I’m a resident of Mills Park Apartments, in the heart of the Pleasant District. I’ve lived there since 2015. I’ve lived in Oak Park, on and off, since 1979 and have been here since 2010. As a senior citizen now, I’ve seen the recent “upscaling” of my neighborhood, and have written about how the older voices who spoke against the vertical growth of the buildings just have to accept progress. It’s generational, right?

Accepting the Big Picture canvas of 21st century Oak Park is one thing, but in a very small, virtually indistinguishable part of that picture, I do exist at the above noted Mills Apartments. Parking issues are a notorious facet of life in Oak Park, seemingly part of its reputation as much as Wright or Hemingway. 

Realty & Mortgage runs this building, and has several thousand units spread across the area. Recently, one of about a dozen parking spaces behind my building became available. As a senior, parking over two blocks away, I asked about being granted that space (at some additional monthly rental charge). I was told the space was assigned to a specific apartment — one next to mine, each being a studio. I asked why one studio gets a spot, and even when it is vacated, that spot automatically goes to a new resident (likely half my age based on recent new occupants). The reply was essentially that’s just the way it is.

As I said, I’m a senior. A Vietnam-era veteran. I’m on the faculty at Triton College, and as such serve this community, not to mention by paying rent and supporting local business in Oak Park and thus the village’s revenue streams.

I teach critical thinking. Logical reasoning. Rational decision making. Apparently, that’s not indulged at Realty & Mortgage. R&M clearly doesn’t care about me as any more than a faceless tenant. One who, for whatever reason, is being told his studio does not “qualify” for that parking spot. Thus I do not qualify. My contribution to their business, and by extension to Oak Park itself, be damned. It would be refreshing to have some rationality applied in this matter.

Joe Harrington, Oak Park

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