Don’t expect to see Village Manager Cara Pavlicek serving up brisket sandwiches or Village President Anan Abu-Taleb slopping on a side of mashed potatoes and gravy —  but the village of Oak Park will soon be the proud owner of the Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs building for nearly a half million dollars.

The village approved the proposal at Monday’s weekly board meeting. The village will spend $495,000, a fair market price for the property. 

“The purchase price is within the appraised value of the property,” Pavlicek said, noting that village staff believes the departure of the school District 97 administrative offices from the adjacent building at 970 Madison St. provides a unique opportunity to combine the two properties into a single parcel and sell it to a developer.

The move is part of the village’s effort to boost economic development along the Madison Street commercial corridor.

Trustee Peter Barber said the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, where he serves as an executive board member, is currently working on a draft plan for development on Madison Street, and the purchase is part of the strategy to attract new business.

Trustee Bob Tucker expressed his reluctance to have the village purchase new property but unlike other properties on Madison, he said, the combined parcels offer a deeper lot that provides a “genuine opportunity for development.

“I think we would be remiss if we did not jump on this opportunity right now,” he said.


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