“Shared Voices” Series

Monday, 1 May 2006 | Category : Press Releases

For More Information Contact:
Bob Kane 708-802-1905

“Shared Voices” Series Begins May 31 with Focus on Development and Historic Preservation

The Village Manager Association (VMA) presents the first in its series of community forums on May 31 at the Veterans’ Room of the Main Branch of the Oak Park Library from 7:00 – 9:00 pm with a panel discussion entitled: “Our Architectural Future: Development and Historic Preservation in Oak Park.”

“This is a central issue for many of the discussions faced by our elected officials and our citizen commissions,” said Bob Kane, VMA President. “We believe by providing a panel discussion with experts from across the spectrum of interested parties, we might be able to eliminate some of the angst which has occurred in recent years, and approach this subject on a more informed and rational level.”

David Sokol, a former Village Trustee, member and former Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, and currently the Director of Museum Studies in the Department of Art History of the University of Illinois in Chicago will serve as the moderator of the panel. Guest presenters include Royce Yeater, Director of the Midwest Office of the National Trust; Frank Lipo, Director of the Historical Society of Oak Park; Douglas Gilbert, Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission of Oak Park; Phil McKenna of Kay and McKenna, a specialist in public policy and public finance; and Beth Scanlan, Preservation Architect who works for the City of Chicago.

“There have been so many controversies about individual homes and commercial buildings, about the implications of preservation and the ramifications of tear-downs, and about the balance between property rights and trying to influence the type, scale, and style of new construction, that this kind of forum is long overdue,” said Sokol.

“The issues are complex but the tension in Oak Park is palpable and the stakes are high. Future generations of Oak Park citizens deserve the outcome and solutions that this kind of effort by our generation might bring to the table. We want to have a very professional discussion away from the pressures of specific hot button issues”

There is no charge for the event.

According to Kane the VMA will present forums quarterly on critical local issues. “Our goals in this “Shared Voices” series is to inform and engage as many people as possible both in terms of presenters and ideas on the table as well as in terms of those who attend. We will welcome feedback on this first effort and certainly encourage topics for future discussion,” he said.

The next forum, tentatively scheduled for late July, will look at current diversity issues in the Village and how the dimensions of diversity have or have not changed in Oak Park during the last 10-20 years.