Current and past village boards have ignored the recommendations of commissions studying the impact of proposed high-rise buildings in Oak Park. They insist that these buildings bring tax revenue to the village and that an influx of (primarily white, upscale) people is required.

Well, show me the money. Show me the occupancy rates. Show me the property and sales taxes paid. Then, show me the net benefit to the village after accounting for increased expenses, ranging from schools to water mains to services. It would not surprise me to find out that they generate a net loss to our community while making big profits for the developers. I’d also like to see what businesses these new residents support. I’m guessing that it is not many of the family-owned small businesses that are the heart of our village.

I’m tired of being kept in the dark about village developments. I’m tired of vague assurances. I am disgusted to learn that the “affordable housing” in the proposed Drechsler development consists of $120,000 studio-style condos. 

Are you kidding me?

That’s why I am supporting Anthony Clark, Chibuike Enyia and Juanta Griffin for Village Trustee. They have pledged to thoroughly investigate the impact of proposed developments — on neighbors, on nearby businesses, on parking, on services, and on contributions to the vision of what we want our village to be. If they grant a variance to a developer, they will seek an ongoing cash contribution — not a one-time payoff — toward village initiatives such as actual affordable housing. They will appoint a small-business liaison and put the needs of small businesses ahead of the needs of outside developers. They will revise policies, upgrade services and seek creation of housing that serves all kinds of people, including renters, first-time buyers, empty-nesters who want to downsize, and people who want to remain in their family homes.

In short, they want to put us first, not developers. We, the people who have put down roots in Oak Park. We, the people who believe in the vision of inclusiveness that drew our families here in the first place. We, the people who know that the presence of businesses such as the Live Cafe, Pumpkin Moon and the Book Table are what make Oak Park a very special place to live.

Please join me in voting for Anthony, Chibuike and Juanta on (or before) April 6.

Kris Gallagher, Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!