As the Oak Park and River Forest area continues its recovery from the Covid years, there is a renewed enthusiasm and sense of growth in our communities. With this year’s Answer Book, we hope to give you a snapshot of what is happening in your backyard.

Our communities continue to be a place where the arts thrive. This summer’s Sculpture Walk in downtown Oak Park gives everyone an excuse to get out and explore. Public Art on new developments in the village brighten up the walls and add appeal to the walkways in front of new residences.

Our housing market statistics show that Oak Park, River Forest and the surrounding suburbs continue to be sought-after destinations for home buyers. Historic preservation remains a draw for visitors as well as a hot topic among preservationists and developers.

Local libraries continue to be a beacon of light for residents of all ages. The Oak Park Public Library welcomed a new Executive Director in Joslyn Bowling Dixon, while River Forest added a new Adult & Teen Services Librarian in Brian Wolowitz.

The villages’ elementary schools are looking a bit different this year as well. District 97 welcomed a new superintendent in Dr. Ushma Shah, and River Forest’s District 90 is making the move to all-day kindergarten this fall.

We take a look at the growing interest in zero-waste events and delve into gardening practices that replace lawns with native plants and wildflowers.

Our village governments held elections this spring, and Growing Community Media’s election coverage brought the public up-to-date information on the candidates and local races.  River Forest named Matt Walsh its Village Administrator this spring.

The Park District of Oak Park opened the doors of the Community Recreation Center this spring. With workout spaces, an indoor walking tracks, sports courts, after-school activities and childcare options, the new CRC makes good on its promise to be “A Place to Belong.”

On the not-for-profit front, the Animal Care League is in the midst of a makeover that is sure to get tails wagging. We couldn’t resist featuring a few of the animals who have found their forever homes in Oak Park and River Forest this year.

A big thanks goes out to the OPRF-Chamber of Commerce for partnering with us on the Answer Book, and an even bigger thanks goes out to our readers who read and support our local news coverage.

Please keep supporting the local shops, restaurants, services, and newspaper that make Oak Park and River Forest the vibrant villages that we call home.


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