I’ve been writing a lot lately in my print column about preservation and specifically the discussion about layering some level of historic preservation measure/restriction over Downtown Oak Park.
There was a public hearing last week at the library where the Historic Preservation Commission was supposed to listen to public comment. Sounds like, and I wasn’t there, that there was a decent turnout. Perhaps a bit of a surprise though was the turnout among the actual property owners from Downtown Oak Park. If there is a DTOP building owner in favor of this concept, I have yet to find them.
Last week was no exception as a parade of some 10 building owners were critical of the necessity of a preservation ordinance for the business area and suspicious of a perceived political motivation for considering it now. There were, I’m told, a smaller number of citizens speaking in favor of historic preservation in the downtown.
The preservation commission and the politically changing Oak Park village board, which will ultimately vote on the HPC’s recommendation, may be taken aback at the stridency of increasingly organized business people in this town. Clearly there will be spring election implications to this discussion.