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What Should Go Here?

When Community Motors shut down, it also shut off a significant source of revenue in Oak Forest. Now the city's trying out a new tax financing district to help attract new businesses. But you tell us—what should go there?

As it stands, the former site of Community Motors is doing more harm than good. The 8-acre plot is losing value each day it stands vacant, and something has to be done, said Community Development Director Adam Dotson.

Officials are trying to restore the property to its previously bustling status. Recently, aldermen signed off on a special taxing incentive district to help draw business back to the area near 159th and Terrace Drive. The area encompasses the former dealership, , and a church. Officials previously that had its drawbacks advantages, supporters and critics.

But we want to know: What do you think should go here? Leave your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Some Facebook fans had a few ideas, like a gym or a Whole Foods, for example. For the purpose of this discussion, while you're pondering what kind of business should go there—a burger joint, a coffee shop, a clothing store—try to think also about how whatever goes there should look and interact with the nearby business district and neighborhood.

Have at it.

Lauren Traut (Editor) February 24, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Yep, that's what I thought, too, Joe. I believed it had puttered out. Thanks for clarifying.
Lauren Traut (Editor) February 24, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Thanks for the contribution, Joe!
Jason Akai February 24, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Joe - I think you're doing a fine job. It isn't easy to lead anything when so many people seem to be "experts" in what you do - lol. I wouldn't want a tax payer supported facility - we don't have the retail that other cities do. We could have a privately/TIF supported space though. I think that would be great. I would be more than happy to support the people leading such a charge.
phxdr February 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I rarely drive past this plot of land because I usually am going in different directions then this one. But the last I remember Mazda was there right? Or am I thinking of a different property?
Jason Akai February 24, 2012 at 04:05 PM
You're at the right spot. Two car dealers in that space
Leda February 24, 2012 at 04:09 PM
A Brunswick Bowl equipped with Cosmic Bowling, video and token oriented games. Make it a place where families can go with kids, have birthday parties and most of all FUN!!
Concerned February 24, 2012 at 04:15 PM
A family restuarant, Target or a similar store, a cultural business (I like the idea someone else had on a Children's Museum), something that keeps the families in Oak Forest and has others come visit our great community.
Bill Griffin February 24, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Not sure about how feasible it would be, but I would love to see a Whirlyball venue there.
Amy Kupcake Litviak February 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Leda i love that idea! make it something fun and family friendly. let's promote parents and kids doing things together.
NANCY GRACE February 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
There's enough bowling alleys around- and yes Oak Forest is baseball's "top shelf" sport...but how about an indoor SOCCER complex? Indoor soccer,basketball, etc. An indoor facility is needed.
Joseph Conway February 24, 2012 at 04:34 PM
How about IKEA? No, not on that property because it's too small. But how about at 167th and Cicero? I know I'm going to stir up a hornet's nest with this location suggestion, but just maybe, with property values depressed and taxes up, now is the right time for a developer such as IKEA to negotiate with the existing property owners in that area? Google IKEA and you will see that the next closest IKEA store to our east is 248 miles away in Canton, Michigan and there is none farther south anywhere nearby. Tax revenue, jobs, convenient shopping, easy highway access (two highways and eventually a third with the I-294/57 interchange finally being constructed) and a train station just a mile away? I hear rumors that an Old Navy, Binny's and a Buffalo Wild Wings is going to be built at 147th and Cicero. Country Club Hills has a pretty decent retail development just on the other side of this location and that city has long term plans to build outlet stores just south of this property. A store such as IKEA seems to me to be a pretty good fit and just might be the catalyst to other developments.
Joseph Conway February 24, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I agree Tony, an indoor facility where kids and adults could play soccer, basketball, lacrosse, gymnastics, etc. would be awesome!
Lauren Traut (Editor) February 24, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I like this idea, too, but could another bowling alley compete with OF Bowl?
Lauren Traut (Editor) February 24, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Joe, I love the idea of an IKEA, but can I blame you if I go broke? :)
