Think of it as Borders. Go further back and recall its glory days as Marshall Field’s. Either way, the prime space at Harlem and Lake is Oak Park’s most visible retail site. The current effort by the building’s owner to subdivide the main floor and use 40 percent of it for medical use is unacceptable in every way.
The announcement Monday that an application for a zoning variance has been postponed a month is, we presume, an indication that the owner has gotten the message that there is no support from any quarter for the medical use plan. Downtown Oak Park is vehemently opposed.
Reasonable people understand that for this historic building to work economically, a solid use must be found for the lower level. That might be medical. And, perhaps, carving off 1,000 square feet of the main floor might be necessary to create a path to the basement. Beyond that sort of compromise, this decision is crystal clear.