The funny thing about facts is everyone seems to have one. They're seldom checked but often relied on. As was the case with the board's decision on Comcast [Comcast project gets enthused OK, News, May 25].
If President Pope and trustees Johnson, Hedges and others checked their village files, they'd have lots of data on the "neighborhood" surrounding the Comcast building. The YMCA proceedings provided reams of it. Among the findings the trustees understood a couple years ago, based on U.S. Census data, the neighborhood comprising census tract 8128 was found to be as follows:
Tract 8128 (the "neighborhood") is the most densely populated in Oak Park;
It is the most racially diverse;
It is one of the poorest;
It has one of the highest concentrations of rental units; and
It has one of the highest concentrations of affordable housing in Oak Park.
How's that for meeting Oak Park's diversity goals? Not sure where the median household income statistic came from ("developers say the tenants [who would earn $26,300 or less] will take public transportation, and the development will lead to economic integration of the neighborhood, as the median income nearby is about $86,000," according the Journal article).
But that is just plain false and misleading. Period. Based on data available, the U.S. Census Bureau's American FactFinder estimates the median household income of the neighborhood to be $44,069 compared with Oak Park Township's $59,183 (P53, File 3).
So the reality is the median household income of the neighborhood is 25 percent less than the village average and 50 percent of the developer's estimate. So where were the village's fact-checkers when the developers presented their facts? I guess the reality of the board's decision was to concentrate even more poor into the one of the poorest neighborhoods in Oak Park. Sound planning indeed.
Brian K. Lantz
Answer Book 2017
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