Village development, downtown directors leave for Tampa

?Village of Oak Park Development Director Mike Chen will leave his post in mid-August to take a similar position with the City of Tampa, Fla.

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By KATHARINE GRAYSON

Village of Oak Park Development Director Mike Chen will leave his post in mid-August to take a similar position with the City of Tampa, Fla., according to a village statement. He will be joined by his wife, Donna Ogdon-Chen, director of the Downtown Oak Park business association, according a news release from that organization.

Chen has overseen village government's economic development efforts for more than five years. During his tenure, Chen has dealt with multiple controversial developments, including the embattled Whiteco project now planned for Harlem and Ontario.

He has been hired on as Director of Urban Development in Tampa, a city of more than 300,000 people. Ogdon-Chen has been the director of downtown for over 13 years.

Both Chen and Ogdon-Chen were out of the office on Monday and couldn't be reached for comment.

In a press statement, however, Chen called leaving Oak Park "bittersweet."

"I am proud to have played a role in the significant progress made in putting the community on track to overcome what had been decades of commercial stagnation and decline," he said. "Much remains to be done here, but an opportunity to help lead the economic development efforts of a city the size and vitality of Tampa, Florida, is a career opportunity I simply can't refuse."

Also in a press release, Ogdon-Chen said she was pleased with the progress downtown has made in recent years.

"I leave Downtown Oak Park in the most capable hands, our board of directors, our members and staff. I am confident they will continue the work that has led our central business district from a once blighted area to one that our community can enjoy and be proud of," she said.

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