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 May 18, 2018

Meetings scheduled for next week:

  • Monday, May 21:
    • Executive session, 6:30 p.m., room 130
    • Regular meeting, 7:30 p.m., Council Chamber
  • Tuesday, May 22:
    • Board of Health, 7 p.m., room 201
    • Liquor Control Review Board, 7:30 p.m., room 124
  • Wednesday, May 23:
    • Disability Access Commission, 7 p.m., Main Public Library, 834 Lake St.
    • Historic Preservation Architectural Review Committee, 7:30 p.m., room 215
  • Thursday, May 24:
    • No meetings scheduled
  • Friday, May 25:
    • No meetings scheduled

Farmers’ Market outreach – A booth for the Village Board will among the vendors at Saturday’s Farmers’ Market, which is opening day for the 43rd season. The board table will be just inside the main Lake Street entrance to the market. Saturday’s market also will be a Go Green Day and include seed potting for children, demonstrations from local environmental organizations and information about the Village’s composting and recycling programs. A native bee demonstration is planned and the University of Illinois Master Gardeners will be on hand with an interactive worm and soil display.

iGov Assembly – The public is invited to be part of an examination of how our local governing bodies are aligned with Envision Oak Park, the Village comprehensive plan adopted in 2014. This iGov assembly and a discussion about inter-government collaborations is scheduled for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Sat., May 19, at Julian Middle School Commons, 416 S. Ridgeland.

What’s Blooming on Harrison – The Art’s District annual art fair and family event is scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. this Saturday, May 19 on Harrison Street, from Cuyler Avenue to Humphrey Avenue. A wide range of activities is planned including a children’s carnival, live music, dancing, craft demonstrations and hands-on workshops. As activities wind down at 7 p.m., music will continue at the Taylor Avenue beer garden and main stage until 9 pm. More information is posted on the Arts District website – just click here.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Walk – The Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk returns on Saturday, May 19 when the owners of houses designed by Wright and his contemporaries will invite the public inside their carefully restored homes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ticketed event, which attracts huge crowds of visitors to our community, is ranked number two in TripAdvisor’s top things to do in Oak Park. Visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio is ranked as the number one activity. Proceeds from the event help support the education and preservation programs of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. More information about tickets, the house walk and its related events is posted online at  www.flwright.org/wrightplus

Fire hydrant testing set to begin – All 1,240 of Oak Park’s fire hydrants will be tested over the next few weeks to ensure these vital emergency response devices are in good working order should a fire occur. Residents have been alerted to the possibility of cloudy water the first time they open a tap after a nearby hydrant has been tested. If they just let a faucet run for a couple of minutes, the water should clear up. Testing is set to begin next week and continue into early June. Read more about the program on the Village website...

Police plan special traffic enforcement effort – Oak Park Police will join law enforcement agencies across the state and nation in a Click It or Ticket seat-belt enforcement campaign underway through May 29. Memorial Day tends to be one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year and Police say they will be taking a no-excuses approach, writing citations day and night. Motorists caught not buckled up will be ticketed, and those caught driving impaired will be arrested. Read more on the Village website...

Outdoor sculpture walk returns – The Oak Park Sculpture Walk has returns for a seventh season with 12 sculptures on display in an outdoor exhibit. The site for this year’s walk is in the Southtown Business District along Oak Park Avenue between Lexington and Van Buren streets. Six sculptures are on display north of the Eisenhower Expressway and six more are south of the expressway. This year's walk features work by artists from throughout the Midwest and beyond, with submissions coming from as far as Key West, Fla. Visitors can download the free Otocast smartphone app to access information about the sculptures and hear descriptions of the work by the artists. The Sculpture Walk is organized by the Oak Park Area Arts Council.

North Avenue planning – Staff from the Development Customer Services Department attended last Friday’s steering committee kick-off meeting for the North Avenue Corridor Revitalization & Mobility Plan. The Village has partnered with the North Avenue Business Association, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to create the 16-month plan. The plan will focus on identifying appropriate redevelopment opportunities, strategies for attracting desirable development, potential financial incentives, recommendations for streetscape improvements and corridor branding, and information that will help guide an upcoming transportation study. Public meetings will be scheduled to engage stakeholders to help determine community priorities.

