The Business of Business Districts: Part 4 - Staying Informed

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

Who is your Block Captain?  The person who sends the first block party email; the person who gets the signatures needed to close the street and orders the bouncy house?  Who gets things done?

Business districts are not too different from neighborhood blocks.  Outside the professionally managed Downtown Oak Park, most of the other eleven districts have volunteer business people organizing the district.  They also act as a primary information conduit between the district and the Village of Oak Park.

Communication is a critical function of Oak Park's business district leadership.  In addition to the logistics of a sidewalk sale (permits, dates, tables, notifying beat officers), district leadership teams represent the commercial neighborhoods on zoning, street-scaping and changes to local ordinances.  The Village of Oak Park uses the business district management structure to inform the business community and gather input on policy matters.

Businesses stay informed three ways:  first, through notifications from property owners.  By law, local government is required to notify property owners of changes that could impact property.  Second, through the local media.  And third, through the business districts.

Even with three options, communication can feel like tin cans and a string.  The Village is required to inform property owners, but property owners may or may not inform their tenants.  When property owners are not local, communication breaks down easily.  The media may or may not catch wind of the story in time for business owners to act.  The business districts are volunteer-run (except DTOP) and participation from the businesses is volunteer-based.

Worse, if volunteers have not stepped up to organize, collect email addresses and act as that liaison, a business owner may find herself in the dark.  Even with an active volunteer team in place, the business owner must decide to plug-in to the network.  Volunteers are not responsible for connecting to every business.  The onus is on the business to participate. 

It behooves business owners to stay connected to the local business district, even if the sidewalk sale or holiday walk is uninteresting.  The business district network is Oak Park's most reliable business communication vehicle.

Contact:
Email: cyen@oprfchamber.org Twitter: @OPRFChamber

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments