Instead of seeking to place Circle Theatre on Harrison Street, the Village of Oak Park should seek to relocate it to downtown Oak Park, which should become a theater district. As I pointed out time and again when I was Oak Park’s senior planner 30 years ago, downtown Oak Park will never again become anything more than a community retail district–it will never again serve the region like it did before Oak Brook and other malls opened.

With the Lake Theatre as its major anchor, and a slew of good restaurants, downtown Oak Park could flourish as the theater district for the western suburbs. All it needs is the theaters–and Circle Theatre would be a great start.

Then move Village Players to downtown Oak Park. The village owns enough land there to include both theaters in any new development–not to mention requiring any new residential development to include at least 20 percent of its dwelling units as affordable to people of modest incomes.

The time is now. Don’t blow it again!

Daniel Lauber

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