Downtown Oak Park, greater downtown Oak Park if you include the Pleasant District and portions of the Hemingway District, are now done. They are as beautiful as they will ever be. Fancy sidewalks, brick intersections, light fixtures your grandmother would appreciate. All there.
Credit to recent Oak Park village boards which put a lid on the price tag for the Lake Street remaking just completed. Still costly, it somewhat reflected reality. And this massive project came in on time — in time for whatever it is the holiday shopping season will look like this pandemic year.
In addition to infrastructure and handsome street furniture, most of the development has also been accomplished in the greater downtown. A new apartment house will soon replace a bank drive-through on Lake and Grove. A mid-rise — possibly a couple of floors shorter than mid-rise — will replace the Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home on Marion at Pleasant.
Beyond that, the buildable parcels are built (although someday the one-story strip mall — Gap/Old Navy — at Harlem and Lake will undoubtably be razed and rebuilt). But for now we need to focus on keeping businesses in the greater downtown alive until spring. Shopping local has never been more important.