Cain: End of an era in downtown Joliet
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain On Businessemail@example.com July 5, 2013 9:58PM
Bob Casanova's shop in downtown Joliet is for rent. Casanova died recently after working for 64 years as a barber in the area. | Photo by Cindy Wojdyla Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 8, 2013 6:33AM
The 100 block of Ottawa Street in downtown Joliet will never be the same now that barber Bob Casanova has died.
I last saw Casanova on Aug. 12, 2010, when I was invited to cover a surprise 94th birthday party for the popular barber at his shop.
At that time, Casanova was still working 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. He shared his life story with me then, and I was happy to take part in his special day.
Casanova was born in Farmington, but his parents died in a flu epidemic when he was 3. He was sent to Italy to be raised by aunts and uncles.
He came back to the United States in 1938 and was drafted into the Army in 1941. He fought in the European Theater but not Italy. Casanova was married to his wife, Cecelia, for 63 years before she died in January 2010.
Like many of his generation, his motto was, “A man has to work.” And he did, with humor and dedication for 64 years. When he died at 96 in May, he had just cleaned out his shop and was planning to make a comeback after an illness.
We ran a picture of Casanova blowing out his birthday candles for the birthday story. Now there is only a vacant shop and a sign in the window that reads, “To All of Bob’s Customers and Friends: Thank You for many years of loyalty. Bob truly enjoyed every minute that he spent around his barber chair, providing service, conversation and friendship.”
He was a good man who will be missed.
The RidgePort Logistics Center project at Lorenzo Road and Interstate 55 has been mentioned lately in discussions about the Illiana Expressway, which will link I-55 near Wilmington with Interstate 65 in Indiana.
The Illiana will absorb traffic from RidgePort as well as from two intermodal centers in Joliet and Elwood, state transportation officials have said. That’s why the Lorenzo Road interchange is being considered a part of the Illiana footprint.
RidgePort was proposed back in 2007. But then the Great Recession hit, and there was a delay in arranging sewer and water service for the site. Finally, Wilmington officials and the RidgePort developers agreed on a deal.
Now the sewer system is in and a 1-million-gallon water tower was recently completed and tested, said Wilmington City Administrator Tony Graff. He expects RidgePort officials to pick up the water tower permit this week. The developers plan to build a 560,000-square-foot spec warehouse to lease and “have interest in part of it already,” Graff said.
So after years of delays due to the recession and sewer and water negotiations, it seems the project is finally back on track.
Sale or no sale?
Rumors continue to persist that Department Restaurant and Liquor Lounge in downtown Joliet is going to be sold. Owners Hallie and Derek Brenczewski have moved to the Caribbean island of Antigua for a few years to get a casino up and running. They say they will return to Joliet eventually.
However, after pressing them for more details last week, Derek told met the couple may sell the restaurant when they return to the people who are running it in their absence, including the current general manager, Greg Roth.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @CindyWojCain.