Decades back Oak Park was in a competition with Skokie for the made-up title of “World’s Largest Village.” It was nip-and-tuck until it wasn’t. Oak Park got smaller. Skokie grew. And Oak Park began comparing itself to Evanston.
Now with new 2020 Census numbers beginning to arrive, Oak Park has bragging rights that its population is once again growing. Oak Park is up 2,705 residents from a decade back. That’s good for a number of reasons. One is that it clearly proves out the four high-rises constructed in and around downtown Oak Park during the tenure of Anan Abu-Taleb as mayor have boosted the local population.
Tammie Grossman, director of development customer services at Oak Park Village Hall, agrees there is a clear correlation. “I definitely think it’s due to those additional apartments we added into the downtown area,” she said.
Those new units brought thousands of new customers for downtown businesses, made a success of “transit-oriented development” strategies and added to Oak Park’s tax base.
Another note for the skeptics who doubted that all those new and high-end apartments could be absorbed by the market. Occupancy rates among Albion, Vantage, Eleven33 and the Emerson range from 94 percent to 98 percent. Spectacular numbers.
There are many other numbers to sort out from the Census and we will continue to report those stories.