... 1 (one) day a week? Go a different route, stop at the store on Tuesday, go to a different store altogether. Get a life, get a hobby, and get real. Big picture folks, life is not all about you.
John W April 26, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Keeping it real - so I can't stand going downtown on Wed nights because of cool cars and now I need to get a life? Awesome, glad you have it all figured out! Hey, your moms calling, the meatloaf is ready.
ChiTownExpress April 26, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Keepingit Real - Spot on. John W is just jealous because his Mom is only making Mac n' Cheese.
ChiTownExpress April 26, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Jim Court - I struggle with your logic. Why do you need to turn this into some sort of a class struggle pitting the working class vs. the Elitists. Can't everyone enjoy cool cars? If I make over $100k am I not allowed to be a cool car enthusiast? Do I get my cool car card revoked at some point? They do the same thing in Wheaton, Roselle, and many surrounding communities. This type of event brings people together around a common interest that crosses race, gender, and income boundaries.
Darlene Heslop April 26, 2012 at 06:08 AM
owning a "cool car" is for people who have money, jim. both my brother and dad have always been big car dudes...my dad has an anniversary edition 'vette and bro has a mercury that he refurbished...and it isn't the first car he's done. take a good look around any one given cool cars night, and ask some of those that are showing their cars how much they put into them, and also, what other cars do they own, what do they do for a living, etc. - those that own, sorry, but they have $$$, and if this wasn't a profitable event, we wouldn't be doing it.
Jim Court April 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Don't feel bad, I struggle with my own logic at times. I am not against cool cars. I have a tendency to want to look at both sides of an issue and not want to be dogmatic. I do not dismiss all of the work and money put into the cars. It is also a very social event, which is good. I would do everything in my power to build community and events such as this offer the opportunity to do so. Anything that allows people to come together and interact is a positive. I would place chess tables, have the game I believe is referred to as "bags", musicians, educational classes. I might shut down York Rd in the downtown area for the summer and place much more seating. I would prefer to see covered walkways and shelters that would allow activity during the rain. A community firepit would be nice. I would emulate the best practices of highly rated communities. I am never want to be defined as being "against". I do believe in constant improvement and the seeking of ideas. As for the class issue. Although I relate to many different people from what would be deemed as different classes, I wrestle with trying to accept or understand certain beliefs and behaviors. Some I find unacceptable, yet I understand how they develop and try to walk in others shoes. I have much empathy for others although at times, I have none. Moody, I guess. I do love Elmhurst for many positive reasons although we always have room for improvement. Take care.
jayne Aspan April 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Cool Cars is not my favorite event..I own a retail store in town and if anything my business suffers , but at least there are people downtown which at least creates kind of excitment and a certain energy ...Now that that the hospital is out of our downtown which had over 3000 employees, hundreds of sales reps etc, that are not shoppping or dining in our town we need every bit of exposure..
bill trudeau April 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I had a "cool car" that I displayed at the show over a seven year period, and I can tell you it started out as an ego trip. Funny thing is it turned away from that quickly, and evolved into quite a fun social event. Most of the people showing their cars are rarely near them, usually wandering around talking to others or admiring someone else's iron. It's more or less a nostalgia trip, seeing something from our past that time had declared useless and yet somehow survived until it became a memory incarnate.
Jim Court April 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Bill, Based on your comments I think I am going to dedicate Wednesday evenings to venturing downtown.
Jim Court April 26, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Jayne, Your comment points the law of unintended consequences. I wish the City had a vision of a large high rise complex for Hahn Street. Something glorious that would fill our downtown with pedestrian traffic. Do we think small and low is better? It seems that way. Charlie Walsh had it right when he built at York and Schiller. I had hoped the Cresent Court could have been symbolic twin towers but we ended up with less.
Darlene Heslop April 27, 2012 at 04:13 AM
the problem with putting something that is very tall next to things that are very low is the creation of shadow lines and the blockage of natural light. while elmhurst place works in its location, a building of similar proportion would not on hahn street, however, i have a couple of ideas that would work that i have passed along to someone that deals with commercial real estate development who told me they are very good. we'll see.
Darlene Heslop April 27, 2012 at 04:21 AM
bill, my dad loves the weekly "cruise night" event in the town he and my mom live in...and i already know...the only difference between men and boys...is the size and price of their toys :-)...i know how much work some of these cars take to refurbish, keep up, etc. and they are treated like works of art...i realize that art is in the eyes of the admirer and beholder...so in the name of car buffs...i get cool cars...i understand why it exists...i understand why it's done...and just like a lot of things...and i live in downtown elmhurst...i just make some adjustments on wednesday nights from memorial day to labor day... .
Jim Court April 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Darlene, I am not sure what your ideas are but I have often suggested an anchor Hotel and residential property with perhaps some retail and appropriate parking. This would drive traffic to the downtown area and would be perfect due to its walkability index. While I respect the consideration of what you call shadows, I would not limit development based on this. What major downtown would exist if this was the deciding factor. I also suggested long ago that the homes on the west side of Addison be purchased, torn down, and Addison building line be pushed back to be in alignment with the rest of Addison Street. These are aging homes that do not reflect the character that Elmhurst strives to achieve. Would anybody want to join me in the creation of a massive educational and social group? There are so many good books out there that I find it impossible to read them all. By breaking into small subgroups, books could be analyzed, outlined, and ideas implemented, with the group creating accountability for members. There would be a large social aspect and it would help build a strong sense of community. One of my highest values and interests definitely embrace continuing education, a sense of community, and constructive and positive personal relationships. I also am a strong proponent of constant improvement. I once advertised for this under the heading of "Social Intelligence" and was surprised by the lack of response. Maybe I should have called it "Elmhurst Shores".
Jim Court April 29, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I have always wanted to believe that intelligent people would not mind the concept of assembling to learn and socialize. The several times I have reached out I have not received one response. Perhaps I have it wrong. Start a campfire, throw the books into it, drink lots of beer and wine, get very stupid, talk nothing but sports and a few jokes. What an idiot I am.
Jim Court May 13, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Peggy, Let's see. I may not be a genius and I no doubt have my share of limits. Where does that position me?


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