OPA Blog

Tour Oak Park The “Wright” Way

Exceptional architecture is a vital part of what makes Oak Park a unique village. From Victorian to bungalow, Italianate to colonial, art deco to mid-century modern – Oak Park is a village that is proud of its’ rich, diverse, housing styles that add uniqueness and flair to our community.
No Oak Park architectural musings would be complete without highlighting the architect who helped to put Oak Park on the proverbial architectural map but Frank Lloyd Wright (celebrating his 150th this year as well!) and his Prairie style designs. There is no better way to experience some of Oak Park’s finest architectural offerings then by taking one of the many tours offered through the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
The options are many: daily tours of the home and studio, walking neighborhood tours, combination home and studio & neighborhood tours, guided bike tours, customized tours for larger groups, accessible tours, and interior tours of the completely renovated Unity Temple.
The docents on all guided tour options are a much added and appreciated bonus enhancing the experience by providing historical flavor, noteworthy insights into the properties, their owners and the architects that designed them.
Whether you already live in Oak Park, have recently moved to the Village or are just visiting Oak Park architecture should be on your “must do” list.

 

OPA Tenant Appreciation Movie Series Sets Attendance Records

In past summers Oak Park Apartments has shown our tenants a little love in different ways.  Coffee and snacks from local food trucks, company flair in the form of t-shirts, sponsorship for participation in various local charitable 5k’s, summer movies in the courtyard at our 301 Oak Park Ave. property shown on a big inflatable screen under the stars.
Well, all events were great to do, but honestly some were better attended then others. And, realistically the outdoor movies were tough for several reasons; bugs, humidity, rain, uncomfortable seating, more bugs, and so on. So, though the movies were what most people wanted to do according to feedback, they weren’t always drawing the crowds that we were hoping for. It was that piece of the attendance puzzle that we wanted to work on this year to ensure that a majority of the tenants in our 1,500 or so apartments had an opportunity, if they wanted, to participate.
So the idea to rent out the Lake Theater for our tenants to attend a preview of some of this summer’s soon to be blockbuster hits developed (thank you a5 Inc.!). Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Wonder Women and Despicable Me 3 were the chosen features for our three events. Theater space was secured and finally out went an email to our tenants letting them know of the event. We weren’t certain what type of response we were going to receive and were just hoping that we would get at least some replies.  Well, 30 minutes later our first scheduled movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, was sold out and with a waiting list that was getting longer by each passing minute. Our dedicated staff, not wanting to disappoint so many tenants, contacted the Lake Theater and was able to switch the premier to a theater space with more capacity!
With each passing premier word grew and more tenants participated – over 500 in total came out to share in the joy of kicking off the summer season with a bucket of popcorn, a hit movie and no threat of rain or pesky mosquitos to contend with!

 

 

Apartment Living Skills – Resetting A Tripped Circuit Breaker

In the early 1900’s, when most of Oak Park Apartments properties were originally built, a tenant’s basic needs for electricity was limited to lighting and a few basic appliances.
Air conditioners, laptops, dishwashers, cell phones; all of our 21st century amenities and technological needs have placed a greater demand on electrical services at these historic buildings.
In order to keep up with that demand and to guarantee safe housing Oak Park Apartments has worked with the Village of Oak Park and ComEd to upgrade electric circuits and wires at our properties so they are safe and able to handle today’s load.
The modern circuit breaker is designed to “trip” when the load capacity becomes too great. Tenants should know where their circuit breaker panel is located and how to reset a tripped circuit.
If repeated circuit breaker “trips” happen Oak Park Apartments requests that tenants contact management.
At times, after severe storms, buildings can suffer power outages.  Since multiple power lines can feed a single building there are instances when parts of a building or even rooms in an individual apartment can be out of power while other building areas or individual rooms don’t have any issues.
Please know that during these acts of nature the quick restoration of power is the goal but can be out of our control until ComEd is able to restore overall service to a specific area or power line.

 

The OPPL – Books Plus So Much More!

