No weekly issue of the Wednesday Journal would be complete if there wasn’t a future-tense rendering of yet another proposed new residential structure for readers to eyeball. The most recent visual conception for final construct was on the front page of last week’s WJ [April 28]. This week’s issue it reappears on page nine, along with an account of a Zoom community meeting debating the merits of this 44-unit, 7-story building-to-be at Van Buren and Austin.
The meeting, as with other such previously proposed prominent new places, had supporters and detractors. The voices of disapproval: It’s too big compared to any building in the area. It will block out the sun for some neighbors as it inexorably casts a shadow. What about parking?
I have been witness to the vertical enhancement of Oak Park’s skyline over the past several years. Each generated community meetings: What about parking? Or sunlight being blocked? Aesthetically inadequate. A bad fit for the existing surroundings.
People of Oak Park, in another 10 years or so it will be those surrounding areas which will seem quaintly out of place, so last-millennium! Many of the current voices of dissent will have seen their last sunset (if a high-rise doesn’t obstruct such viewing). Game over.
The future is now. Hemingway? Wright? That’s for tourists, not local hipsters, who can now hang out in close quarters at a new Marion Street eatery that includes several bottles of wine ranging from $425-495. Hmm. Is the new Oak Park home to an influx of hedge fund managers? Crypto currency Masters of the Universe? YouTube megastars?
Whoever might fork over half a grand for a boutique bottle of grape in my neighborhood, it must be a case of “If you build it, they will come.” And for those of us who can’t afford the upgrades? Well, there’s always Peoria.
Joseph Harrington, Oak Park