Lake Zurich is using a Saturday night street party as a way to lure developers for a long-desired downtown redevelopment.
Rock the Block comes on the heels of a recent, significant move by the Lake Zurich village board regarding downtown. Trustees agreed to spend $115,800 to tear down five village-owned buildings, followed by grooming and seeding of the properties to make them more attractive for mixed-use projects.
Downtown redevelopment has been a longtime issue in Lake Zurich. After months of feasibility studies, the village board in March 2002 approved boundaries for a special taxing district to lure developers to the downtown, but nothing significant has occurred because of the weak economy and other factors.
In an effort to show off downtown's potential and how residents would be willing to go there to patronize businesses, the inaugural all-ages Rock the Block party will be staged by village government on Main Street, between Old Rand Road and Church Street. Three bands, food, beer, face painting, balloon art and more will be part of the fun from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Dave Peterson, recreation manager for the village's park and recreation department, said some developers have been invited to attend Rock the Block.
Mayor Thomas Poynton said never before has such a large-scale event been attempted on downtown Lake Zurich's streets.
"I think we're going to have a pretty good party," Poynton said. "I was at the Wauconda street dance (recently) and they had an unbelievable crowd. And I think we're as good as Wauconda or better."
Planning for Rock the Block, which is expected to become an annual event, began after Poynton and the new village board were officially seated in May. A Rock the Block volunteer committee, headed by Peterson, met over roughly eight weeks and included members of the Rotary Club, Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, local business owners and residents.
"It was a big help to have a committee of members with local knowledge and marketing (expertise)," Peterson said.
Rock the Block was selected as the street party's name at the recommendation of the committee's marketing professionals.
Cover bands '80s Enough and Friction will be the main acts, with pop artist Sly Rose entertaining between sets. Beer, wine, sangria, mai tais, water and other nonalcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.
Rock the Block will have representation from food trucks and Main Street restaurants. Babycakes, Gelato D'Oro and Pupusita Express will be among the food trucks, Peterson said.
Although there is no admission charge, organizers ask that patrons donate three nonperishable items to the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lake Zurich. Great Lakes Naval Station personnel will assist in selling bottled water to benefit the food pantry.
For more information, check facebook.com/lakezurichrocktheblock.