Albion project update – A neighborhood meeting held late last week for residents who live adjacent to the new Albion development at Lake Street and Forest Avenue drew 14 attendees. The discussions covered traffic patterns, construction staging and schedule, noise, pedestrian safety and parking. Representatives of the Development Customers Services Department, which helped facilitate the neighborhood meeting, have encouraged the developer to provide interested residents with regular construction updates via email. In the meantime, demolition is well underway on the site’s existing structure and could wrap up as early as June 1, with foundation work to quickly follow. Construction eventually will require closing one lane of southbound Forest Avenue and adjusting the fence and sidewalk closures to accommodate the work, while ensuring pedestrian and traffic safety.

Storm damage update – Last week’s fast-moving storm initially was thought to have uprooted only the one tree in the 1000 block of North Taylor Avenue, while only bringing down limbs in other areas. However, Forestry crews ultimately decided three additional parkway trees sustained damage severe enough to require their removal. In addition to the parkway tree downed by the wind at 1046 N. Taylor Ave., trees also were removed this week at 143 N. Cuyler Ave., 1200 Columbian Ave. and 1321 N. Harlem Ave. On the evening of the storm, Forestry crews came in to remove storm debris that had temporarily blocked one street and one alley. No injuries or property damage were reported. On a more positive note, crews have finished planting 289 new trees as part of the spring cycle.

Boulevards project – The Engineering Division is gearing up to manage what will be the highest-visibility project of the season – repair and replacement of deteriorating utility lines and resurfacing North Boulevard and South Boulevard between Marion Street and Oak Park Avenue. Construction is expected to begin in early June. Plans call for work on the water and sewer mains on North Boulevard from Forest Avenue to Kenilworth Avenue and under the Clinton Avenue viaduct.  Affected roadways, including under the Kenilworth Avenue viaduct, will be completely reconstructed. North Boulevard will be restriped from Kenilworth Avenue to Oak Park Avenue to accommodate a new bike lane. The South Boulevard work will include lighting improvements, sidewalk repairs and street resurfacing as well as minor sewer repairs between Marion Street and Home Avenue. Periodic notifications and schedule changes will be posted on www.oak-park.us/boulevards

Street resurfacing – Preparations are scheduled to begin next week on the 21 blocks of local streets scheduled for resurfacing in the first of two project phases planned for this year. Traffic control, signs with projected completion dates and tree protection will be installed prior to work beginning. Notices have been sent via mail to residents who will be affected by the work, which will be at various locations throughout the Village.

Alley Improvements – Pavement removal began this week on the alley between Harvard Avenue and Van Buren Street and Harvey and Lombard avenues, the ninth alley project of the season. Signs with projected completion dates are posted at each location. Five alleys have been completed and reopened so far and 33 residents within the boundaries of the projects have elected to have their private garage aprons replaced as their alleys are reconstructed. The sewer contractor is scheduled to return the week of June 4 to complete the remainder of the alleys while the schools are out for summer break.

Miscellaneous construction updates – South Boulevard between Harlem Avenue and Marion Street will be completely closed during the week of May 29 to allow AT&T, Comcast and WOW! to bring their telecommunications services to the Lincoln Properties development site. Staff will provide information to the business associations and their members in advance of the planned closure. AT&T also is scheduled to install fiber optic communication infrastructure next week in the north/south alley adjacent to The Emerson development, north of North Boulevard and west of Marion Street. Access to the alley will be limited during the work. Fillmore Avenue has been repaved and the parkways restored from Highland Avenue to Austin Boulevard, the final phase of the Lake Michigan water line project in Oak Park. The contractor also re-landscaped the cul-de-sac at Austin Boulevard and will address remaining punch list items over the next couple of weeks. 

Public Works activities – Street Division crews helped install art included the annual Oak Park Sculpture Walk that officially gets underway this weekend. Crews also prepared for the What’s Blooming on Harrison event scheduled for this weekend in the Arts District. In addition, Street Division crews repair pavers on Harrison Street, restored parkways disrupted by water service repairs and serviced planters in the downtown business district. Street Lighting Division crews replaced a street light pole at 1053 Lake St. that had been knocked down in a vehicle accident. Water & Sewer Division crews repaired a water valve at Grove Avenue and Greenfield Street, a sewer at 1100 N. Austin Blvd. and a water leak at 6603 North Ave. Crews also upgraded a water service at 815 N. Lombard Ave. as part of the ongoing lead abatement program. In addition to final cleanup of last week’s storm damage, Forestry Division crews focused on trimming parkway trees, tree removals and delivering wood chips requested by residents.