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 14, 2024

Meetings scheduled for the next week:

  • Monday, June 17:
    • Citizens Police Oversight Committee, 7 p.m. in Room 124
  • Tuesday, June 18:
    • Village Board meeting, 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers
  • Wednesday, June 19:
    • Juneteenth – Village Hall closed
  • Thursday, June 20:
    • Building Codes Advisory Commission, 5:30 p.m. in Room 215
    • Village Board Finance Committee meeting, 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers
  • Friday, June 21:
    • No meetings scheduled

Click here to view this week's report via GovDelivery

Burch takes reins as Neighborhood Services Director – The Village welcomed Jonathan Burch, an Oak Park resident with extensive knowledge of federal, state and local housing policy and planning approaches, to the position of Assistant Village Manager/Neighborhood Services Director this week. His arrival comes after a recent reorganization that included the creation of a standalone Neighborhood Services Department to oversee and elevate housing programs, code compliance and grants management, while placing a renewed focus on neighborhood and community engagement, as well as civic education and participation. More information about Burch and his new role is available on the Village website – click here to view.

Village continues Juneteenth celebration with community cookout – The entire community is invited to join in the Village’s Juneteenth celebration featuring a community cookout from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. The event will take place on the south lawn at Village Hall, and will feature music, activities for kids, a Black-owned business fair and, of course, delicious food. The live entertainment lineup includes the Jesse White Tumblers, the Bucket Boys, Kuumba Kids and the return of funk, soul and R&B band Midnight Sun. Find more information at www.oak-park.us/juneteenth. The community cookout comes after the Village kicked off its Juneteenth celebration with a flag-raising event Wednesday featuring speakers, music, refreshments and more.

Village Hall closed for Juneteenth – Village Hall will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth and will reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 20. The refuse and recycling collection schedule will not be affected by the holiday and will occur as regularly scheduled next week. Should an incident that doesn't quite rise to the level of a 911 call occur when Village Hall is closed, call the Police non-emergency number 708.386.3800 for assistance. Regular Village Hall hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Oak Park Pride Party around the corner – Save the date for the second annual Oak Park Pride Party taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 on the south lawn at Village Hall. Come dressed to impress in your best rainbow-themed outfit for the family-friendly event, which will feature ice cream, face painting, a DJ, bounce house, games and more. Find more information about the Village's Pride Month celebration at www.oak-park.us/pridemonth.

Economic vitality façade improvements – The Village has a popular economic vitality commercial façade improvement program available to qualified businesses or commercial building owners seeking to improve the exterior look of their property.  Since the program started in 2018, the Village has helped to fund 31 commercial façade improvements. In 2024, the village has already approved four new façade improvements for businesses in the Arts Business District, North Avenue Business Corridor and Pleasant Business District. Business operators interested in more information about the Village Commercial Façade Improvement Program (C-FIP) are encouraged contact Cameron Davis, Economic Vitality Administrator, at 708.358.5421. Click here for a full list of past and current commercial façade improvement projects.

Village welcomes group from Estonia – In partnership with the Congressional Office for International Leadership and The Council of International Programs in Chicago (CIP), Village officials hosted a delegation of government and civic leaders from Estonia in Oak Park this week. The group met with Village President Vicki Scaman and invested staff members from the Village Manager’s Office (Erin Baynes, Assistant to the Village Manager), Development Services (Craig Failor, Village Planner), Neighborhood Services (Delia Tamas, Parking Services Manager) and Public Works (Ken Crowley, Superintendent of Fleet Services) for tours and conversations centered around environmental sustainability. The delegates also explored the sustainability efforts of the Park District of Oak Park, the Cross Community Climate Collaborative (C4), Oak Park River Forest High School and 7 Van Buren.

Dr. Chapple speaking at national conference – Public Health Director Dr. Theresa Chapple will speak at the national conference for the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research on the keynote panel next week in Austin, Texas. The topic of the discussion will be “Disparities in pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality: Where do we go from here?”

Creating smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing – The Public Health Department is continuing its work to promote health equity for all Oak Park residents by supporting smoke-free living environments for those living in multi-unit housing buildings. Each year, an estimated 28 million multi-unit housing residents in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke in their home or apartment that entered their space from another part of their building. In response to calls from Oak Park residents requesting assistance when faced with secondhand smoke in their homes, the Public Health Department applied for and received grant funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health to develop resources on smoke-free multi-unit housing. Through this project, Public Health Department staff support residents, housing providers and condominium associations in creating smoke-free policies for their buildings and offer resources to help with all steps of the process, including research, planning, enacting and enforcing smoke-free policies. Visit the smoke-free multi-unit housing webpage to learn more at www.oak-park.us/smoke-free-multi-unit-housing.

