Downtown set for Bob the Builder Saturday

Published 3:28 pm Wednesday, September 10, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Some serious construction work will take place in downtown Niles this Saturday.
And, according to Todd Wakevainen, a member of the Niles Main Street Initiative Promotions Committee, there will be a lot of happy squirrels in town that afternoon.
So, really, what's this construction business all about?
It's "Bob the Builder Day", an event planned especially for younger children who relate to the popular cartoon character.
However, it's also the latest event organized by the promotions committee to draw people back to the downtown area.
Previously this year the promotions committee were successful in drawing a large number of people to the downtown are during the Great Niles Garage Barrage, and more events are planned throughout the fall.
Saturday then, perhaps, in addition to being a fun day for the children, might also be a good day for people to take a look at the progress that has been made in the downtown area since the downtown revitalization project started earlier this summer.
The event, which begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, will give young children the opportunity to build squirrel feeders and be around construction machines in a downtown Second Street parking lot that will be turned into a "real" construction site with construction signs, yellow do-not-cross lines and construction machinery.
The promotions committee has also acquired 250 small, yellow "safety helmets," and volunteers have sewn small blue tool belts the children can wear when they build.
And the squirrel feeders apparently won't be hard to build.
All children probably won't be able to build at the same time, said Wakevainen.
That's also why the promotions committee is planning to have color sheets and other activities ready that will keep the youngsters occupied.
But apart from getting the community involved in activities, Wakevainen said it's also important to get area merchants involved in fun activities that will be great for children.
Which is exactly what some merchants here have done by donating the materials needed to build the squirrel feeders, and even pre-cutting the lumber that will be used in the dimensions needed.
Others have donated gifts and a local school has donated the use of their woodshop's tools, while many volunteers have donated their time to help out with the event.
Chickie Landgraf is chair of the promotions committee and looking forward to Saturday.
She said the promotions committee has sent out flyers to Northside Child Development Center, which has students in the age group the event is planned for.
However, because it's the first time the promotions committee puts on an event like this, she is unsure of how many children to expect.
But she hopes for as many as there are tool belts and helmets for.
Sponsors who in different ways have contributed and whom the event organizers would like to recognize are: