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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

There are, I think, legitimate questions left for the newly seated Oak Park village board to ask before its members vote shortly on the plan for three non-profits to convert the former Comcast building on Madison Street into 50-plus apartments for low income people.

But after touring two of the West Side apartment buildings run by Interfaith Housing Development last Saturday morning — along with three trustees, the village president and clerk, and a small number of sincere critics of the Oak Park project — there are also doubts that can be scratched from my list.

We rode in a small park district bus to visit Sanctuary Place on Kedzie Avenue near Chicago Avenue and later traveled to Sankofa House on Roosevelt Road. Both projects were built from scratch by Interfaith within the past eight years. One cost $8.1 million, the other $15 million to build. Each building is handsome, airy, filled with natural light and dotted with thoughtful architectural features. Some features are for the benefit of residents — an extra closet adjacent to each apartment in the building geared toward female residents, for example. Others go toward a strong sustainability focus — rooftop wind turbines, solar hot water heating.

Clearly to me, these are buildings that reflect Interfaith's long expertise in supportive housing, which are customized to the needs of each building's "mission," and which incorporate an evolving approach to supportive housing. Gladys Jordan, president of the group and our tour guide on Saturday, was plain in explaining that over the years her organization has moved from creating buildings that were more institutional, heavy, even smothering with social services, to a model centered on apartment buildings with a more subtle underlayment of services for tenants who need varying levels of help.

Last Saturday morning, these buildings were spotless to shining, quiet and staffed by people ranging from passionate to serene. Cynics could conclude that the kids all got shipped to a park, that the floor waxers had been humming all night on Friday. Didn't feel that way to me though.

Each Interfaith project, and there are 15, all in the city, is structured along similar lines. Interfaith is the developer. They line up the financing using every tool left in the federal tax credit arsenal. They find social service partners who come to the project with a specific social service mission. Sanctuary Place is focused on housing for women, mostly ex-offenders looking to get a footing to restart lives. Sankofa House is family housing with a focus on what they call "grandfamilies," or grandmothers raising their kids' kids.

In the Oak Park project, the social service partners are the Oak Park Housing Authority and Catholic Charities. The Housing Authority has been around for decades and has focused on turning around and then running Oak Park apartment buildings with a singular focus on racial diversity. It also runs supportive senior housing at Mills Park and the Oaks, and specialized housing for individuals with physical disabilities. With this project, they plan to offer a new service aimed at local residents who are working but have low incomes.

Critics ask, "How quantifiable is this need?" With all the state and federal regulations inevitable in this type of project, how real are the assurances of Interfaith and the Housing Authority that they can keep the residents in this building local and not become a spillover from the West Side? Interfaith seems confident. This is a case they'll need to make to the village board.

What other questions remain? As always in Oak Park it comes down to parking and the first floor retail being forced into this project. Is there enough parking? And why retail, on a street that is already struggling to fill spaces? Those are issues for the village board to discern.

Beyond that, I'm convinced. These are smart people with good hearts. Time to get past the noise of "bringing Cabrini to Oak Park." This is not that. This is a project that a progressive community like Oak Park embraces.

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

Reader Comments

110 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 9:25 PM

OP and Steve -- If the Fact-finding document was not completed until after March 17 because the job is arduous, why were they dated March 17, 2011. Wouldn't the March 17 document be a draft? Did the Plan Com approve a draft and not a final document? If you check the transcript, I am certain that you will find that Chair Bolte stated at the March 17, Meeting that the findings were not complete.

OP  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 6:29 PM

john, the findings of fact took time to complete. What makes you think they were completed 55 days ago? There is no conspiracy. The data wasnt manipulated. Enough already. I'm sure more complaining to come.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 4:30 PM

President Pope, If you wouldn't mind I would rather you went on the record in this public forum. I don't want to be placed in a position of misquoting you or misinterpreting your response. I guess this subject should have been covered when we first learned that Sen. Harmon had derailed efforts for real reform. There does seem to be a disconnect between true transparency in government and the actual process. This is not meant to single out you or any of our local taxing bodies. Thanks.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 4:27 PM

David - One question - If I hadn't submitted a FOIA, would you have been so magnanimous and transparent in making the Factfinding avaiable to OP residents?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 4:16 PM

Steve - Thanks for trying to help guide OP system and processes. Any guidance I get from officials in the village is like a trip through the desert with the guide yelling "Watch out for Polar Bears." I would be more impressed with your help if the factfinding document had been released 55 days ago like it should have been and if an FOIA wasn't need to get the info out of our transparent leaders. Thanks for saying you like me - OP doesn't.

J.oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 3:25 PM

have a laugh once in a while, Steve Rouse.

Steven Rouse  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 3:13 PM

@J. Oak Park; Seriously "circling the wagons". You sound a bit paranoid. The simple truth is I like John and I was trying to give him information to help him navigate the system and process. My small part in this development is over. It is up to the elected Trustees to make the final decision.

j.oakpark  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:43 PM

@ David Pope, thanks i found it, posted today... quick read. found it funny that the word "opined" was used several times. thanks again.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:41 PM

@ OP Resident -- I'm happy to set up a time to talk about it. Give me a call at 312-498-6001. Kind regards, David

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:37 PM

@ j.oakpark -- the coincidental post with Steve Rouse was, in fact, coincidental. The link to the document that Mr. Murtaugh and I were referencing earlier is at http://www.oak-park.us/public/pdfs/Planning/Interfaith/05.09.11_Plan Commission Report.pdf

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:34 PM

President Pope, I am a little surprised by your answer but appreciate the response. I'm sure you are aware of the actions taken by Sen. Harmon and just wondered where you stood on the issue. Should I assume that you are satisfied with the current FOIA requirements or do you feel additional reforms are needed?

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:26 PM

@ OP Resident -- Thanks for your question. I haven't spoken with Sen. Harmon regarding any state changes to FOIA regulations. Happy to talk with you further about the issue. I'm tied up this afternoon but I can be reached directly at 312-498-6001 if you'd like to schedule a time to talk. Kind regards, David

j.oakpark  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:21 PM

David Pope and Steve Rouse post nearly the same thing at the same time on different comcast posts...circling the wagons on this one are you? David Pope: you said ""findings" are already up"...up where, please.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:07 PM

President Pope, did you express your concerns or offer support to Sen. Harmon regarding the measures he took to derail reform of the FOI Act? Were his actions contrary to your stated position on greater transparency in the public process? I'm trying to find out exactly where you stand on the issue. Please share.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 2:06 PM

cont'd. - There is obviously a much longer set of materials associated with any application heard in front of the Plan Commission. These materials, together with the "Findings of Fact", constitute the full record of the hearing (and include the public hearing transcript, any ehibits introduced during the hearing, etc.). The full record typically runs well into hundreds or even thousands of pages. I understand that the "Findings" are already up and that the rest will soon be posted as well.

David Pope from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:58 PM

fyi -- the "Findings of Fact" are a legal document of a body sitting as a zoning board (in this case the Oak Park Plan Commission) in consideration of an application seeking zoning relief. They summarize the basic facts of the application and the relief sought, and then provide a recommendation to the ultimate decision-making body (in this case the Village Board) either in favor or opposed, subject to any additional recommended requirements put forward by the Plan Commission.

OP  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:42 PM

Thank You for the recap. For once, it wasn't about how awful OP is and their ways and how nontransparent everything is. Thank you john.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:28 PM

OP's POST ON THIS BOARD SINCE NOON -Gladys Jordan " I think everybody has that fear." Referring to the potential residents and the damage it could cause the neighborhood. She also feels former opponents accept the building and its residents after opening. - From Trib local.- Glad your on it OP Res. Im sure you will help the situation. - john, ahead of who? ANOTHER HARD DAY AT THE COMMENT FACTORY.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:24 PM

Real reform of the FOIA was gutted by Don Harmon.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:20 PM

I was told that the APPROVED (by who)Plan Com Factfinding was mailed to me today. The document is 46 pages. That is hardly a massive document considering the Plan Com minutes totaled about 50 pages. I have to believe the Fact-finding has been summarized, redacted,and purified. It can't contain twenty hours of testimony, missing commission reports, and the evidentiary documents and correspondence submitted at the hearing. Maybe the 46 page use a very, very, very small font and no punctuation.

OP  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:19 PM

Gladys Jordan " I think everybody has that fear." Referring to the potential residents and the damage it could cause the neighborhood. She also feels former opponents accept the building and its residents after opening. - From Trib local

OP  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:05 PM

Glad your on it OP Res. Im sure you will help the situation.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 12:49 PM

Village Clerk Powell needs to get on the case. Why hasn't this FOIA request been honored? Good chance that the Law Department is behind the delay. Powell claims authority but defers the decision and walks away. That's not good government!

OP  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 12:12 PM

john, ahead of who?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 11:57 AM

Developers, profit and non-profit, have handcuffed OP. They make promises without money with the encouragement of an ambitious board and support of a weak planning dept. NOW TO YOU OP - If you want to continue challenging every word I say, then at least read the opinions I have written. First go to http://www.oakpark.com/News/Opinion and read the article titled "Tackle Affordable Housing Without HUD's Help". Then go to https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark. Facts count!

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 11:44 AM

Hi OP Res - Sorry, I am sorry I was a bit sharp in stating that I had not said that the the board approval was a done deal. I got caught in the 500 character trap. After the Plan Meeting, I made a remark to the WJ that sounded like "done deal," but the message was parsed. I went on to say we were regrouping to decide how to proceed. That led to: https://sites.google.com/site/concernedmadisonoakpark. The web site has more detail on the development than the OPV, OPHA, and Interfaith combined.

OP  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 9:29 AM

john, The developer is a partner in this project. The developer is no different if it was a restaurant going in there and they were getting financing. When you phrase it that the developer has a "big head start", I must ask, over who? When you develop anything there is only one direction- forward until it either gets built or it doesnt. Simple enough. If the plan was approved and they didnt have financing , you would be the first person to point out the issue. No?

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:38 AM

Sorry, John. I guess I was referring to a report that the plan was virtually assured of being approved by the board after receiving the go ahead from the Plan Commission. Has Clerk Powell provided you any info regarding why the FOIA request has been delayed? I got the impression from her posted comments that it's her call. Very confusing chain of command at Village Hall. My experience has been that Ray Heise gets the final say. Every election we're promised greater transparency. Still waiting...

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 12:44 AM

OP RES - I never said that I thought it would get board approval. I did say that that a clear track had been prepared for approval including tactics that have been resident adverse. For instance; The Plan Commission Factfinding was provided to the developer who released it to the state as part of their financing request of 4/15. The report has NOT been released to residents despite a FOIA. Even if OP releases it this week, the Developer has a big head start. this is a 40 yr deal costing 15-20m.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 10:40 PM

Very interesting to hear from all sides on this issue. Let's hope the Village Board engages in a spirited discussion. I'm sure there will plenty of public comment. Whatever the final decision; it's important that there be a thoughful and comprehensive examination before the final vote. John Murtagh has indicated that approval will most likely be granted. Each trustee should be willing to explain their vote. No bobbleheading.

Curious George from Oak Park  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 8:20 PM

Comcast building - No preference for seniors, no preference for the disabled.

PMO  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 5:56 PM

Let's be honest here. Interfaith's developments like this have less than 10 percent Seniors and 10 percent is the high end. It will also be less than 10 percent disabled. Only 5 units will be outfitted for the disabled. So not only is it not serving the populations most needed in OP, it's barely serving the diasabled.

OP  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 4:49 PM

Groups meaning: Singles, Disabled, Seniors Etc.....

Curious George from Oak Park  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 4:19 PM

OP - funny you mentioned groups. Because it can't house any group of people, only singles. No families or couples.

OP  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 2:49 PM

The nice part about the project is that regardless of WHO lives there, it can house pretty much all groups mentioned. Not a problem in my eyes. I think you all will be delighted when this project is up and running and you all helped make it a better project. Thanks for all your energy and time. It doesn't go unnoticed.

PMO  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 9:07 AM

(Cont) but no, it is our own Oak Park Housing Authority led by Ed Solan who is choosing the preference. Ed Solan was quoted in recent years saying our biggest need was SENIOR housing. I learned that fact about who recommends the preference on the tour last week. I was shocked. There is something the "inside" players aren't saying. They can't all be this bad at plain logic! These are smart people.

PMO  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 9:01 AM

OP, space is not the issue. Lord knows there is plenty of undeveloped space all up and down Madison. Money is the issue. I fear OP is squandering this oppy to resolve what our own studies show is the greatest need for the community. It takes a good bit of time to dig in through all the documentation..hundreds of pages. But that's what it says loud and clear. Seniors, families. Until I went on the tour last week I thought it was Interfaith who wasn't recognizing what it says (Cont)

Chris Koertge  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 7:05 AM

(con't): Stop hiding in the shadows like a coward. Use your real name, OP. What are you hiding from if you are so strongly for this project?

Chris Koertge  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 7:04 AM

Patricia- since researching my statement to the planning committee the lack of proven need for this type of housing has been my greatest sticking point. Intelligent planning would spend $15 million of OUR money to get the biggest bang for the buck. Someone's personal or professional agenda has preempted this from becoming a win-win. This seems closer to a Bridge to Nowhere than the cornucopia that OP wants us to see. Is OP the one driving this agenda in disguise?

OP-Tell Us Your Story  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 6:10 AM

...and here he is again. No answers, no insight into why he feels this building is critical, no disclosure. It's the story of this project from the very start. And it's the biggest part of the problem...veiling things in secrecy and misdirection, and calling anyone who opposes it a racist only inflames the concerns...

OP  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 2:06 AM

There is plenty of space in OP to build additional senior housing.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 10:51 PM

One thing that's really bugging me about this lately is all of the Village's research (I'm sure we paid alot of cash for it)says that OP needs housing for seniors and families. The OP Housing Authority chooses the preference. Why are they going against the research? What are we going to have to build in 10 yrs to take care of our aging population while this building serves singles until 2053-ish. They'll say that it's open to seniors, but even Gladys Jordan says the model is not best for seniors

Angry Birds  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 10:20 PM

OP - Go live in Austin. What are you REALLY afraid of?

Interesting  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 9:18 PM

When OP changes his name to "Austin," then he can use be non-hypocritical. C'mon, OP, go and live with the people you eat with in restaurants, walk down the street with, grocery shop with, etc. But, what, you won't actually live in Austin? Why? Are YOU a racist?

OP-Tell Us Your Story from OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 7:57 PM

Don't worry, PMO...the development isn't in OP's neighborhood, apparently. He's not willing to tell us why he's so in favor of the development. And, anybody who isn't as "enlightened" as he feels he is must be a racist. He also has no idea (nor do we) who the residents of the development will be. He has to hope that these residents won't be "the drug dealer, the child abuser, the ex-convict, the prostitute, the oak park choker..." He's hiding something...I think he's Perry Vietti, frankly...

PMO  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 7:48 PM

Ah. When facts are lacking and NIMBY is tired, throw out the racist card. The Mayor of Wrongville is at it again.

OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 5:07 PM

RACISTS have no rights in my book. If you cant handle this development in your neighborhood, take a class or two. There are many many colors on the rainbow!

OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 5:05 PM

These residents will be the people you work with. The people you ride the bus,el and train with. The people you worship with. The people you eat with in restaurants. The people you walk down the street with. The people you grocery shop with. The people you see and wait with at a mechanic shop. The people you see at Village Hall. The people you see at schools and parks. The people you swim with at the pool. Lastly the people you may one day work for.

Same Ol' Same Ol' from Oak Park  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 3:02 PM

This poorly conceived idea will move forward like so many others in OP because someone wants it. But, in just a few years it will have no successful retail, no parking, appear on the police blotter regularly (more "isolated incidents"), and stand as yet another symbol of how our village can't bring Madison St back. The neighbors will have moved out of town. The WJ will lecture us all about diversity, bemoan lower test scores/ achievement gap, but support higher taxes. More of the same...

Not PC (but don't care) from OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 2:50 PM

Somewhere, a group of people in OP pat themselves on the back for being so openminded as to welcome this kind of dev that will increase OP's diversity and give the less fortunate a hand-up. "Peace and Justice" they shout. There are OPers who no longer go to the Jewel, buy gas on Madison St, or go to the new Walgreen's because they no longer feel safe or comfortable. This building makes that situation worse. Call them racists if you wish, but they have rights too. What about their concerns?

OP - Tell Us Your Story from OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 2:40 PM

I understand why O'Shea and Murtaugh are involved and have strong opinions. OP, you have been less than forthcoming, though VERY passionately in favor of this development. Care to tell the rest of us where this passion comes from? I suspect a financial interest, or a backstory straight out of Lifetime television.

OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 8:56 AM

Food, Shelter and Love. 3 basic amenities we all need.

J.oak park  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 5:45 AM

@op, you're not clever. but, i think, a little dishonest.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 9:18 PM

Yes

j.oakpark  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 3:47 PM

@OP, i asked you a direct question. have the guts to answer it.

Ken  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:42 PM

OP: I merely asked you to give us some sort of substantive opinion because, although you post frequently, you don't really say much. It was you who introduced the "spokesperson" idea.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:24 PM

OP, you are so wrong that you are the mayor of wrongville. Sharing a document with the public is as easy as posting it on the OP website. It's nearly as easy as emailing it to Interfaith. The fact that it wasn't shared with the public is either intentional enabling of the Interfaith proposal in advance of a Board decision or negligence. It's not a process issue.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:19 PM

Ask Ken why he asked me then? I only answer when asked.

j.oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:17 PM

@OP: are you a Representative of the potential tenets(in an official capacity rather than just a blusterer on this blog) or a resident of the YMCA? If not you are not qualified to answer on their behalf.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:17 PM

BINGO, There is nothing confidential about the findings of fact. Thank You. In time you shall receive. Gov't process as fast as fast can be. john, it takes tax dollars to do a lot of things and yes, the board are taxpayers. I'm sorry that you dont want this project in its current form, but others have faith in the process.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:08 PM

Guess who paid for the Factfinding cost which had to be several thousand dollars. We Did; the taxpayers. If the board wants exclusivity on the use of Factfinding information, they should have reached into their own pockets instead of ours. There is nothing confidential in the Factfinding -- it is the record of a PUBLIC HEARING. Thank God, you are not the board's attorney, or.....are You?

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:06 PM

........But they didnt. Here we are.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:59 PM

I do not question the mission, integrity, or dedication of Interfaith. I respect their desire to provide homes to the poor. But Interfaith is a business. As a business they have a responsibility to ensure that their developments are sound business propositions that keeps the customers' needs in the forefront. They didn't. Interfaith took bad advise from its partner(OPHA),and now have no idea who their customers are. Interfaith should have exited when the YMCA did not close.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:59 PM

I think you want the process to go faster than is happening. Well guess what? This is government in action. May 16th is almost a week away. Can you not figure out how to build your defense case yet.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:56 PM

I'm sure you'll see the findings of facts as we all will. I wasnt copied on any emails. The Plan Commission doesn't have any obligation to show you findings of facts. They already made their recommendation. Now its the boards turn. The Board will follow up on the findings and make their decision. Seems fair to me. Not sure what you want and why?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:44 PM

If it's done enough for Interfaith, why isn't it done enough for the public?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:43 PM

OP, I was copied on an email from Perry Vietti saying that Interfaith had it. So were you.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:39 PM

Sorry Ken. I disagree with you. Oak Park's glasses are half full. Are you a representative of the potential tenants? Do you live at the YMCA? If no, I dont think your qualified to answer questions on their behalf. The Village will be providing something to people who will welcome it with open arms I trust. O'Shea- Who is to say Interfaith has these documents and when? The findings of facts are NOT progress, but rather process.

Ken from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:30 PM

OP: There are plenty of apartments right now avail. in OP for $700 per month in buildings that allow HUMANS to truly integrate into the community. This proposal creates a segregated, stigmatized "Low Income" building for tenants. Not a recipe for success for tenants or the village.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:12 PM

OP, Interfaith having the finding of facts means it's progressing. The Village is clearly partnering with this external agency without sharing the same information with the public. It's a problem Oak Park seems to run into again and again. Marco is dead on here.

Marco  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 12:57 PM

So raising the low income levels in OP which will get more government money. Using government money and private investors with long tax excemptions and more tiff money available to use on Madison. That is not a conspiracy? you are using your HUMANS to get what you want.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 12:46 PM

Ken, It would be good for the tenants b/c they would be able to live in this wonderful diverse Village side by side w/ people like them- Humans. Rents would be affordable and they would live in a new building close to work and transportation. Oak Park would be fulfilling their desire of providing affordable housing to those with less and be inclusive as we like to be. OP also has LOTS of resources for the residents to utilize for their well being. All the reasons we as current residents like OP

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 12:34 PM

The finding of facts were not avail when the initial request was made ? They HAVE to be completed before the board can vote. They are for the boards use. Marco, what is progressing? The fact you saw someone at the site means nothing. If the board chooses NOT to go ahead with this project- END of story. No one is digging or such. Marco maybe its Elvis behind this conspiracy

Ken from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 12:16 PM

OP: It seems quite reasonable to expect the plan commission to release the fact-finding documents to the public if they are complete and if they've sent them on to Interfaith. I see a lot of posts from you but have yet to see you express anything of substance that supports your position. We all agree that helping people is a good thing. Can you tell us why THIS 51-unit all low income resident project would be a good solution for its tenants and good for Oak Park?

Marco  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 12:08 PM

The cover up is that you are progressing on a project before it has even been passed. I start a project on my house before the village sees it. I'm penalized.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 11:50 AM

john, Maybe we should send ALL documents to you first. Are you feeling left out AGAIN? Whats your issue john? Clearly you dont want something or you think there's a big cover up. What is being covered up john?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 11:46 AM

Tours by the board are fine. It is a great opportunity to share thoughts with the public and vice-versa. But tours are not transparency. To date, the Plan Commission has not released the Fact-finding from the its hearing. We, the residents, were told the complex document was not ready. Then we find out that Interfaith has a copy of the Fact-finding and sent it to the Illinois Housing Development as a supporting document for preliminary financing. More cloudy transparency in OP.

Marco  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 10:53 AM

Welcome to the republic of oak park. Your decisions are already made up for you. Remember what happened to soviet union, china and rome. The great oak park will fall as well.

OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 10:25 AM

Of course the fix is in. Stop progress. Are you crazy. Covering our A**. Who wouldnt. Your voice was to be heard on April 5th. I guess that means full steam ahead!! Marco, you really crack me up.

Marco  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 8:30 AM

OP can stay aloof because the fix is already in. There was a team out there yesterday, I'm sure progress has not stopped in the development stage. The village board is just covering their A@@ so there won't be any complaints of do dilegence. If your against this project, you better let your voice be heard, if its not already too late.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 2:00 AM

Very good suggestion, John.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 11:31 PM

(OP) I'd like a shot at an alternative to the Madison Housing Development. The Interfaith/Oak Park Planning Authority proposal is dependent on high risk (Remember the Deficit?) Federal Government Housing Program. The current proposal is high risk with Fed and State funders due to it 15-20m cost. Since there is no current urgent demand for single room housing in OP, the board should table the development until a comprehensive and objective study of all Oak Park needs is completed.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:56 PM

That's the thing I can't figure out. Why you don't truly advocate for your cause here with the facts. Why you choose this persona.

OP  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:43 PM

I thought I was 99% hot air? Make up your mind.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:41 PM

You were on the bus. So let's hear your thoughts. You're not nearly as uninformed as you say.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:36 PM

You realize, you drop hints to your identity.

OP  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:32 PM

Thats All you have ever heard. Now you finally admit it. You hear what YOU want to hear. Sorry that's not how it works. Even though this may be your first issue in the Village- It not my duty to teach you.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:26 PM

All I hear is static OP. Unless you can give me something factual it's all static.

OP  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 8:57 PM

Knowing more about WHAT? The fact that you dont want it? So you know how to fix it. Not quite!

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 8:50 PM

OP, I might not have formal experience, but I sure know more about this than you. You advocate, but can never answer a question. So criticize away. Anyone with half a brain can see it's 99% hot air coming out of you.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 6:19 PM

For the Record - Interfaith public testimony, repeated on several occasions, was that they did not make the decision on the Comcast Building being used for Single Housing. They state loud and clear that the "Singles Only" decision was made by the Oak Park Housing Authority, an independent Illinois municipal corporation.

OP  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 6:07 PM

Clearly the interfaith people know what the "right something" is. Their track record speaks for itself. I guess if we build something it better stand up to the P O'She test. Lord knows you have so much experience with development of any kind. Pleeeeease.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 10:32 AM

And ironically, in Oak Park's own reports and studies it is Seniors who need more supportive housing. Seniors and families. No where are singles cited as a major need. However, if you track back to the genesis of this project you'll see why we're there today - hint - YMCA. Check out the history page at www.madisonprojectinfo.com or John Murtagh's One View in this week's paper for that story. We can build something, but let's make it the right something.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 10:04 AM

Just as it is not a place planned for seniors. The president of Interfaith said during the tour, "Senior Housing would be better for them".

