I was saddened to read recently that the village trustees are considering opening the Marion Street Mall to traffic. The fact is that any new roads will quickly become as congested as the old. But if we open the mall, we will never, ever be able to get back a unique public space.
The mall is one of the few?#34;maybe the only?#34;public spaces in Oak Park in the midst of stores where families with children can casually stroll after dinner at a nearby restaurant, enjoy a summer festival, hear street musicians and meet up with friends unexpectedly. It is a public square that gives us space for community and for retreat from the noise of cars and the need to grip our children’s hands firmly at all times.
The spirit of the Oak Park community is why we live here. We didn’t choose Oak Park because its property taxes are low. We know we can live other places and pay less. The village trustees have clearly lost sight of what makes Oak Park a strong community. They should consider changes from that perspective rather than how property taxes will be affected.
While Chicago has been busy creating public spaces?#34;moving Lake Shore Drive to open up a museum campus, and building Millennium Park?#34;we’re casually thinking of tearing ours down.