Say no to a new D97 building behind village hall

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I was glad to see the article about the Nov. 5 District 97 school board meeting, in which the 75-day period to explore the viability of a new D97 headquarters in the village hall parking lot was announced.

This is an important issue that everyone in Oak Park should know about so they can be involved in the discussion and the decision-making process.

Living less than a block away from the site of this proposed new multi-story office building, my neighbors and I are very concerned about the project, but this is way bigger than just upsetting a few NIMBY South Oak Parkers — this will have ramifications affecting everyone in Oak Park. Lombard Avenue south of village hall is already a racetrack, with speeding cars and emergency police traffic. With at least 20+ kids on our block alone, every parent is rightly worried when our kids have to cross the street. We even had a car drive through our block party last year and luckily no one was injured.

The village hall parking lot is always packed with the overflow ending up on our residential streets. Adding a multi-story office building with numerous employees is only going to make this traffic and congestion worse. Everyone remembers the heat wave at the start of the school year, with kids being kept home or suffering in sweltering classrooms. D97 seems to have a lot of reasons why our kids can't have air conditioning, although their current "outdated" headquarters building manages to have it. You don't have to be a PR genius to see that selling Oak Park citizens on a spanking new office building before our kids have something as basic as AC looks and sounds terrible. As Oak Park taxpayers in a very modest house, the property tax portion of our mortgage payment is almost more than our principal and interest. I'm no math wizard, but no matter what they may say, having lived in Oak Park for 13 years, I'm sure our property taxes will be affected and increased by this project in one way or another.

Now here we are, at the start of a 75-day period to evaluate the viability of a major capital expenditure that neither the village nor D97 has the guts to admit they really want. It's hard to believe spending millions of dollars on a brand new office building is the only way to give D97 acceptable office space. There isn't one appropriate vacant building in all of Oak Park? They can't fix what they already have? If they really want to improve the Madison corridor, why on earth would they suggest building a new building in the parking lot of another building, just feet away from people's homes and not on Madison at all?

If you're concerned about this, I urge you to get involved. Go to the upcoming village and D97 board meetings. Our neighbors have started a group called NO D97 BLDG HERE. Please consider liking our Facebook page at or signing our petition at We even have signs you can print for your windows.

Remember, there will be a public forum on Dec. 7 or 14 and there is a Jan. 25 deadline to make a decision on this. With the involvement of as many Oak Park residents as possible, I'm hopeful we can make our voices heard.

Amy Williams

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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d.doherty from oak park  

Posted: December 6th, 2013 3:55 PM

these are questions that need to be answered BEFORE further steps are taken in what seems a completely crazy idea.

Amy Williams  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 12:23 PM

Last night I went to the D97 meeting and had to wait over 3 hours to have my chance to speak for 3 minutes. One of the board members (can't remember which one) said something about how they get emails all the time from 50 or 100 people but that doesn't really reflect the views of "all of Oak Park." Let's show them they are wrong! Please encourage your friends and neighbors to sign the petition against this building at

Amy Williams from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: November 18th, 2013 1:18 PM

There is a D97 Board Meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7pm -- it would be great if as many people as possible could attend

tired of being dissed  

Posted: November 15th, 2013 10:20 PM

The D97 school board is more than capable of ignoring comments from "crazies" aka anybody who doesn't agree with them. The recent referendum was "for the kids" and the school board promised they would manage the money carefully. And ever since they have been on a non-stop spending spree. The next board election in never more than 2 years away. Time to start organizing now. We should not allow any incumbents to get reelected.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2013 10:11 AM

@Q,I agree w/ you about complaining on this comment board.While some elected officials may read comments at, this is not the forum to let any elected officials know your viewpoints.Each taxing body has a website w/ a "contact us" page,w/ email addresses for the Board members.And public comments R always allowed @open meetings.The websites have agendas & minutes posted,so residents can B informed & go right 2 the source(s) rather than rely on an already over-burdened weekly newspaper.

Chris Williams from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2013 9:35 AM

You're wrong Q. People do need to vote in elections, very true, but in the interim there is a lot citizens can do to put pressure on the D97 Board to stop them from acting solely in their own best interests, and not the community. D97 is going to have a serious, serious fight on their hands. They are banking on people having your attitude.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2013 12:19 AM

Bridgett from Oak Park, once an elected official has the decision to make what they want happen, it doesn't matter how many people complain on a comment board. Once things get done, there is nothing left to complain about until the next project.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 10:45 PM

@Q, why would you wait until election time? People need to pay attention and be active more often than once every four years.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 6:22 PM

I expressed myself last time around for a "NO" to the referendum and nearly got run outta town. Meanwhile Carolina Song is still prancing about and even got a gig out of the whole debacle. You be there the 7th or 14th. Maybe one of the admins want to buy my house.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 5:54 PM

I saw NO to D97 on building a new building in the Village Hall lot or anywhere else.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2013 5:26 PM

If they want to build the building and it will work on the property that they are evaluating, then they will build it. If you don't like the decisions they make, then you express yourself when it's election time.


Posted: November 13th, 2013 5:07 PM


Chris Williams from Oak Park   

Posted: November 13th, 2013 4:31 PM

Great letter. This impacts all Oak Parkers. It is a boondoggle - a new building is unnecessary and unwanted. Voice your opinion at the public forum fellow Oak Parkers! See you on December 7 or 14!

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