Officials at Oak Park school District 97 insist they’ve given the village of Oak Park no ultimatum concerning backing or rejecting a proposed school district headquarters built on village hall property.
Ultimatum or not — real or imaginary — a D97 administration building on the village hall parking lot remains a lousy idea from our standpoint, not to mention from the standpoint of neighbors near village hall. How long will this idea — real or imaginary, like that non-ultimatum D97 never gave the village — going to fester? Didn’t the Park District of Oak Park two years ago set the right precedent when it backed away from a joint building proposal with D97 at the same location? Maybe D97 officials forget what that precedent was: listening to constituents. Village hall neighbors don’t want the D97 headquarters built on the parking lot. But they’ve expressed openness to hearing about alternative locations on Madison Street. We also support D97 relocating on Madison closer to village hall and the park district. The current headquarters at Madison and Home is no longer suitable for D97 administrators and staff. District officials don’t need to convince us of that. But if they think the community really wants more traffic congestion and crowdedness behind village hall, residents may give them an ultimatum in the next school board election. And it won’t be imaginary.