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Oak Lawn trustee says problems with estaurant are being addressed

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

 

The Chuck E. Cheese chain of restaurants are billed as family entertainment centers, but the Oak Lawn location at 4031 W. 95th St. has a reputation as a trouble spot and Trustee Terry Vorderer (4th) said he recently met with owners of the Texas-based company to solve the chronic problems.

“It is a very big issue with people in my district,” said Vorderer, who reported at the village board meeting on Tuesday that since being elected three years ago, he has been working with owners of the local establishment to address the concerns.

“As a result of these meetings, advanced security measures have been incorporated,” he said.

For instance, the liquor license was voluntarily relinquished by the owners, who also have bolstered security with at least two off-duty police officers in the restaurant. Sections of seating were also removed to prevent overcrowding. In addition, the owner of the shopping plaza where the restaurant is located pays for a police vehicle and an off-duty officer to monitor the parking lot.

“All of these items and more were instituted at the request of the village with the goal of advancing the safety and security of a place designed to attract and entertain young children and families alike. Unfortunately, while these measures were successful, they are not perfect, as evidenced by the latest incident in August,” said Vorderer.

He was referring to an incident in which a domestic dispute between customers escalated, and a man injured police officers as they were arresting him.

The trustee said that on Sept. 10, he and Mayor Sandra Bury, Village Manager Larry Deetjen, Village Clerk Jane Quinlan and the village’s legal counsel had a two-hour meeting with Chuck E. Cheese President Roger Cardinale, and senior vice president Rudy Rodriguez, who arrived from Irving, Texas, for the meeting. Their attorneys and regional manager were also in attendance.

“We discussed our continued safety and security concerns for those families visiting Chuck E. Cheese and the neighboring stores, and sought real solutions to the problems plaguing this area,” he said.

He said Chuck E. Cheese has agreed to retain a security consultant who will be providing his findings at the next village board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29.

“After this report is reviewed by our police department and our comments have been incorporated, the consultant will present it at the first October board meeting (Oct. 11), so the public will know that these issues will be addressed in a swift and meaningful manner,” said Vorderer.

He noted that the company owners have already promised to perform additional staff training in spotting potential trouble and taking corrective measures before things get out of control.

“In the end, the concerns of not only my constituents but all the citizens of Oak Lawn regarding this problem will not fall on deaf ears, and we will continue in our efforts to make sure this area is not only family-friendly, but also safe and