In February, the village of Oak Park recognized homeowners, businesses and individuals in its annual round up of Preservation Award winners. The village’s Community Design Commission recognized 15 Cavalcade of Pride Award winners. Five Preservation Awards were handed out by the Historic Preservation Commission and 14 Green Awards were distributed by the Environment and Energy Commission.
Oak Park Sustainability Coordinator Marcella Bondi Keenan says that the Green Awards, which will be rebranded Sustainability Awards in 2023, are wide-ranging. Most of this year’s winners were recognized for their efforts in support of the Climate Ready Oak Park, the village’s long-range plan in response to the climate crisis.
There were three residences and two non-residential Historic Preservation awards for 2022. Calvary Memorial Church was recognized for restoration work, aided by Filotto Roofing, Space Haus and BP Productions. Oak Park Friends School won an award for adaptive reuse for work done in conjunction with Studio Integra at its Roosevelt Road campus.
On the residential side, homeowner Matthew Eade along with architect Kimberlee L. Smith and Montero Renovations were recognized for their restoration work on Eade’s house at 828 Gunderson Ave.
At 520 N. Oak Park Ave., JMG Remodeling, Jesus Gomez, architect Lucio Nuñez, Jeanette Hussemann and Zachary Saucier won an award for residential rehabilitation, while the home at 318 S. Harvey Ave. won recognition as a new construction home for Mark Meagher and his company Maher Development Inc., architect Michael S. Cox, Rosilie Hernández and Michal Markowski.
Susie Trexler, urban planner in historic preservation for Oak Park, says that the Historic Preservation Commission saw a large number of Certificate of Appropriateness applications during the pandemic and points to a number of exciting projects that are underway among the village’s historic housing stock. She anticipates the 2023 awards will be especially exciting.
Cavalcade of Pride Awards are given out in nine districts throughout the village and recognize property owners who have done an exceptional job of maintaining and improving the exteriors of their homes and businesses.
Village Planner Craig Failor notes that the awards have been given out since 1973 to thank residents and business owners who put in the time and money to improve the aesthetics of the village.
The Community Design Commission considers only the exteriors of properties, and properties are recognized for a variety of reasons from improvements to a home, landscaping, lawn or anything that improves the overall appearance of the property.
In the past, the awards were commissioner-initiated. The commissioners walked the nine zones of the village and made a list of nominees, but recently the process was opened up to public. While only a handful of public nominations came in this year, Failor recommends that villagers feel free to nominate those who are going above and beyond to make Oak Park a beautiful place to live.
Links for nominations are available on the Village website, at oak-park.us/village-services/planning/historic-preservation/preservation-award-winners.
Failor notes that the committees generally start seeking out and evaluating potential awardees in the summer months, when it is easiest to evaluate landscaping and exterior updates. The nomination process typically closes in mid-October.
2022 Preservation Award winners
Calvary Memorial Church
931 Lake Street
Oak Park Friends School
6300 Roosevelt Rd.
828 Gunderson Ave.
520 N. Oak Park Ave.
318 S. Harvey Ave.
Cavalcade of Pride
611 N. Oak Park Ave.
606 Iowa Ave.
129 LeMoyne Parkway
1032 Erie St.
201 Wesley Ave.
303 Humphrey Ave.
1030 Wenonah Ave.
533 Wesley Ave.
605 S. Harvey Ave.
505 Forest Ave.
131 S. Harvey Ave.
1000 Pleasant St.
208-12 N. Harvey Ave.
6557 North Ave.
801 Van Buren St.
Washington Irving Elementary School Garden Club
Beyond Hunger Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation
Trustee Susan Buchanan