Further west on Lake Street, the Oak Park village board made the bold decision last week to approve construction of a high-rise apartment and retail tower at Lake Street and Forest Avenue.
The 7-0 vote was a resounding affirmation of faith in the future of Oak Park as a vital and growing community. The choice presented in the recent debate over this controversial proposal was stark. Build a notable building at a premium intersection at the gateway to the downtown or pine for some rose-colored status quo of patched over parking garages and modest aspirations.
This village board has made no bones about its intentions to be bold in its development ideas — for reasons both of economic impact and an urban sensibility. We support the fundamental notion that Oak Park is an unusual blending of suburban and urban community. This is an invigorating concept, not a notion to shy from.
Surely there are issues of balance in managing that blending and we are not looking to emulate the skyline that Evanston has sprouted. But in the right place, and this is that place, an iconic 20-story building is a grand counterpoint to all that exists around it.
There are those who disagree. We respect that. But we back the vision of the current board and suggest that those who believe the board is wrong should start planning an election campaign for 2013. It is a good and fundamental issue. Let’s have a healthy debate over it.