Over the past nine months, for reasons that will make an interesting column for another time, I've become a part-time commuter. Yes, I mean someone who gets in the car multiple mornings a week and tangles with the Eisenhower. I've been heading west, dropping someone off, and then heading right back east.
Housing comeback, right on my block: Been a bleak five years, right? This week is the anniversary of the implosion of Lehman Brothers and all the pain and anguish which has followed as real estate collapsed and the broad economy shrank and shuddered.
Here in Oak Park we perceive that we have an overnight parking ban. No parking on the street between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. "That's the law, always has been." "You have a garage, don't you?!" "Good for plowing snow." "Good for leaf pick-up." "Keeps us safe from West Side hooligans who like nothing better than to spend their nights hiding between parked cars." "Makes us a suburb, not like a city neighborhood."
I was raised to believe that Cook County Forest Preserve land was hallowed ground. It was to be left untouched. If the wind blew down a tree, well, there it lay, moldering until it was returned fully to the earth
The word of the night was "aggressive." The Oak Park village board convened Monday evening – that would be July 22, remember, the date - to consider and then quickly OK a draft of what staff called a "term sheet" and others might call "bullet points" that will form the basis for negotiations with a developer chosen to build on the Colt site in Downtown Oak Park.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to two men, who live in Austin, about their early years there as young men. They moved to the neighborhood in the late 1960s - 1968 or '69 - and were among the early black families on the far West Side.
So what happened in Oak Park for the first time 20 years ago today? David King hung the very first bright blue DK For Lease sign in an empty storefront. And, you may have noticed, he has hung quite a few in the ensuing years. Ubiquitous is the word that comes to mind.
Paging Sen. Harmon: Friday morning, Oak Park's own state Sen. Don Harmon will offer up his "Springfield Report" at a meeting of the Business and Civic Council. If he doesn't open with something along the lines of "Well aren't we the lamest bunch of legislators ever sent to the state capital?" I'll be disappointed. I'm beyond looking for self-deprecation. I'm looking for people to start falling on swords.