As Lisle turns 60, changes are visible
In 2006, following one of the longest parades in the history of Lisle, roughly 500 people braved the aftermath of a thunderstorm on Sept. 30 to assemble on a green stretch of grass in downtown Lisle for the community's official 50th anniversary photo.
In the basket of a fire engine extension ladder high above the crowd, the photographer captured a bit of Lisle's history as residents waved and banners flew. Among the participants were Lisle Mayor Joseph Broda, Morty the Oak from the Morton Arboretum and the Lisle Teens with Character.
Parade grand marshal Bea Malloy, the 95-year-old widow of Lisle's first mayor, Thomas J. Malloy, held a spray of flowers and stood front and center.
The Lisle 50th Anniversary Committee, a group of local residents, created and sold a DVD of Lisle's history, a commemorative book and yellow T-shirts emphasizing Lisle values of family, trees, education, fun and fireworks.
Fast forward to 2016. As Lisle celebrates its 60th anniversary, the fanfare is toned down. A large three-tiered hot air balloon was the birthday cake celebration at the Eyes to the Skies festivities.
Considerable change is happening to the patch of green grass where residents stood for the photo 10 years ago. An enormous excavation surrounded by fencing defines the area where concrete footings and foundation are in place for construction of a $50 million development with 201 apartments and 14,000 square feet of new commercial space.
The mixed-use structure will have elevations ranging from three to five stories. The projected completion is late spring.
Within the past 10 years, a major renovation of Main Street created a two-lane roadway with broad paver sidewalks with designed inlays to create an Arboretum Village streetscape. Flower boxes showcase the different seasons. Overflowing pots of flowers hang from period lampposts. A water fountain created of natural materials is at the entrance to the Garden Walk on the west side of Main Street.
Another vital improvement for Lisle was the creation of a 4.5-acre recreation area called PrairieWalk Pond. A paved pathway surrounds the water where no pond existed before. There is also an interactive children's play area called Dragonfly Landing and outdoor seating.
The future is blooming for the arboretum village.
"I'm excited to have witnessed progressive anniversaries for the village both as a resident and a trustee/mayor," Broda said.
"What I love about Lisle on the 60th anniversary is very much the same as what brought Joanne and me here 38 years ago: great family community, small and friendly with many amenities. I think we continue to maintain the balance between a small community feel and large community opportunities."
"The celebration of Lisle's 60th anniversary will be celebrated via a variety of events throughout the year," said Catherine Schuster, the village's marketing and communication director.
The plan is to observe the village milestone at preplanned events. Village staff created a 60th anniversary logo in house that appears on the banners adorning Main Street. Sixteen banners hang along Main Street, at the Lisle train station and two within the village hall.
The business office at the village hall is selling Lisle T-shirts in black and light gray with a logo of the Arboretum Village. Shirts cost $10 each and are available in sizes small to 2XL. Credit card purchases are only online.
The PrairieWalk Pond Concert Series features music at 7 p.m. Thursdays through August. The Aug. 18 concert is high energy 7th Heaven, and Aug. 25 is Jin and Tonic country music. The concerts are at PrairieWalk Pond, Route 53 and Garfield Avenue. Bring chairs and blankets as preferred. Concerts and parking are free; food, drinks and wine will be for sale.
Visit villageoflisle.org/654/60th-Anniversary-Celebrations for the latest details and additions. On the village website, you also can sign up to receive the newest E-Notify for the latest information on the village of Lisle.
The village of Lisle is at a threshold of change on this 60th anniversary. It is a small community that prides itself on having the world-class Morton Arboretum, major hotels, first-class corporations, quality education and sports facilities, and neighborhoods of families who value community.
• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. Her column appears monthly in Neighbor.