Oak Brook looks to attract young families
Updated: August 13, 2012 1:38PM
OAK BROOK — Trustees have created an ad hoc residential revitalization committee to entice younger families to move into the village.
Trustees have had several discussions over the past year about bringing younger families to Oak Brook to fill vacant homes and revitalize residential properties.
“The country is getting older, and Oak Brook is getting older faster than a lot of other communities in the area,” Village President Gopal Lalmalani said.
The ad hoc residential revitalization committee, approved Tuesday, will include one or two village trustees, real estate brokers, presidents of homeowners associations, school and park district representatives, and other community members.
“Our biggest problem in drawing more young families here is that there isn’t the sense of community; that’s what people are telling me,” Trustee Michael Manzo said. “We don’t have a downtown, or anything like that. I think we need to pursue a downtown or a river walk. We need to look into various ideas that can help us to establish a better sense of community.”
Trustee Elaine Zannis had a different take.
“I think we definitely have a sense of community,” she said. “We do no marketing about what we have to offer here, and we need to provide some financial incentives for younger families who are interested in moving here. We don’t have new inventory at $1.2 to $1.7 million — Hinsdale does; Clarendon Hills does.
“We need to look at providing a financial incentive both for remodeling and for new construction. We also need spec homes, which we don’t have now.”
Zannis said maintaining property values for current homeowners also is important.
“We do want more young families, but we also need to help maintain the property values for those who are here,” she said. “We have financial incentives for business; we need to have those incentives for residential, too.”
Manzo and fellow trustees Stelios Aktipis and Asif Yusuf said they didn’t believe in providing financial incentives for residential properties.
“I don’t think we want to be in that business,” Yusuf said.
Oak Brook Park District Executive Director Laure Kosey said she believes the residential enhancement committee is a positive step in helping to bring more young families to Oak Brook.
“It’s nice to have demographics that include all different ages,” she said.
Village staff has suggested taking the following steps to establish committee goals:
Analyze Oak Brook census and housing data and identify any areas of potential enhancements;
Review and recommend short- and long-term strategies that can improve property values, fill residential vacancies and attract younger families to Oak Brook. These could include enhanced marketing of what Oak Brook has to offer, offering additional housing choices, adding community amenities and developing a financial incentive program.
The committee could suggest additional strategies.