How'd that ever get built?

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Not in my backyard: Picture the corner of Oak Park and Madison. No, we're not looking at the Comcast building (more on that later). Look north at the Oak Park Arms and the radio antenna atop the building. I'm no judge of heights (more on that later) but that tower appears to be, what, 100 feet tall?

Put it on the list of things that wouldn't be built today in Oak Park. Imagine the village board meeting if the owners of the handsome Medical Arts Building on Lake Street or the less handsome 1515 N. Harlem office building (think of the round room extending out from the top floor) came forward and said they wanted to affix a decidedly vertical radio tower to the top of their buildings.

Outrage over aesthetics, dangerous radio waves, tipping in a tornado. Just plain wouldn't happen today. And yet we have driven past it every day since the early 1950s, only vaguely aware it is there and the source of zero upset.

How tall is that antenna?!: Front page of Wednesday Journal, maybe 25 years ago. Yours truly is reporting the story of Cablevision's efforts to gain approval for an antenna atop Mills Park Tower, the senior citizen building and another one for the list of things that would never get built today. The antenna was going to be 300 feet tall! I reported. A week later we ran a slight correction that if you added up the height of the 19-story building and the antenna together, they'd be 300 feet.

Radio days: There is an eccentric history to the radio stations housed over the decades in cramped quarters on the upper floors of the Arms. Egmont Sonderling, an immigrant from Germany, founded WOPA AM-1490 (Oak Park Arms) there in 1950.

These days it is WPNA (Polish National Alliance) and still broadcasting brokered ethnic programs. The more interesting history is on the FM side where WOPA-FM gave way in the early 1970s to WGLD, which struggled as a 1950s oldies station. Then the station stumbled into success and controversy when Morgan Moore, its midday host, shifted from records to sex, hosting "The Femme Forum," a call-in show. The FCC was not amused when it got complaints about a particular show where listeners talked about oral sex. It fined old Egmont $2,000 in a case that had long-lasting repercussions in limiting topics on radio. Not long after, WGLD gave way to WBMX – The Black Music Experience. I remember trudging to the top floor occasionally to be interviewed by the old WOPA host Len Petrulis and wending past all the accoutrements of the Black Music Experience. A total and hilarious disconnect. BMX eventually became WVAZ (V-103), though the studios of that popular station are, sadly, no longer atop the Arms.

Now about Comcast: A final vote on the proposal to convert the Comcast building into apartments for low-income people is now a week away. Monday night, though, the village board heard limited testimony from fans and critics of the project and then raised its own questions about the project that they want answers to before they vote next week.

Seems a safe bet to me that this project goes through, perhaps with some minor tweaks. But even the sharpest critics of the project were laudatory to the board this morning in their comments on OakPark.com, giving its members credit for their thorough understanding of the project and the focused nature of their questions. In this case, the critics are right.

Contact:
Email: dhaley@wjinc.com Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

40 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

OP  

Posted: May 19th, 2011 9:58 AM

agreed

OP  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 10:40 PM

This is the Words I based my hole life "Happiness grows at our own firesides , and it is not to be picked in strangers' garden". FOLLOW that advice and you can be happy like ME. Now go pick the litter

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 9:40 PM

Marco, You should come to the meeting and testify.Its people like you that will get this passed. we need YOU. Meds or not, we dont mind

The non psycho Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 9:03 PM

Good job Oak Park, This is what will be roaming your streets. Can you imagine 50 of them all together in one small building. Village board do the right thing. Reject this plan and wait for a better one that works for this town.

Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:53 PM

This development smell like rotten eggs to me

The Real Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:49 PM

Wow I have been hijacked! Get a real life loser!!! Go Bulls!

Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 6:11 PM

This has been interesting since I dont even live in op!

J.oak park  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 5:36 PM

@Chris, that was a great one. Thanks for the smile. Have a wonderful rest of the day.

Chris Koertge from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 5:28 PM

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain

O......P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 5:14 PM

"Fear always springs from ignorance" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 4:58 PM

These people will hopefully find work around the project. That will be the easiest solution

Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 4:31 PM

Patricia, when is stalking not a crime. This person went to your house, call the police. WJ please get this person of this site. OP take your meds already

OP   

Posted: May 18th, 2011 3:35 PM

Matthew. VII.1 teaches us "Judge not, that ye not be judged."

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 2:47 PM

And by the way. Knowledge is of two kinds. We KNOW a subject ourselves or we KNOW where we can get information upon it.

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 2:42 PM

O'Shea, I would hardly call that independent. Not passing judgement. I'd do it if I could. You both stated the same address on TV-6. I wonder if you didnt have children would you qualify to live at the new project? Now that would be really funny. I am wondering if the income limitation only applies to income or net worth? There are retired folks who I'm sure would qualify with the yrly income but not with their savings. Hmmm-

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 2:37 PM

It does look that way Steve and I find it shocking that there is tacit approval for the behavior by those this character collaborates with. Unfortunately, due to my willingness to stand up and be heard in this process my address is public knowledge.

Steve B.  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 2:25 PM

Patricia, there is something really strange going on with O....P,OP, OP Resident. Just the other day, I read how he was able to obtain personal and private information about another person who had posted a comment. I'm not sure what would motivate someone to undertake such an obvious invasion of privacy but it appears to be an effort designed to intimidate you and your family. Might be best to steer clear of this character.

