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City Aims for Revitalization, Beginning with Apartment Buildings

Two recently purchased apartment buildings near the Oak Forest Metra station are the first step in a larger plan by the city to revitalize the area around the station. The city council approved the purchase of the buildings Jan. 22.

Two apartment buildings recently purchased by the city of Oak Forest are the first step in the city's broader plan to reestablish interest in the flagging area around the Oak Forest Metra station, officials told Patch.

The plan is designed to attract new businesses and residents, according to Director of Community Development, Adam Dotson.

“The city's intention is to improve the housing stock around the train station,” Dotson said.

During a Jan. 22 meeting, aldermen approved the purchase of a 16-unit building at 15659 S. Lamon Avenue and a 24-unit building at 4820 W. 157th Street for $475,000 and $744,000, respectively.

“Today, is the day that we've made the decision, or we will make a decision, whether to go one way or another, is to tell the investment community that we are looking for reinvestment,” Dotson said at the meeting. “The only way we're going to do that is that the city is going to start taking steps to show the investment community that we want change to happen, so we are successful in the future.”

Current tenants' leases will be honored by the city.

“There won't be any evictions going on,” he said. “It'll be based upon when their leases expire that they probably won't be renewed, depending on what the council wants to do for a length of time.”

The city will most likely secure the buildings once tenants are out and hold the property until firm plans are in place, he added.

Early discussions with Metra include possible additional parking, or more "quality rental housing" near the station. 

“Obviously, the idea is to redevelop that corridor right there along 157th Street,” he said. “The main intent is to bring back some quality rental housing that everybody can be able to enjoy in the future.”

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Tom S February 01, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Will the "quality rental housing" be available to Section 8 applicants? What about condos instead?
Dm February 01, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Oh no, where oh where will the section 8 tenants will go, oh where oh where will they go?????
Bridget Delesio February 01, 2013 at 03:55 PM
no rental housing. haven't you they learned their lesson.
Rick T February 01, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Nice start, but all those apartment buildings must go, not just two of them. Until then, it'll still look like a place to go buy crack, instead of nice rental property by the train station. I'm sure the homeowners around this area would be thrilled too.
phxdr February 01, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Sigh....it never ends. This new idea from the people who brought us the idea of moving the metra parking across the street (where development would have been a success) and TRIED to develop a area that has low visibility and is a maze (gateway). Someone on a different article mentioned putting the new train station in a vacant strip mall building miles away from the train tracks. I would remind this person to not give these people those kind of idea as they might very well run with it. Only in Oak Forest...
Richard Simon February 02, 2013 at 06:44 AM
I will not support rental housing. Condos or Town Houses es.

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