Oak Park Village President Vicki Scaman expects the village board and its commissions to return to in-person meetings sometime next month. A definitive date has not yet been determined, but she believes that the village board will return to council chambers by mid-October.
“My preference would be sooner than later, but we are prioritizing being able to maximize the benefits of hybrid for the benefit of the community and guests to the meetings,” she said.
That prioritization has contributed to the delay in returning to meeting in person. The village, according to Scaman, has been updating its technology to allow guest speakers to use Zoom during in-person village meetings.
The technological updates will also allow for all in-person commission meetings to be recorded and streamed live. Prior to the pandemic, meeting footage was only available for a handful of commissions due to limited equipment and meeting room space at village hall. Meeting virtually gave the village the ability to record all of its commission meetings, boosting the accessibility of commission meetings. To continue being able to do that while also meeting in person requires more modern technology than the village hall previously had.
While many have enjoyed the convenience of meeting virtually, Scaman looks forward to returning to council chambers. For some, it will be a completely new experience. Aside from their swearing in ceremony in 2021, Trustees Ravi Parakkat, Lucia Robinson and Chibuike Enyia have only ever experienced virtual board meetings.
Oak Park residents can continue to watch the village board meetings live on Channel 6 on cable or by streaming meetings from mobile devices, as they had before the pandemic. But the village president hopes people will choose to go to village hall and attend them in person.
“I’m hoping to see some of the residents that were regulars come back,” she said.