Gas-powered leaf blowers prohibited during summer months – The Village is reminding residents and landscape companies operating in Oak Park that the use of gas-powered leaf blowers is prohibited from June through September. The community is also less than one year away from a permanent ban of the use of gas-powered leaf blowers that will go into effect June 1, 2025. Currently, gas-powered leaf blowers may be operated only between October 1 and May 31. Electric leaf blowers may be used year-round. The operation of all leaf blower equipment is allowed Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. All leaf blowers must operate below 65 dB. Find more information, including answers to frequently asked questions, at www.oak-park.us/leafblowers.

New business opens on Chicago Avenue – Economic Vitality Administrator Cameron Davis joined Chamber of Commerce President Rob Guenthner and other Chamber members in celebrating the opening of 2 Sistah’s Afrocentric Boutique, 262 Chicago Ave.  Owners Karen Quarles and Charman Dortch are pictured here cutting the ribbon to one of Oak Park’s newest retail establishments. To contact this new business call 1.800.558.0973 or check out the business on Facebook.

First Thursday Night Out event draws large crown –The Downtown Oak Park Business Alliance had a hugely successful start to its annual Thursday Night Out series on June 6. Executive Director Shanon Williams is shown here greeting hundreds of attendees at the season-opening event. For more information about the remaining Thursday Night Out calendar, running from now until August 29, please go to www.thursdaynightout.com. Thursday Night Out also got a shout out when Annie Coakley, Executive Director of Visit Oak Park, appeared on Fox 32’s Good Day Chicago to promote summer events in Oak Park and throughout western Cook County. Click here to view the interview.

Celebrate National Pollinator Week by participating in Bioblitz – National Pollinator Week is coming up June 17-23. The Village plans to mark the occasion by raising awareness about the important role that pollinators like bees, butterflies and bats play in creating a healthy ecosystem. Learn about the steps the Village is taking to support pollinators and find resources for planting a monarch garden at www.oak-park.us/monarchpledge. Oak Parkers can also take part in the Illinois Monarch Project’s third annual Wing of Dreams Bioblitz contest happening next week across the state in which participants are encouraged to document sightings of monarch butterflies and other wildlife. Click here for more information about the Bioblitz.

Group buying for solar panels available – Oak Park residents looking to install solar panels at their home are encouraged to consider Solar Switch Chicagoland, a program that provides homeowners with affordable solar panel and battery storage system installations through a group discount. By vetting and qualifying trusted installers and using a competitive bidding process, the program ensures consumer protection and saves the average consumer more than $4,000 on a standard-sized solar installation. Oak Park residents interested in making the switch to solar energy can sign up online at www.SolarSwitch.com/chicagoland before Aug. 21.

Madison Street improvements – The contractor finished pouring the new curb, driveways and some sidewalk along the north side of Madison Street. The electrical contractor also finished pouring the new light pole foundations. The contractor also disconnected the old water main on Madison between Oak Park Avenue and East Avenue this week. Next week, the contractor will install new street lighting on the north side of Madison and continue pouring new sidewalks.

Lot 10 update – The entire parking lot was closed to the public for improvements this week. Parking remains open on North Boulevard adjacent to the lot. The contractor began removing all the pavement and curb along the south side of the lot. Excavation for the new permeable pavers began this week as well. The EV chargers were disconnected Thursday and will be reconnected towards the end of the project.

Alley improvement project – Earth excavation and pavement removal is complete in all of the alleys undergoing reconstruction as part of the first contract of the season. All concrete pavement is complete and the alley between the 200 blocks of Maple Ave. and Marion St. will be reopened by the end of this week. The alleys between the 1000 blocks of Harvey Ave. and Mapleton Ave. and 700 blocks of Lombard Ave. and Harvey Ave. will reopen prior to June 25. For the second alley improvement contract, the alley between the 1000 blocks of  Humphrey Ave. and Austin Blvd. is expected to start construction on June 18.

Austin Boulevard sewer improvements – The contractor completed the shotcrete work for existing structures on Austin Boulevard between Garfield Street and Roosevelt Road. Sewer lining and landscape restoration is scheduled to occur next week. The detour for Austin Boulevard and Roosevelt Road will tentatively be set up next week for upcoming water main work at the intersection.

Forest & Ontario improvements – Monument pillar bases will be delivered this week to the site of ongoing construction in the area of Forest Avenue and Ontario Street. Brick work for crosswalks is in progress and expected to be complete early next week. Small patch work and touch ups on asphalt is tentatively scheduled for next week.

Sidewalk repairs – The second sidewalk project of the year is in progress. The contractor is nearing completion of sidewalk replacements on the west side of streets scheduled for repairs. Weather permitting, the contractor is expected to begin replacing sidewalks on the east side of streets late next week.