Forest Park Bank reconsiders location in OP

South Blvd. site, purchased in 2011, no longer certain

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

For many years, Forest Park National Bank has wanted to add a branch location in neighboring Oak Park. And since the spring of 2011 the plan was to build on a site it had purchased at 715 South Boulevard, just east of Oak Park Avenue.

Those plans are now in limbo as the bank considers its options.

Citing changes in technology that allow more customers to bank electronically and the failure of the village of Oak Park to obtain federal grant funding to remake South Boulevard into a one-way street that would better accommodate the proposed drive-thru lanes, the bank's president said its plans are uncertain.

Dan Watts, president of Forest Park National,  said the bank is considering other sites in Oak Park.

Watts said the bank's board of directors still has not decided what to do with the Oak Park property, adding, "We're not completely discounting the idea (of putting a branch at the location)."

Watts said Oak Park's inability to reconfigure the street is problematic. Making South Boulevard one-way would ease traffic congestion in the area and also make automobile access to a bank drive-thru "very easy," Watts said.

"The whole concept is to get rid of the median and enhance the corner to be more like Marion and South Boulevard," Watts said.

Donald A. Offermann, senior vice president of the bank, said in a written response that "changes in branch banking best practices, driven largely by technological advances in banking, have caused the (bank) board to reconsider the capital investment required for the construction of a large stand-alone branch."

Watts said electronic deposits with cell phones have made it easier for some customers to make deposits, a recent change that in part prompted the board to reconsider.

He said the Oak Park market, however, is robust and the company is still scouting locations in the village.


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Posted: August 27th, 2014 9:18 PM

South Blvd is 1 way west of O P Ave. 2 way East which is where the bank owns property

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2014 1:35 AM

"...and the failure of the village of Oak Park to obtain federal grant funding to remake South Boulevard into a one-way street..." South Blvd is already a one-way street. Did the bank want to remove all the angle parking spaces on the south side of the street? Is that what they were hoping for in a remake? That would not have been a good idea. But why the spaces angle in the opposite direction of traffic flow is a bit peculiar. Convenient for those coming from Oak Park Ave., I guess.


Posted: August 20th, 2014 8:22 AM

Always thought it was a horrible spot to put a bank.

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