Long-term investment in the community. That's how Oak Park Village Manager Cara Pavlicek defined economic development.
But the term has also landed in a pile of clichés tossed around at local government meetings. Economic development is a big term, but it can also be just talk.
If done right, it has the opportunity to transform Oak Park into a more viable business community. If not done right, it becomes another dusty report on the shelf of "to-do" lists.
Pavlicek hired on with an economic development background and the board recognized that. She said Oak Park development is currently "flat" and we need a better system. We applaud her for speaking frankly about the issue but are also waiting to see how the village redefines economic development as it recruits a new management level person to bring the village to the next level.
The community and economic development director position was on the village's budget once before and didn't happen. It was budgeted again this year and the search has yet to start.
The ultimate goal is lessening the heavy tax burden on businesses and residents. That's the economic development people want most.