The Oak Park Residence Corporation has hired a new executive director with a background in municipal government and investment banking. Most recently she has worked for a non-profit housing initiative in Chicago.
Something got off track recently with plans for Noon Whistle, a microbrewery, to sign a lease and open on Chicago Avenue near Austin Boulevard. The owners of the building — these days an indoor athletic facility but back a decade the mustiest auto repair shop you could imagine — said they worried about being left with a built-out and unusable brewing facility if the microbrew concept didn't fly.
John Hedges, former Oak Park village trustee, former park district executive director, one-time acting village manager and, a year ago, an unsuccessful candidate for Oak Park village president, returned to public life Monday with his appointment as the interim executive director of the newly reshaped Oak Park Economic Development Corporation.
Last year Oak Park's village government paid $15,000 to have a well-respected fair housing organization conduct blind testing to determine if local landlords were discriminating against potential tenants on the basis of race or disability.
A week ago I bundled up in the cold (I know, poor boy) and headed over to Oak Park Village Hall for a Monday night meeting. I wanted to be there when Anan Abu-Taleb accomplished his first major feat as village president: unanimous backing to remake Part 2 of the village's thoroughly and historically muffed economic development process.
Earlier in Monday night's meeting of the Oak Park village board, Trustee Ray Johnson was setting up his critical support for a plan to dramatically overhaul Oak Park's approach to economic development.