O.......P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 1:53 PM

let us crown oursleves with rosebuds before they be withered

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 1:18 PM

A) Where/how I live is none of your business and has nothing to do with my opinions on this project. However, because I have nothing to hide..we have a two flat - you can't tell that by looking at the house (which I'm sure you've done - creepy). Old fashioned setup that I love. My children have their grandparents close and my parents help us with the kids. As my parents get older I will be well able to help them. It's perfect. B) I don't post under anyone else's name - that's your schtick.

O.......P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 1:07 PM

I call it a tag team. Im not sure how you and her differ on views on other Village issues but on this one you certain are in lock step. You are starting to be like the VMA who you hate so much. Ha Ha Ha Now thats irony.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 1:03 PM

I admire my daughter intellect, knowledge, ability to lead people to good decision, and her independence. Independence is the cornerstone of her success in life. To try to imply that because of our birth relationship that she always agrees with my views insults every woman in OP. This is not the 1950's when men thought the best characteristics of a woman was obedience and blind loyalty. Thank God, those days are long gone.

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 1:02 PM

Patricia, How independent are you. You both live in the same home. Not sure if its a 2 flat but that doenst seem independent. I also think you post under his name sometimes. Point I was making is that we dont live amongst corrupt leaders who do corrupt things. As unexciting as that may be. Go watch some board meetings in FP,Berwyn,or Cicero

OP Resident  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:48 AM

Patricia,We have nothing to fear but fear itself.-FDR

Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:40 AM

WXRT I believe was on Diversy near central?

former radio listener  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:37 AM

I was always under the assumption WXRT was once broad-casted from the Oak Park Arms... Anyone know anything about this??

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:33 AM

Also, all this "your Dad" stuff. Trust me. I am an independent nearly 40 year old career person. I think independently and speak independently. Inferences to the contrary are both annoying and insulting.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:30 AM

Findings of fact released to (insert any for profit developer name here) prior to the board and we wouldn't be able to sleep for the cries of outrage.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:26 AM

O'Shea, When you become a developer you can and will be more involved in the process. Its their project for gods sake. Your dad is then using words like "lack of financing" You cant have it both ways. Either they( Interfaith) were doing their part in obtaining financing and you blame the Village for something, or your dad thinks they dont have financing and thats a problem. I guess Interfaith or the Village cant win in your manual.

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 8:06 AM

Marco, for dhrames always go by contharies.This is what I KNOW and you MUST learn.

Marco  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 7:56 AM

Keep up the good work O....P. You will be the reason this project gets nixed!

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 7:52 AM

I've said it before and will say it again -TOO MUCH TILLAGE IS BAD FOR THE FIELD

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 7:08 AM

@ Oak Parker.the timing is important because someone in the village made sure that Interfaith had what it needed to meet it's financing deadlines. A document should not be released to a developer before the board and the public. And..posting a document on a website takes about 5 minutes.

OPWha?  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 6:51 AM

That just might be Perry there. OP has never been that articulate.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 2:16 AM

Stop following me around. You are Perry's little puppy dog; not mine!

O........P  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 1:15 AM

Whoa whoa whoa "lack of financials"? Really. This is why people ( I ) cant understand your approach. This would be your description and not an honest or productive one. No where in their testimony or application did they ever say or present that they dont have funding, but yet you use "lack of funding"? How come? It seems to just paint the applicant as a novice or one not quite able to fund this project. Clearly they are in the business of development and have successfully developed 15 others

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 12:50 AM

Because several people complimented the board on the amount of homework they had done and the quality of the questions, does not imply that 1)they will get real answers, 2) that the board will not need to answer follow up questions, 3) that the board will be able to get through the issues in one meeting. I did not get a sense from the meeting last night that the Finding of Facts satisfied all the members of the board. Two issues alone - lack of any financials, and the OP Preference are massive.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 18th, 2011 12:20 AM

Here we go: Why does timing play such an important role here for the opposition ???? All they consist of are "findings of fact" They were not altered, or deliberately with held. I'm not sure that they ever get released in other developments(maybe they do). Would it have changed your 3 minute testimony? I dont see how? Why do you bring it up? Not sure what it takes to make it public on the website but I can guess its not a 5 minute process.

Patricia O'Shea   

Posted: May 18th, 2011 12:05 AM

Just to be clear, I thought the board was great last night. However, My question on how the findings of fact was released to Interfaith at least 2 weeks prior to the board receiving it (may3) and 3 weeks prior to the pubIc receiving it (after a FOIA) allowing Interfaith to use it for a funding application to the IHDA due 4/15 stands. There's no innuendo here. Just facts that should be explained or admitted as inappropriate.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 17th, 2011 11:49 PM

Could'nt agree more with you Dan regarding the Comcast critics. It was so nice to see and read their comments after the meeting. There seemed to be so much speculation and innuendo regarding the Board, the process and the players that it wasnt easy to see the truth. I think if everyone can stay cool, calm and collected the end project will be that much better because of it.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 17th, 2011 11:44 PM

I'll take the bet Mr Haley! I believe it won't go through-not at all or not without significant tweaks. This isn't about a radio tower. It's much bigger than that.

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