Colorful streamers flew through the center court of Yorktown Center Friday morning as mall officials and Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio cut a ribbon to celebrate $20 million in renovations that are nearly complete.
"Sometimes we take it for granted that we're only five minutes, 10 minutes or even 15 minutes from the mall and how lucky and fortunate we are to have this mall in our backyard. Lombard does love Yorktown," Giagnorio said. "Today, we're pleased to see that their concepts and visions to enhance the food court and the center court areas have become a reality."
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Yorktown Vice President Donna Blair thanked customers for their patience through the construction, which is still ongoing at a southern entrance near Egg Harbor. Improvements to the landscaping and parking lots also are scheduled to take place this summer.
In addition, Blair expressed her appreciation for the village staff's support.
"They have really been excellent partners with us. They've been working with us for the last year to really get the design and construction to where you see it today," she said.
Blair said the focus of the renovations to the mall's center court, food court, bathrooms and entrance was on comfort and convenience.
"We really wanted to have a place where you could come and relax and take a break from shopping and mix and mingle with your friends and family," she said.
Hundreds of guests who arrived early lined up to pick up free lilac saplings. After the ribbon-cutting, they had a chance to get a slice of cake and visit nearly a dozen tables set up by Yorktown businesses that included samples, raffles and giveaways.
Shoppers could be seen sitting around a new fountain in the renovated center court, enjoying food samples and music provided by a jazz group.
Jessica Perez of Villa Park brought her 2-year-old son to the event. The two took a break from the activities to enjoy some chips and guacamole handed out by Lucky Strike.
"I think it's nice," Perez said of the renovations. "I like the fountain. It looks a lot cleaner, more modern feeling."
Tim Wedell, executive chef for The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, was helping serve Carolina barbecue on cornbread crostini and shrimp and grits. He said participating in the event gave the hotel good exposure.
"They've done a wonderful job," he said of the renovations. "It's bringing a lot of life back over to this part of the mall."
Stacy Gemelli of Glen Ellyn decided to come out to the event after receiving a flier about the ribbon cutting in the mail Thursday.
"I got to eat lunch and get some samples, listen to some music. It's great," she said.
Gemelli added that she thought the renovations were "classy."
"It's keeping up with the times with other malls that are renovating and getting more modern," she said. "Compared to how it's been the last decade or two, it's a modern, new mall."