A gridlocked stretch of roadway that passes through Oak Park and River Forest is about to get even more bumper-to-bumper this spring. The state of Illinois is planning to resurface about six miles of Harlem Avenue, from 26th Street all the way north to Cullom Avenue, starting likely in May.
For the first time since the Great Recession hit in 2008, a handful of employees at Oak Park Village Hall are getting raises. Since Jan. 1, 2008, about 85 workers who aren't in labor unions — including the chief financial officer, police chief and village planner — have had their pay frozen. But this year village hall decided to loosen its belt a little, giving those employees a 2-percent pay boost.
It happened shortly after Oak Park reopened the fancified version of South Marion Street in November — pigeons, pooping on the pretty bluestone sidewalks. The village has viaducts all along the CTA Green Line tracks, at Harlem, Austin and so forth. But for some reason, those pesky pigeons have preferred to congregate under the viaduct at Marion over the past few months.
Do Oak Parkers really want a third trash can behind their garage? How will they feel about setting aside food scraps as a new category? Those are some questions village hall is exploring as it promotes a new pilot program allowing residents to pile up organic waste for composting.
Months after a "50-year storm" in July dropped 4.3 inches of rain on Oak Park, village trustees are set to discuss a possible cost-sharing program on March 1. Some $350,000 has been budgeted this year to go toward possible remedies, similar to ones offered by Elmhurst, River Forest and Elmwood Park.
A trendy falafel spot in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood is rounding out its offerings, and rolling out a new location in Oak Park this spring. They're currently building out a kitchen and dining room at the old Holiday Camera space, 1053 Lake St., with hopes of opening by April.
Since the late 1980s, Oak Park has been thinking large, hoping to possibly mend the "scar" that cuts across south Oak Park, by putting a cap over the Eisenhower Expressway. And since 2000, village hall has taken steps toward making the possibly billion-dollar pipe dream a reality. But lately the issue has appeared dormant, at least to the public eye.
Village hall plans to limit who can rent a first-floor storefront along part of Oak Park Avenue, hoping to encourage retailers to occupy the one-block stretch. Trustees voted 5-1 Monday to place new zoning restrictions on the 100 block of South Oak Park Avenue, just south of the Green Line, up to Pleasant Street.