Our community has an affliction that threatens to destroy Oak Park as we know it. It is threatening the existence of our businesses. It will undoubtedly chase people out of our town, as they learn to deal with its crushing economic effects. This menace appears to be unstoppable despite many people’s best efforts.
I am, of course, talking about the ceaseless hoovering of money by our taxing bodies.
District 200 — the most shameless of a group that also includes District 97 and the Park District of Oak Park — plans to continue its irresponsible construction capital program even though the taxpayers of Oak Park are facing a once-in-century financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Add this to the major slap in the face taxpayers received when taxing bodies helped themselves to a windfall at the shuttering of the village TIF, it as if these organizations have not one concern that they are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
There were plenty of empty commercial spaces in Oak Park before the pandemic as restaurants in particular struggle with tax increase after tax increase. There is a very real possibility that our fancy new Lake Street will look like a ghost town when the ribbon is cut on the project. The taxing bodies of Oak Park need to open their eyes, put on their masks and observe what they are doing to our town before it is too late.