I felt sorry for the trustees on Oct. 27 as they participated in the decision about development in downtown Oak Park. What felt to me like an organized pressure group tried to bully them into rubber-stamping a plan for our downtown that would do little to nothing to "save" it. I was truly glad that so many of the trustees stood firm in their principles, and did not yield to such pressure.
The committee that discussed the plan devoted much time and energy to it. But alas, design by committee never works. There is a reason that creative geniuses like Frank Lloyd Wright worked alone. Groups are wonderful for many things?#34;creative solutions is not one of them.
I agree with Trustee Elizabeth Brady when she said that people are willing to pay high property taxes in Oak Park because it is unique and that taking away that uniqueness could hurt property values. That is why I have lived here 30 years, first as apartment dweller, then condo owner, and now homeowner.
The proposition to restore the Colt building and open up its arcade with a cover over it is very exciting. What a wonderful addition to our downtown that would be! From having visited and shopped in them, I can say that arcades are very special places. This area could help to take the place of the current open green space on Marion if it ends up being destroyed for a street. It would also finally open up a clear entryway for people to explore Westgate, and serve as a pull to draw them there. That little undiscovered gem hidden behind Lake Street would finally have real development potential.
It's tough to stand up for what you believe is right in the face of such loud opposition. So I thank those trustees who had the courage to do so, and to vote what is right, not what is expected. That's how great things happen.