Comments submitted online at Wednesday JournalOnline.com:
No one except the board and the developers are in favor of this. [Oak Park close to partnering with Lake-Forest developer, Web extra, June 23] Please do not do this as is.
No one I know wants a building that big, and the parking is totally inadequate. Three hundred is fewer spaces than we have now, and the extra 100 is not going to be enough for the 70 condos, a hotel and extra stores. You can’t look at the current garage and talk about average occupancy; you have to look at maximum occupancy and what happens when shoppers or theater patrons can’t find a place to park. Of course they go elsewhere.
And where are the millions going to come from? If we are giving them the land, they should be giving us the fully built garage.
As a resident and homeowner in Oak Park for more than 10 years, I have observed several of these proposed new real estate and redevelopment plans. Many of these proposed projects are currently still surface parking lots, while others like the Whiteco apartments were bogged down in the red-tape process for years. Let’s not even discuss the Westgate building.
The stores on this block at Forest and Lake are now totally vacant and not very appealing. It would be great to have a new, modern, mixed-use project at this central location, close to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio and other interests. It would be wonderful to have a new hotel to accommodate relatives and visitors who come from all over the world to see the Home & Studio and the Village of Oak Park. A project of this size will frequently attract new retail tenants and generate new vitality.
I must confess that I had mixed feelings about the design of our new library, but I love it and frequently enjoy its new modern facilities. Let’s support a developer who is courageous enough to want to undertake this new project in Oak Park, and work together with them to make this a delightful new asset for downtown Oak Park.
Is anyone else ready to pass a referendum prohibiting village hall from playing real estate developer? I am. The developer is saying it can’t be done without public money. That should tell us it can’t be done. Millions from local property owners trying to keep their retail space occupied? Outrageous.
It would be yet another mistake for Oak Park to deny this type of development. How could Oak Park not want something of this caliber in its community?
On a personal note, there simply are not enough hotels in Oak Park. Friends and family of mine have had the hardest time getting into a hotel in this town. While sticking with the old is generous to the backbone of Oak Park, we are seriously behind in offering new and polished quality. People question the design? Just because there are historic venues galore does not mean there couldn’t be some architectural diversity in Oak Park. My family, friends and I welcome this in a major way. The alternatives are spewed all over Oak Park, and they lack majorly.
This building is also featuring a green roof, which Oak Park should recognize as a valuable feature. And, please, give Lake some more quality retail – right now. That corner looks like a huge eyesore. Oak Park needs to progress some, and this isn’t an overwhelming jump; it is in fact very appropriate.
Seems the older generation of Oak Park is really the one opposed. Well, there is a younger generation that is assuming this land, and we want progress. Progress and historic value is good, my friends.
The Oak Park village board is the steward of our tax money, and every week, it seems, we are told of the financial difficulties facing the village. The board is financially irresponsible to enter into an agreement that will use taxpayer money for a development in this economy, especially considering that the proposed Sertus development is surrounded within a quarter of a mile by at least six major developments that are either under way or halted because of financial problems.
Yet the village board will undoubtedly sign the agreement with Sertus, and then the plan commission will rubber stamp the agreement. Maybe the plan commission will require that the hotel and condos put a placard of thanks to Oak Parkers for the financial assistance in building something that could not have been built without taxpayer money.