He even has a name for it, for his vision of what the intersection of Madison Street and Oak Park Avenue could become. Madison Square. It sounds like a destination because that is how Oak Park Village President Anan Abu-Taleb envisions it. 

Abu-Taleb has moved past the long-assumed mini-big box solution for the village-owned parcel on the northeast corner of Madison and Oak Park: Convince the elusive Target to open a downsized “urban” version of itself, collect the sales and property taxes and declare victory.

Abu-Taleb says, instead, he is looking to craft “an alternate downtown” for Oak Park where a good number of new apartments or condos are built atop higher-end, specialized retail, where the village’s public investment spurs private investments on both sides of the street and stretches from Oak Park Avenue to East. He pictures an investment in streetscaping that goes beyond planters and bricks and creates new public spaces that draw families and visitors.

It is an audacious vision that does not settle for offloading parcels accumulated by the village over decades, does not settle for more fast food joints or townhouse clusters. Anan’s concept supports his vision of adding several thousand new residents and their spending power to Oak Park; it supports the reimagining of a street that has been essentially purposeless since the car dealers all moved out a remarkable 40 years ago. 

With a village board now convinced by Abu-Taleb that solving Madison’s future can only happen by intense focus on a single segment of the two-mile-long stretch, we are not betting against the village president. 

Join the discussion on social media!

One reply on “Madison Square”