Josh Dinzmore February 24, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I Agree With Joe Conway Something like the Westmont Yard Would be the best Fit for this Property.
Jason Akai February 24, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Joe! That's hilarious! I said the same thing but I forgot to log in - move food for less and make that an Ikea
Joseph Conway February 24, 2012 at 04:52 PM
No Lauren, you can not blame me! But maybe you would be able to start another PATCH first...A local reality blog called "Come see what cool new things Lauren bought today!"
Neil Foster February 24, 2012 at 04:58 PM
A value movie theater like the old Brementowne!
Joseph Conway February 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
How about Whirlyball in the old Ace Hardware building on Cicero?
Joseph Conway February 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Jason, I read your bio here on the PATCH and you and I are a lot alike. I too see myself as a problem solver who likes to bring others together to solve a problem. And as you know, OF has it's share of problems especially in the tax base area. I think everyone's comments here are great and I hope to see more. The next step is for everyone who cares, to attend some city council meetings and ask the council and our economic development person for regular updates on what is being done to improve the situation. I don't mean that last suggestion in any type of negative context. I simply believe our community's economic situation is worse than many other communities and that more of us need to get involved to help get this great city back on a good track for now and for the city's future.
Dionne February 24, 2012 at 05:17 PM
How about a Whole Foods?! A new Whole foods will be opened in the fall in Orland Park but i think closer to home is always better! ;) OR how about a new big gym? I don't believe OF has a gym besides the park district. right?
Leda February 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM
It can include an area for laser tag too. Leave OF Bowl for leagues and open a Brunswick bowl for all of your other bowling party needs.
Leda February 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Indoor sports complex complete with indoor batting cages, basketball nets, soccer nets, etc. A place to practice for serious off season athletes.
Susan February 24, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Oak Forest Bowl is very family friendly and offers Cosmic Bowling. Especially in the summer when each child can bowl two free games each day. Families with kids could always go to Odyssey Fun World or Chuck E Cheese for the video/token games.
Meg Kinnerk February 24, 2012 at 07:26 PM
A Starbucks, an upscale restaurant, a children's boutique clothing store. Children's museum, Ikea...No Car parts or car repair shops PLEASE!
Sarah J February 24, 2012 at 07:43 PM
LOVE this idea!!!!
Jennifer Bitunjac Lody February 24, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I wrote a nice response and then said I wasn't logged in and deleted what I typed. Nice! What my original post said was that as an Oak Forest resident I would enjoy a 24-hour sports center/gym with a swimming facility. The current Oak Park fitness/sport/gym facility doesn't have great hours for the workin' folk. I only bothered to check years ago--but remember the hours were odd for a gym. Our previous gym experience was upwards of $100 a month for the gym w/swimming pool in Orland Park--a lot of Oak Forest residents were members with us. I didn't even realize Oak Forest had a pool until 5 years in. Just would be great to have a facility open 24 hours with either a pool/spa/steam room available year round. I agree with other posters...NO car places.
Jennifer Bitunjac Lody February 24, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Second part: Just thinking about normal shopping like food--Food for Less and Jewel are great in Oak Forest (Dominicks is missed as well), gas stations (I do llike the facility on Cicero already and the corner of 167th is great too), clothing, now here is Oak Forest's problem, in our area (167th) I would either go to Fashion Bug in Orand, the mall in Orland, some of the strip mall shops in Tinley. I have gone to TJ Max and Burlington in Oak Forest. Would be nice to have a Target closer or another clothing store. Even our craft store is closed on Sundays! To me that doesn't make any sense, but whatever. And some of the 'breakfast' restaurants that we have close so early and don't serve lunch. So there is a lot of room for business/comsumer spending increase opportunities in Oak Forest.
phxdr February 24, 2012 at 10:12 PM
The gym is not going to happen. 90% of Americans enjoy getting their Mcdonalds and sitting behind the TV watching Fox News or Dancing with the Stars. You have Xsport now in Crestwood, Cardinal Fitness all over, and Lifetime in Orland. Put a fork in that idea..its done. The fact is a big part of getting business in here is getting the people in office out.
Baba Wawa February 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM
What about the Ikea in Bolingbrook?

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