A poster in the Wednesday Journal online comment section mentioned that the plan to complete two 20-story buildings, and maybe more, will increase Oak Park’s population to 75,000 people. The population in 1980 was 55,000 people and it is 52,000 today. That’s a 40% increase.
Forty percent of anything is a lot. All the village taxing bodies will have more needs, some of which are expensive. Business will have to consider changes in customer bases — will it be the same? Teachers, librarians, library books, pedestrian, vehicle congestion and parking will increase in numbers.
The OakPark.com website makes a case for relocation to the village with the statement, “Oak Park boasts excellent schools, world class architecture, shopping, dining and an extensive public transportation network. But Oak Park is more than a place — it also is a way of life.” Can we continue our way of life with a 40% density increase?
A few years ago, hundreds of residents met at the high school for several weeks to discuss a new Comprehensive Plan for the village. An extensive summary of the plan discussion was written. Ideas were stored for the future. It was a first step to replacing the 1990 plan. Shouldn’t a similar plan be created for the massive population increase? Shouldn’t we understand the benefits and risks before the mortar is poured?