 

Oak Park’s Public Library system has full compliment of resources and services to offer to the Oak Park community.
Not only can you, as an Oak Park resident, receive a library card which gives you access to a huge array of books you can also borrow music, movies, games, magazines, journals, and newspapers in both hard copy and digital formats. Plus the recently added Kanopy streaming service allows Oak Park library patrons the ability to stream, for free, a variety of feature films, documentaries, and educational videos.
Need a place to meet? Group study rooms are reservable for free and meeting rooms are available to rent, unless you are a not-for-profit organization, then they are free as well. Computers, laptops, wireless connections, printing, scanning, faxing and copying services are all available to ensure your meeting or project will be supported for success.
Want to brush up on your business skills? Video tutorials on software, web design, business management, financial literacy, job/career guidance, social networking, etc. are all available through the libraries Lynda services, and all for free as well! You only need to register.
Museum passes are another library perk that often goes unheard of – passes may be borrowed and used at participating destinations such as Brookfield Zoo, Cantigny Park, Chicago Botanic Garden, Bronzeville Children’s Museum, and LegoLand Discovery Center, to name a few.
Do you need a document notarized?  Well the library even provides a notary, free of charge, at each of its’ branches – you just need to double check the dates and times the notary is scheduled at each location and make an appointment.
The library offers a calendar of events and classes that reaches out to any and everyone – from book clubs to podcast recording sessions, from basic internet how to to job skills workshops, from improv for kides to SAT prep study groups and that only scratches the surface!
Take some time to explore the Oak Park Public Libraries Main, Maze & Dole branches – there are so many resources right in your own backyard! And as of this summer, they are fine free too!

Hot Weather Tips To Keep Pets Safe

Hot and humid weather is often referred to as the dog days of summer.
And imagine being a dog (or cat) and having to function in the heat while wearing your fur coat.
As a pet friendly apartment management company
Oak Park Apartments would like to help keep your pet safe and comfortable
when temperatures soar by offering a few simple tips:

 

  • During extreme heat it is important that pets are in an air conditioned environment.
  • Keep air moving with fans but know that pets respond differently to heat. Fans do not have the same effect on pets as they do on people.
  • Limit exercise to early mornings or later in the evenings when temperatures are cooler.
  • Close blinds/curtain so the sun does not heat up your apartment.
  • Ensure your pet has plenty of cold water to drink throughout the day.  Pets cool from the inside out so access to cold water is important. One trick is to create a jumbo ice cube (get creative), by freezing water overnight then pop that giant cube into your pets water bowl in the morning for cool drinking water all day long.
  • Purchase products that will help keep your pet cool during the day, like the Easyology Premium Pet Cold Gel Pad.
  • Groom/brush/bathe your pet regularly. Never shave your pet – their fur actually protects them from the heat and sunburn.
  • Panting allows your pet regulate its’ body temperature so do not muzzle your dog when it is really hot.
  • Never leave your pet in a alone in a car.  Not even for a minute. A car can heat up to over 120 degrees in 30 minutes or less.
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke.  If you suspect your pet is exhibiting signs of heatstroke seek veterinary attention immediately.

Unity Temple Restoration Complete In Time For FLW’s 150th

Today, more than other day, Oak Park is celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright.  Frank was born on this day, June 8th, 150 years ago. Wright has given the world, not only Oak Park, architecture that is still relevant, still contemporary, still inspirational. And now, more then ever, the world is intent on restoring and preserving the works of Frank Lloyd Wright for many years to come.
One such restoration project, said to be Frank’s favorite commission, is Oak Park’s own Unity Temple.
Wright’s Unity Temple is an architectural masterpiece, described by Wright himself as his “contribution to modern architecture.”  With its’ exposed concrete exterior and bipartite interior, Unity Temple has influenced many aspiring architects with its’ experimental and innovative style.
It is because of these innovative concepts that Unity Temple has earned much recognition.  In 1971 Unity temple was awarded United States National Historic Landmark status.  Architectural Record magazine conducted a poll in 1991 where Unity Temple was ranked sixth out of the 100 of the most significant buildings in the United States. Then, in 2014, the US Department of the Interior authorized the nomination of Unity Temple, along with ten other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But with innovation and experimentation comes a price.  The 16 modern flat roofs were not designed with winter weather in mind.  The roofs, over time, leaked causing much interior damage.  Repairs were needed and the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation  (UTRF) began planning for the care, preservation and restoration of this architectural icon seventeen years ago. After two years and 25 million dollars the extensive, environmentally sensitive Unity Temple restoration is complete.  And timing couldn’t be more perfect to wish Wright a happy 150th!
A formal ribbon-cutting and open house are scheduled for June 17. Tours specifically about the restoration efforts will be a feature starting this July, 2017.

