“They need a front loader!”

That was the conclusion of a construction expert watching a City of Evanston crew fill a huge hole on Central Street on Friday morning.

The expert’s name is Ollie Vyrenhoek.

He is two years old.

Debbie Vyrenhoek and her two-year-old highway-engineer-in-training, Ollie.

Ollie, his three-year old brother James, and their friend, three-year-old Mae Van Esley (along with their parents) were enthralled by the cement mixer, the workers spreading the concrete, and the opportunity to see something exciting a few feet away.

“Sidewalk superintendents” (L-R): Ollie, Mae, James.

“Ollie and James love construction,” explained the boys’ mom, Debbie Vyrenhoek.

“We’ve been here for half an hour,” said their dad, Michael Vyrenhoek.

The workers that the kids were watching had been here a bit longer.

On Thursday, an aging water main beneath Central Street at Green Bay burst. Crews had to dig up Central and close it westbound. Water line repair was finished by Friday morning, with the water turned back on for the handful of customers who had lost service.

But westbound Central remained shut while the giant hole was filled, and is not expected to re-open until sometime Saturday.

So the preschool classmates, Ollie, James, and Mae will still have more time to watch the construction workers, and imitate them as best as they can.

Three-year-old Mae Van Esley with her toy bulldozer. Her mom Jillian was nearby.

Plus, the children also have a name for the crew members who drive the big trucks, put out the heavy signs, and patch the roadways … the “hey guys.”

As dad Michael explained, when the construction-loving youngsters see a work crew, the immediate thing the pre-schoolers call out is “hey guys!”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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