Sy Taxman last week distanced his company from the architectural design of the Shops of Downtown of Oak Park, saying former Trustee Susan Rakstang was to blame, having asked for a modern design that tied into the multimodal transit hub on North Boulevard.
“We do not take credit for the architecture,” Taxman said.
Rakstang, no longer an Oak Parker, was reached by phone last week and offered this rebuttal.
“That Taxman is claiming to build something they didn’t want to build is untrue,” Rakstang said.
She said Taxman originally proposed a “two-dimensional” design to the Shops building, much like the strip-mall design of the River Forest Town Centers. She took exception to that design and called on the company’s architect to redesign the building taking into account that the building really has two “fronts,” one on Harlem Avenue and one on the Westgate-accessed surface parking lot.
Rakstang said she didn’t want the architect to do a Tudor Style, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired, or other faux designs, but to create “an opportunity to delve into [the architect’s] own designs.”
Rakstang, an architect, said she didn’t ask for any particular design, “that’s exactly what I didn’t want,” she said.
“If Sy Taxman wants to hide behind my skirt, that’s fine. I’m not there to defend myself. But his recollection and mine are quite different.”