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:53 AM

I challenge "not a big conspiracy to hide anything". Maybe no conspiracy, but definitely intentional spin. The Village, in their ad for this week's tour, said the project is "for special needs residents". This is a building legally for low-income residents with a preference for people currently living and/or working in Oak Park. There's nothing stopping special needs residents from living there provided they get on the list, but it's not a place planned for them.

OP  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 9:06 AM

Because they have beat up cars and they dont want us to see that!!! I dont have answer. Maybe ask who ever set up tours. I think the WJ can find out the other property addresses and we can check out for ourselves. I dont think there is a big conspiracy here to hide anything. They have been upfront on what they want to build.

Seeing Painted Rocks from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 7:27 AM

@OP - Why not address my MAIN question? If there are 15 of these buildings, why did they visit ones for women and grandparents instead of for the population that is targeted for the Comcast building? Surely out of 15, one has to be similar.

OP  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 11:16 PM

Yea, Lets look at the condition of the cars. Great Idea. If there are beat up cars. Dont build it!! Oh NO!!

Seeing Painted Rocks from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 11:13 PM

If there are 15 of these buildings, why did they visit ones for women and grandparents instead of for the population that is targeted for the Comcast building? Surely out of 15, one has to be similar. Maybe those don't show off as well? Do any of the 15 depend on including retail to succeed? How's that working out? How many residents in those buildings have cars, and what condition are those cars in? If this plan fails to live up to the grand expectations we will be stuck for many many years.

OP  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 2:43 PM

Humans will be welcome. Ahhh

Ken from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 11:43 AM

"...how real are the assurances of Interfaith and the Housing Authority that they can keep the residents in this building local and not become a spillover from the West Side? Interfaith seems confident." Confident?? From what I've seen in testimony, Interfaith has stated that they cannot control the resident mix so that it is all/predominantly OP residents or workers. They can only use income level as a guide.

OP  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 10:46 AM

marco, If not they should just build across the street where Offset Press was. Not sure what is happening with that development.

marco  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 8:24 AM

Those buildings look and sound great. I also have confidence that this building will be well built and maintained, but this is not even the same build. This is retrofit of an old auto garage with tight dorm style units, not airy and cutting edge. Then of course the commercial and parking. does not fit. Can this building even handle the extra stress of more floors?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:47 PM

There were 4 concerned citizens on the tour. I hope to hear there are more this weekend.

OP  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:38 PM

Its projects like this that really make Oak Park what it really is- "Intelligently Inclusive". This segment of the population in Oak Park has been undeserved for years. Lets do the right thing.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:33 PM

I should caveat. I don't know what the board knows. It just seemed from the questions that the understanding was not as deep.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:31 PM

As time goes on, after the front-loaded list is cleared, who will live in the building? I heard loud and clear that the bldg mgmt is not legally allowed to discriminate on anything other than income status even though a preference is there. Or is that managed through loopholes too? I really enjoyed meeting the board members. Many (most?) knew less about the details than me. I hope they will take the time to truly understand the details before signing off on a 40 year deal.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:25 PM

Cont. I met some great people...especially liked the staff at our second stop. However I didn't see anything that makes me think it's a better model than true integrated low-income housing. the other thing I really don't understand and was not clearly answered was why is Oak Park being allowed to target Low income only when the other Interfaith buildings are low income / ex con women and low income / grand families. Have we found a loophole in the funding?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:18 PM

You and I saw different things Dan. I agree that the buildings are a ray of sunshine in the environment they are in. I am a bit cynical in wondering where the dozens of residents were on a Saturday morning. Oddly absent. I plan to drive by on a non-show day to see if it looks the same...also, what I saw was institutional. Unlike any apartment building I have ever lived in with the hospital-like flooring and all white wals. Think it's working in the city...cont.

OP  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:09 PM

Well said Dan. It seems Oak Park has some demonstrative examples of success in this area. Looking forward to this project only IMPROVING from the Board process.

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