Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tinley Park Community Halloween tops the region

Tinley Park saw a flood of Orland Park residents attend their annual Halloween for the kids program Saturday October 25th, in part because of the high fees imposed by the Village of Orland Park for their similar program.

The Village has been cash-strapped and has been increasing fees, cutting services and reducing the tax-rebate program which was approved originally to off-set the Orland Park home rule sales tax increase of .75 on all sales. The sales tax hike today has become regressive in the face of so many other sales tax hikes.

The Tinley Park Park District turned out to be the alternative to the high taxes and fees in Orland Park. There were no charges in Tinley for children or families from the within or outside of the village. And, in today's economy, that was a major source of interest for the more than 310 people who attended the event with their children.

Children dressed up in everything from witches to politicians, from Spiderman to Batman. The event was held at the spectacular 65,000 square foot Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center which in addition to being a recreation center and gynasium is also a museum for the many achivements of this car-racing family. The kids flocked around one of the Bettenhausen race cars roped off in the center foyer of the entrance lobby.

Down the hall, the Tinley Park Park District set up rooms with attractions that included a story-teller, an exhibit of bugs, spiders, and lizards, face-painting, games and more.

Downstairs, the kids could play more games and lined up for more than a dozen games where they could win prizes. The lines were long but the patient children had fun waiting for their turn to ring toss, play the "Bozo-buckets" and more and every child left with a bag loaded with free goodies to make their halloween enjoyable.

"This is amazing," explained one mother who said she lived in Orland Park. "We went to the Orland Park Halloween event and they wanted us to pay. It just seemed wrong."

Her sentiments were repeated by dozens of parents and the topic of the day in fact was the ongoing discussion about the charges in Orland Park, and the new taxes and high fees for services.

"I love the Orland Park Recreation Department. I don't blame them. But even if you are a resident, it's costly. I have four kids," another mother explained. "It's free here and my kids are loving every minute of it."

While Orland Park also sometimes becomes a self-promotion for members of their staff and friends to perform, Tinley Park's event focused entirely on the children.

The biggest attraction was the haunted house in the downstairs gynasium. Children entered and left the huge in-door haunted house screaming with laughter.

Students from nearby Victor J. Andrew high school served as cheerful volunteers to make the event from 12 noon until 3 PM the most enjoyable for the children.

This is the 6th year the village has hosted the free event for families in the region.

-- Ray Hanania

No comments:

Post a Comment