At the corner of Oak Park Avenue and South Boulevard sits the former home of Thyme & Honey Restaurant. It vamoosed to Forest Park a half dozen years ago when several buildings at the corner were assembled with the intention of demolition and rebirth as a gigantic, mixed-use condo/retail project.
Spared the wrecking ball, the site has since been foreclosed on, purchased and resold, yet still it sits vacant at what we’d argue is the best available retail site in Oak Park.
Last week we reported that a local fellow who had been studying his options on opening a micro-brewery in the village had pulled back on the concept. It hasn’t been a secret that the village was hoping a micro-brewery might be just the thing for Oak Park and South. And we agree.
Our point — in a week when Oak Park celebrates the multimillion-dollar streetscape projects on South Marion Street and all along Roosevelt Road, at a time when the village board will soon consider similar and costly upgrades to Oak Park Avenue from Lake Street to Pleasant — is that we need a broad definition of economic development in this town, in this tough economy. Fancy lamps and sidewalks are all well and good. They have a place in the mix of solutions.
And clearly this page has become a critic of the village gobbling up parcels with grand visions of fashioning major developments. The village gobbled a million-dollar property — well, it paid a million, at least — in downtown Oak Park this fall with the promise of a large-scale development proposal by the close of this year.
We wait, impatiently.
So somewhere between heated sidewalks and becoming the property owner of first resort, there must be tools in the village, in the Oak Park Development Corporation, in the Forest Park-style of private investment by key movers to spark action at critical locations