The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 | village@oak-park.us

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Village Manager's Weekly Report

Week Ending April 12, 2024

Meetings scheduled for the next week:

  • Monday, April 15:
    • Citizens Police Oversight Committee, 7 p.m. in Room 124
  • Tuesday, April 16:
    • No meetings scheduled
  • Wednesday, April 17:
    • Community Relations Commission, 7 p.m. in Council Chambers
    • Housing Programs Advisory Committee, 7 p.m. in Room 215
  • Thursday, April 18:
    • Building Codes Advisory Commission, 5:30 p.m. in Room 215
    • Community Development Citizens Advisory Committee, 5:30 p.m. in Room 101
  • Friday, April 19:
    • No meetings scheduled

Click here to view this week's report via GovDelivery

Economic vitality update – The Village issued four new business licenses in March, bringing the 2024 total of new licenses issued to 21. New business licenses were issued to 2 Sistah’s Afrocentric Boutique (262 Chicago Ave.), The Coffee Shop Oak Park (formerly Brewpoint at 163 S. Oak Park Ave.), KB’s Retail at 7101 North Ave. and CIMPSAR at Home (101 Madison St.). The Village has issued more than 100 new business licenses each of the past three years. Click here to view a chart comparing the number of new business licenses processed the past five years. A full list of new businesses that have opened since 2021 can be found on the Pick Oak Park website at www.pickoakpark.com/newbusiness. When considering shopping online or in person, residents are encouraged to look first at local businesses. Follow Pick Oak Park on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about Oak Park’s creative, innovative, diverse and committed business community.  

Hotel/motel tax collection remains strong – The Village collected $32,743 in hotel/motel tax revenue during the first two months of 2024. This represents a 2.2% increase compared to the same period in 2023, putting the Village ahead of last year’s pace that resulted in $258,700 collected, the highest total on record for a single year. The revenue comes from a 4% local tax paid by guests who stay in Oak Park’s local hotel, bed and breakfast and short-term rental establishments. The Airbnb-style short-term rental establishments continue to drive the record-breaking tax collection growth, underscoring the strength of Oak Park’s hospitality industry. The Village has approximately 120 short-term rental establishments.

Spring Neighborhood Cleanup event this Saturday – The community is invited to celebrate Earth Month and National Volunteer Month during the Village’s Spring Neighborhood Cleanup this Saturday, April 13. The family-friendly event will begin with a complimentary light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at Village Hall. Starting at 9 a.m. volunteers, including Oak Park elected officials and staff, will take the streets for a coordinated effort to clean up the community. The Village will be providing heavy duty trash bags, coated safety gloves, brooms, shovels and litter pickers for the event. Community members are asked to sign up in advance at www.bit.ly/vop413. More information is on the Village website at www.oak-park.us/springcleanup24. Residents who are unable to participate in the event, but are otherwise interested in the effort to Keep Oak Park Beautiful, can learn more about the Village’s Neighborhood Clean-up Program at www.oak-park.us/neighborhoodcleanup.

Oak Park Holi Celebration set for Sunday – Don’t miss Oak Park’s Holi Celebration from noon to 2 p.m. this Sunday, April 14. The entire community is invited to participate in the free outdoor event on the south lawn at Village Hall. Anyone planning to attend is encouraged to come dressed in clothes that can withstand being covered in colored powder. Participants may want to consider wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes and scarves to protect their hair. Enjoy music, food for purchase and more during the event, which is organized by the Village in partnership with volunteers from a local South Asian community group. More information is at www.oak-park.us/holi. Media Production Manager Joe Kreml also worked with Adjudication Intern Harshil Choudhary to produce a promotional video for the event – click here to view

Eco-Extravaganza a success – The Village joined more than a dozen organizations that participated in the Oak Park Eco-Extravaganza on April 13 at the Oak Park Public Library. The family-friendly event sponsored by the Village, Library and local non-profit One Earth Local offered an opportunity for residents to learn more about local sustainability efforts and everyday actions they can take to help the environment. Forestry Superintendent Grant Jones, Environmental Services Manager Erica Helms and Liz Lukehart from the Environment & Energy Commission were on hand sharing information about the Village’s programs and initiatives related to environmental sustainability.

Fire Department holds training at local residence – This week Oak Park firefighters were given the opportunity to train at a home that is scheduled for demolition. Crews worked on many firefighting and team-building skills, including on-scene communication, search and rescue, ladder placement, hose advancement and management, roof ventilation and forceable entry. These opportunities to train in an actual structure within the community are rare, and Fire officials are grateful to the owner for providing the use of the home.

Development Services lunch and learn – The Development Services Department held a lunch and learn event for staff earlier this month focused on historic preservation topics. Susie Trexler, the Village’s Urban Planner, discussed Oak Park’s three historic districts, gave an overview of the processes for projects in the historic districts and explained the ongoing Speaker Series hosted by the Historic Preservation Commission. The Speaker Series provides a wealth of information on how historic preservation impacts our community today. More information is at www.oak-park.us/hpc.

Native plant sale discount sold out – The special discount for Oak Park residents purchasing monarch and rain garden kits through the West Cook Wild Ones Spring Plant Sale was such a big success that it sold out more than a month before the sale officially closes. These rain garden kits will provide habitat for monarch butterflies and support the Village’s commitment to protect and enhance biodiversity. The plant sale is still ongoing for regular-priced items, including garden kits, milkweed plants, and many other forbs, ferns, grasses and sedges. Orders can be placed online through May 1 at: www.wild-ones-west-cook.myshopify.com/.

Owners encouraged to license pets online – A telephone call from Animal Control is all it takes to reunite lost or strayed pets with their owners – provided those pets have been licensed and are wearing tags. All dogs and outdoor cats in Oak Park are required to be licensed annually. Owners must show proof of a current rabies inoculation before a license will be issued. The annual license fee of $25 is reduced to $10 for a spayed or neutered animal. Residents can register online at www.oak-park.us/villageview. The Village has implemented a new animal licensing system, so pet owners who are renewing their license will be required to register each pet for this first year of implementation. For more information, call 708.358.5486, email health@oak-park.us or visit www.oak-park.us/animalcontrol.

Community Health and Wellness Fair set for April 21 – Save the date for the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce’s eighth annual Community Health and Wellness Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 21 at the Park District of Oak Park’s Community Recreation Center, 229 Madison St. Representatives from the Oak Park Public Health Department are participating in the event, which features local health and wellness professionals providing a wide range of services such as comprehensive cardiac risk assessment, bone density scans, lung screening, blood pressure, blood glucose testing and more. Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to register online in advance to expedite entry. For more information and to register, visit oprfchamber.org/health-wellness-fair.

One Earth Film Festival taking place April 17-23 – The One Earth Film Festival returns April 17 to 23 with five days of in-person screenings across the greater Chicago area followed by two days of virtual screenings. This year’s screening locations include the Oak Park Public Library, Unity Temple and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Oak Park. The theme for year’s film festival is “Reel Stories. Real Change.” as organizers look to encapsulate the power of storytelling to effect meaningful shifts in attitudes and behaviors towards climate change and the fight for environmental justice. Most events are free. Visit www.oneearthfilmfest.org/films-by-date for trailers, tickets, and the most updated information.

Austin sewer improvements – The contractor performed root pruning on the west side of Austin Boulevard between Roosevelt Road and Garfield Street. Sidewalks and storm structures are expected to be removed by the end of this week. Manhole installation will take place early next week, weather permitting. No parking signs have been posted along Austin between Roosevelt and Fillmore Street.

Pleasant and Marion resurfacing – The contractor plans to complete the last sewer repair at the intersection of Pleasant Street and Marion Street by April 16, followed by curb and sidewalk removals. No parking signs will be posted in advance of the work. Once the concrete work is complete, the contractor will begin resurfacing the roadway.

Madison Street improvements – The contractor installed new water main and storm sewer along Madison Street and is pouring concrete patches over the new main. The new main was also pressure tested and chlorinated this week. Next week, the contractor will install water main at the intersection of East Avenue and Madison Street and connect to the existing main.

Euclid Avenue improvements – The contractor completed the installation of new valves on North Boulevard adjacent to the Fire Station. Next steps include setting up traffic control for the next valve installation at the South Boulevard and Euclid Avenue intersection. Next week, the contractor will shift and move north toward Lake Street to install the new water main.

Bike boulevard update – The newly installed bike boulevards on Erie Street from Kenilworth Avenue to Scoville Avenue, and Scoville from Erie to South Boulevard, will undergo touch-up striping in mid-May. ComEd is also finishing repairs on its line damaged during the radar sign foundation installation. Foundation replacement will be scheduled once ComEd confirms its repair is complete.

Forest & Ontario update – Lighting removals will begin in the next few weeks in the vicinity of Forest Avenue and Ontario Street. Concrete and brick work are expected to begin on April 22. The detour will be re-installed at the Forest/Ontario intersection prior to the concrete work.

Alley project – Utility work is complete in the first three alleys scheduled for renovations this spring. Earth excavation and pavement removal began this week in the alley by Elmwood Avenue and Fair Oaks Avenue. The annual alley project was broken into two contracts this year due to separate funding sources. Utility work for the second contract started last week on the alley between the 200 blocks of Taylor Avenue and Humphrey Avenue.

Focus Development update – Metal panels are being installed on the west elevation of the Focus Development at the intersection of Pleasant Street and Marion Street. Final punchlist items are being addressed throughout the building, and final inspection walks are ongoing.