I'm a bit too young to retire but plenty old enough to seriously think about it. As David Pope put it so well in Wednesday Journal recently, Oak Park is a great place to raise a family. Yes, Oak Park is a great place for raising kids, but the children have grown and left home.
Where should we retire to? Florida only has two seasons; hot and hotter! I have lived in, or studied in, rural Indiana, Montana, Guatemala, and Guadalajara, Mexico, and while each place has its charms and fond memories, my four children and 12 grandkids all live in Chicago or within a hundred-mile radius of Oak Park, and we don't ever want to be very isolated from them. Some talk of moving back to Oak Park. None have bad memories of the village.
Family considerations have influenced my choice of Oak Park as a place to retire, but this isn't only factor.
Many factors that made us choose Oak Park as a place to raise kids also influence us to choose Oak Park as a place to retire. The parks and pools are great places to be in summer. You can take in a ball game, or cool off in a natural way.
There is always something going on: Shakespeare in the park, Art in the Park, Day in Our Village, Thursday Nights Out, and music in Scoville Park. Don't miss the July 4th Parade.
I must have four seasons. In spite of what media people say to make you feel miserable, the seasons are not so extreme here. I don't think there is anything more splendid than spring in Oak Park, unless it's autumn. This village is beautiful in every season. Oak Parkers seem to love flowers, and with all the trees, one can walk mostly in the shade for miles, even under the hot July sun.
Oak Park is one of the more bike-able and walk-able communities to be found. It is one of the few large communities where people still greet a stranger out walking. Greenline Wheels, Competitive Foot, and Oak Park Cyclery are just some of the businesses that cater to those enthusiasts.
Retired people can actually get by quite well in Oak Park without an auto. Groceries, gymnasiums, banks, hardware, pharmacies, doctors, dentists, hair care, bookstores, craft supplies, indeed just about anything, or any service you need is within walking distance.
Never should one be bored here. Walk or bike to the Lake Theatre, a library, a coffee shop or restaurant — or just walk! All the varied architecture and landscaping and the ever-changing seasons make for an always interesting "hike." If you get winter doldrums, saunter over to the Oak Park Conservatory. It is our favorite "mini-winter escape." Here one can bask in tropical warmth, even in the midst of a January cold snap.
As Ken T. and Dan H. from the Journal often point out, Oak Park's location and public transportation connections enable one to take advantage of all the entertainment and cultural opportunities Chicago has to offer, without the need for an auto. You can even take your bicycle on the CTA. Brookfield Zoo, a bit less than 5 miles away, can be a daunting hike, but it's an easy bike ride away, and is served by RTA and PACE. A cab ride to and from the zoo is reasonable and it's a great place to spend the day — and learn about nature to boot.
Oak Park is well served by two excellent hospitals; Rush Oak Park and West Suburban Medical Center are both well known, especially for adult and geriatric needs.
I hope we will always manage to negotiate the few stairs in our small single-story house, but if the need arises, there are many facilities for the elderly — Holley Court Terrace, the Oak Park Arms, The Oaks, Belmont Village, Mills Park Tower, and assisted living and rehab facilities. Oak Park Township offers excellent senior services: transportation, meals, case management and support. The township is an excellent resource.
An often-overlooked senior resource is the Park District of Oak Park. The parks in Oak Park are among the best for recreation and appreciating beautiful landscaping.
Property taxes are rather high here; then again, where are they really cheap? We do get good services, with a very professional police and fire department that maintain a good presence, and the village is clean and well maintained. I hope to always afford the taxes on our little south Oak Park home, and the senior tax breaks help.
I look at the taxes as "country club dues." After all, we're almost living inside a museum with so many architectural attractions and points of interest.
Yes, I have considered it carefully, and I plan to retire in Oak Park Ill. It's a great place to raise a family in and retire in.
Can't think of a better place!
Answer Book 2019
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