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 June 23, 2017

Meetings/events scheduled for the next week

  • Monday, June 26:
    • Village Board Protocol Meeting  7 p.m. , Public Works Center Conference Room
    • Transportation Commission, 7 p.m., room 201
  • Tuesday, June 27:
    • Board of Health Commission, 7 p.m., room 102
    • Liquor Control Review Board, 7:30 p.m. room 124
  • Wednesday, June 28:
    • HPC Architecture Review Committee, 7:30 p.m., room 215 
    • Disability Access Commission, 7 p.m., Oak Park Public Library
    • Community Design Commission, 7 p.m., room 101
  • Thursday, June 29:
    • No meetings scheduled
  • Friday, June 30:
    • No meetings scheduled

West Nile Virus returns – The Desplaines Mosquito Abatement District notified the Health Department that the season’s first positive mosquito pool from Oak Park was found last week in the south trap. The finding was not unexpected, since positive samples have been found in both Oak Park traps every season since the threat arose here. However, the first positive pool wasn’t found here last year until mid-July. Positive pools tend to become more prevalent as temperatures rise in July and August, and virus-carrying mosquitoes can continue to pose a threat as late as October. While the risk of contracting the virus is small, the Village always ramps up its communication tools to urge residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten and eliminate breeding sites. Information is maintained at www.oak-park.us/fightthebite and promoted via all public information channels, including the OP/FYI newsletter, the website and via social media.

Harlem and South Boulevard property sale closes – The sale of the Village owned properties at South Boulevard and Harlem Avenue to Lincoln Properties closed today. The sale price was $1.1 million pursuant to the redevelopment agreement previously approved by the Village Board. The property will be redevelopment as a 12-story mixed-use project that includes 10,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space, 398 parking spaces for both public and private use within the building and 263 residential units. The terms of the sale also will mean a contribution of nearly $750,000 for affordable housing programs.

New take on Wright – The 150th birthday celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright has brought renewed interest in the architect who had such an impact on Oak Park. A profile in Bloomberg news offers a much broader view of the man than has been typically reported over the years. The story is about a new exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that features a collection of personal and professional records of nearly 400 works, many never seen before, including some related to Unity Temple. According to the article, Wright was interested in much more than creating a new variety of American architecture, which has long been the mantra of his most ardent followers. He also was interested in ecosystems, experimental farming, low-cost prefabricated houses and education for black children in the rural South. Click here to link to this interesting article that also includes some great photos.

Chicago Avenue streetscape/resurfacing project – Work continued this week on the brick crosswalks, decorative sidewalks and lighting on Chicago Avenue between Harlem and Belleforte avenues. Crosswalk construction has required lane closures and traffic detours on portions of Marion Street and Maple Avenue, and west-bound only traffic along a section of Chicago Avenue. Chicago is expected to reopen to two-way traffic today (June 23) between Harlem and Belleforte avenues. Installation of brick crosswalks on Chicago at Ridgeland Avenue also should wrap up this week, with normal traffic flow returning to the busy intersection.

Downtown construction update – Excavation along the Lake Street portion of the Emerson redevelopment project downtown has begun in preparation for new sidewalk, but two-way traffic flow is being maintained. The sidewalk and parking lane on the south side of Lake remain closed from the new Maple Avenue to the east side of the development site. Reconstruction has begun on Westgate Street between Marion Street and Maple Avenue. The work will require closing one lane of Westgate, but flaggers will maintain vehicle access to the doctors' offices.

Alley improvements – Underground drainage improvements continued this week on alley segments under construction, while pavement was removed in the alley north of Jackson Boulevard between Scoville and East avenues. Forty-nine residents within the boundaries of the alley projects have chosen to have their private garage aprons replaced as their alleys are reconstructed. By having the work done as part of the alley reconstruction, these property owners are able to take advantage of the Village’s contract unit price, which is lower than the cost a single property owner likely would pay to hire a contractor.

Street resurfacing – The season’s first round of resurfacing projects continued this week with pavement scoring at various locations in the northern part of the Village. Removal of sections of curb that need to be replaced will begin next week. Meanwhile, plans were issued to contractors this week as bids are sought for the season’s second round of resurfacing projects.

Lake Michigan pipeline project – Work on the water line that will carry Lake Michigan water to the Villages of Brookfield and North Riverside on Fillmore continued eastward this week up to Wenonah Avenue. Road closures should be limited to intersections and alley entrances only when excavation is occurring in these areas.  All affected road and alley crossings will be reopened at the end of each workday.  A second crew will begin installing the Village-owned portion of water main between Maple and Home avenues. A project website managed by the engineering company has been set up to provide the latest schedule information – click here to view.

Public Works Activities – Street Division crews repaired a portion of the deck on the Home Avenue pedestrian bridge, power washed benches, trash cans and bluestone sidewalks downtown, removed weeds from public property, cleaned viaducts, picked up litter in the business districts and helped the street-sweeping contractor clean various permit parking areas. Water & Sewer Division crews began cleaning sewers between North Avenue and Division Street and Harlem Avenue and Austin Boulevard. Crews also completed a water service upgrade at 231 N. Kenilworth Ave. and continued cleaning and tracing sewers inlets and basins in various locations for upcoming street resurfacing projects. Building Maintenance staff worked with the Information Technology Department to make sure the new security camera system and ID card readers at the Public Works Center were installed and adjusted. In-house Forestry Division crews continued routine tree maintenance, inspections and trimming, while contractors focused on landscaping and removing stumps. Work continued to prepare the lower level of the Public Works Center for District 97 maintenance operations.

Employee news – Joy Morris has joined the Law Department as the Legal Secretary. She will provide administrative and clerical support to the Village Attorney and Assistant Village Attorney. Among her many duties will be document drafting and answering telephone calls and scheduling. Joy’s previous experience includes working at two major Chicago-area private law firms. Joy was selected for the position from a pool of more than 140 applicants.