When it comes to keeping a lucrative car dealership in Oak Park, signing off on a "business retention" agreement replete with various land/cash incentives is a no-brainer for the village board. Car dealerships generate gobs of sales tax, so it's both good and profitable to keep them around.
Purple Monkey Studios is a far cry from a lucrative Cadillac or Volvo dealership. It doesn't, in fact, generate any sales tax, and this is why some village board members may struggle with using government funds to help the successful website designer stay in Oak Park. In cost-benefit-analysis lingo, helping Purple Monkey with taxpayer dollars is simply harder to justify.
While recognizing some board members' caution about starting down a slippery-slope, we think it would be a wise move on the village board's part to keep this independent, locally-owned business in Oak Park. We believe this not only because the firm is well-respected, growing, and has a bright future, but because it's willing to move into?#34;and thoroughly renovate?#34;an eyesore of a 1970s building languishing on North Avenue at one of our critical gateways.
Granted, not every privately-held, profitable business is deserving of a village handout. But this business?#34;especially under these circumstances with a clearly identifiable benefit to the village?#34;certainly is. We trust the village can craft the appropriate program guidelines to make this move happen without setting an unhealthy precedent.
We've complained plenty about Oak Park losing quality businesses to neighboring Forest Park (and elsewhere). This is one business we'd applaud Oak Park coughing up $200,000 to keep.
And the beat goes on
By the end of the month, Oak Park will lose just one of the many beat officers who regularly patrol the village's business districts and residential neighborhoods. Ed Polfus has been walking his Avenue district beat (Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street) for the better part of a decade and during that time, he's been a warm, friendly, reassuring presence to the business community.
Polfus is, to us, a prime example of a good beat cop, just one of the many officers who have made Oak Park's community policing effort successful.
As we saw recently, brutal crimes in Oak Park occasionally grab village-wide attention. But it's the smaller incidents?#34;garage break-ins, reckless drivers, rowdy youth taking over a block?#34;that more often affect quality of life.
While many Oak Parkers (us included) may gripe about everything from a parking shortage to the lethargic pace of government, community policing is one area where, we believe, the village has been decisively successful. Community policing has helped neighborhoods more constructively grapple with?#34;and frequently solve?#34;complex problems.
It's a testament to the program that most everyone in Oak Park?#34;both businesses owners and residents?#34;know who their beat cop is.
Officer Ed Polfus, Avenue merchants say, will be missed. We wish him well.
Harry not so hairy
Continuing our succession of plaudits, we'd also like to congratulate the organizers and sponsors of last weekend's Harry Potter festivities. The detailed pre-planning effort obviously paid off.
The event was good for Oak Park?#34;-both because it's fun (though not sexy) and because it drew tremendous positive publicity.