Arbor West Neighbors (AWN) is a grassroots, intergenerational organization of residents that supports and enriches aging through community building and advocacy in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, and other near-in suburbs, as well as the Austin community of Chicago. 

AWN believes one of the greatest needs in our service area is affordable housing in elevator buildings that can enable older persons to age in place in their home communities. Recently the AWN Advocacy Committee met with David Pope, president of the Oak Park Residence Corporation, who described the Residence Corporation’s development proposed for the intersection of Austin Boulevard and Van Buren Street.

This 45-unit development would represent the first new construction of a multifamily apartment building along the Austin Boulevard corridor in almost 100 years. We are particularly pleased that the building is an elevator building that will be accessible to older persons with mobility limitations. Additionally, we like the concept that it will be a mixed-income building with 20% of its units reserved for households below 60% of the area’s median income level.

The proximity of the building to Columbus Park will help bridge the division that has separated Oak Park from the Austin community for many years. We hope that the building will also serve as an intergenerational uniting point so that older residents can live next to and mix with younger community residents.

We are also impressed that the development will be the first net-zero energy development to be built in the metropolitan Chicago area. This innovative design will identify our community as a leader in environmental issues, just as our community has been nationally known as a leader in promoting racial integration for nearly 50 years.

We are happy to lend our support to the Residence Corporation as it moves forward with this development and hope that the community will back this initiative.

Arbor West Neighbors 

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