 

Day In Our Village, A Cherished Oak Park Tradition

Oak Park is celebrating its’ 44th annual Day in Our Village festival this Sunday, June 4th. The purpose of this cherished Oak Park event is to celebrate “the vitality and the rich advantages of our diverse community, and provide the opportunity for all residents, their families, and friends to come learn about the myriad of organizations and share in this Oak Park experience.”
This annual festival kicks off summer by providing fun filled activities at several locations throughout the Village for all ages to enjoy.
Rehm Park and the Oak Park Conservatory will host a variety of activities including unlimited carnival games, inflatables, face painting, “train” rides  and more with the purchase of a $5 wristband. Rehm Pool will offer an opportunity to swim the day away, weather permitting, at half the usual entrance price.
At Scoville Park there are over 150 booths that represent Oak Park’s civic, cultural, social service, educational, religious and business organizations.  At the booths you can also find a variety of activities that include games, demonstrations, plant-your-own vegetable or flower to take home, art activities and charity dunk tank to name a few.
Local entertainers will be providing live performances throughout the day on the Scoville Park stage for all to appreciate.  Oh, and pray for sun so you can get a taste of the not-to-be missed solar chocolate chip cookies freshly baked by our favorite Rotarians – yum!
Solar cookies are not the only food option at Day In Our Village. The Scoville Park food court (by the main library) has many yummy food offerings from many local restaurants to choose from and we’d be remiss if we neglected to mention the crowd favorite and Day In Our Village tradition of delicious roasted corn drenched in melted butter. A true sign summer is here!
As an fyi – there is a free shuttle that can take you and your family & friends back and forth between Scoville Park and Rehm Park (operating from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) so you and yours can enjoy the fun at both parks and be “green” while you’re at it!
Day in Our Village is a definite fun must do this weekend as well as showcasing what an incredible village Oak Park truly is!

 

Frank Lloyd Wright – Celebrating 150

Frank Lloyd Wright is turning 150 years old on June 8th and Oak Park, home to the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings, is looking to celebrate!
Wright, though born and bred in Wisconsin, not only made Oak Park his home but is where he established his architectural firm and where his work set in motion a major shift in architectural style that still strongly resonates today.
The broad, sweeping Midwest landscape became the driving influence for Wrights’ very distinctive designs. Marked by horizontal lines, flat or hipped roofs, wide eaves, lengths of banded windows, quality craftsmanship and simple interior decor. The Prairie school design elements of the early 20th century are incorporated into many of today’s current architectural projects, their qualities are timeless and modern over 100 years later.
The fact that FLW’s designs have endured the test of time and still remain the pinnacle of architectural excellence would surely be one of the best gifts that Frank could receive for his birthday, but we would suspect that FLW would even hope (expect, maybe?) that his architectural significance would continue to live on for at least another 150 more.
So take a moment to appreciate Wright’s local Oak Park masterpieces, wish him well on this his 150th milestone and support the preservation of Frank’s achievements for many more years to come.

 

Farmers Market Donuts

Oak Park’s 42nd annual Farmer’s Market starts this Saturday.
Yes, Oak Park Apartments loves the locally grown fruits and veggies, the specialty cheeses, the wide assortment of jams and honey, the beautiful fresh cut flowers and perennials that can be planted in your own backyard… but the # 1 reason, in our humble opinion, to go to the Farmer’s Market is for a freshly made, melt in your mouth donuts!
Cinnamon, powdered sugar or plain.  Each holds its own appeal.  These donuts are made fresh at Pilgrim Church in the wee morning hours.  You can purchase one or a dozen but get there early because they sell out fast.
A good strategy to employ in order to make sure you are not shut out of a delectable donut is to head to the back corner of the church next to the kiddie playground. The line can be long, sometimes circling the entire width of the church, but the wait is worth it.  Buy a few.  Or a dozen. Then, with donut and coffee in hand you can meander the market and make some other delicious and healthy purchases.
The added bonus is that various local non-profit organizations make the donuts week to week, earning money for Pilgrim Church as well as their organizations so, not only are you enjoying the best donut around but you are being philanthropic as well!

Oak Park’s Sculpture Walk Comes to Harrison Street

The Oak Park Area Arts Council (OPAAC) is at it again. Bringing art to the people of Oak Park and beyond.
Returning for its’ sixth season is the Oak Park Sculpture Walk and what better place to locate this years’ works of art but on Harrison Street, the heart of Oak Park’s Arts District.  The sculptures are presently being installed between Austin Boulevard and Ridgeland Avenue – so nine blocks of artistic vibe to help support and showcase this years twelve new sculptures.
All the installations are scheduled to be completed by May 12th, right in time for the annual “What’s Blooming on Harrison” street festival, happening on May 20th. The festival features an art fair, loads of family fun, including a kids carnival, musicians, dancers, art demonstrations, not to mention food, drinks and now 12 amazing sculptural works of art to appreciate, analyze, discuss and enjoy!
This year technology also comes into play with the sculptures.  You can download your mobile audio guide app through Otocast (app available after the opening on May 19th) and get artistic insights right on your phone.