Late Albion changes will benefit Austin Gardens

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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On Monday, Oct. 2, the Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees approved the construction of the Albion development at the corner of Lake Street and Forest Avenue, just south of Austin Gardens, one of the park district's parks. The Park Board of Commissioners have the duty to preserve and protect our community's park land. Based on information from professional shade studies, the board had concerns about the potential negative impacts to Austin Gardens.

During the Village of Oak Park Plan Commission's review of the project and the subsequent review by the VOP Board of Trustees, the park district provided detailed information regarding the negative impact to the park if the Albion high-rise were built. The park district would like to extend its appreciation to Albion and the village board, who listened to our concerns and made changes to the project's design that are expected to help protect the park. 

The park district recently requested that local architect Tom Bassett-Dilley create a shade model based on the new drawings. The good news is that the projected shading on the garden and photovoltaic array has been decreased. It appears some of the building mass from the north elevation was moved toward Lake Street, lessening the impact to the park.

The park district applauds the public process that allowed all opinions to be heard and the project to be analyzed from many different perspectives. The intelligence, insight and passion of our residents, no matter what opinion they held, reflects the distinctive community of people who live in Oak Park. With the decision made, we all must move forward and continue to work together for the betterment of our community.

The park district looks forward to working closely with Albion and the village of Oak Park to minimize the impact to park program participants and park users during construction and after the new development is occupied. The park district also looks forward to welcoming the new residents to the Park District of Oak Park's facilities, parks and programs.

The park district appreciates the Plan Commission's thorough process and time commitment in reviewing this project. We also understand that the board of trustees had to make a difficult decision that will impact our community for many generations to come.

As always, the park district board and staff will continue its dedicated stewardship of our community's parks and work in collaboration with all Oak Park governmental entities to keep Oak Park a great place to live, work and play.

Park District of Oak Park Board of Commissioners

Reader Comments

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Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 18th, 2017 8:45 PM

@ Bill D - Just a try at injecting some humor into a ridiculous situation.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 18th, 2017 6:32 PM

Nice try, Ray. But people who purchase or rent living space on the 16th-18th floor of a building overlooking a park don't spend their time pushing their faces against the northern exposure window in an attempt to look straight down at any dumpsters that may or may not be there..

Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 18th, 2017 3:54 PM

walking to a doctors appointment the other day I cut behind the property in question. It occurred to me that Austin Gardens, south border isn't the most attractive view in Oak Park. Neat and well maintained to be sure but I am sure the developers are not going to put picture windows on the north side of a muti million dollar building to showcase garbage cans, delivery dock and the backstage facilities. Being a "GOOD NEIGHBOR" runs both ways.

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