If you are thinking of moving to Oak Park, Illinois, here are a few things you may want to know before making the big move. I have lived here since July of 2009, and I came from living in the far west suburbs of Chicago.
-Oak Park is located on the western border of Chicago, near the Austin area.
-There are about 30,700 residents and it has a population density of about 10,200 which is considered high.
-The median household income is $70,000 and half the residents rent.
Negatives about living here
-The parking is outrageously expensive and if you rent then you will have to find parking on the street and pay anywhere from $90-248 per quarter.
-There is quite a bit of theft; usually stolen bicycles, people breaking into cars, or people having their wallets and cell phones stolen while getting into their cars (see the Oak Park police blotter).
-My experience has been (living on Washington Blvd.) that at night the police and ambulance sirens are constant.
Positives about living here
-The Metra and CTA green and blue line run through Oak Park. However, unless you live close or can take the free bus that only runs during the day, plan on purchasing a parking pass near the train station (which costs $160 per quarter)
-There is a dog park that is fun and fenced in (however, once again you have to pay $30 to use it and register your dog with the village for another $10).
-You are nearby hospitals (Rush Oak Park and Resurrection Hospital) and other medical offices.
-If you like the city, but still want a bit of the suburbs, I think it is a nice blend.
-Many of the apartments are old and the architecture is gorgeous. Because they are old, most do not have central heating and are not wheelchair accessible.
-The downtown is very nice and has several nice family owned shops.
Random pieces of good information
-I am amazed by how many people own dogs here! If you are going to be an apartment dweller, be prepared to deal with barking dogs or try and find an apartment with a pet policy.
-The main gym is called Formula Fitness Club and is really nice, but extremely expensive.
-If you like to run and like to have trails and/or some type of a running path, forget it. You will be stopping at least every 5 minutes to wait for the light or traffic to clear.
-You will probably not find a one bedroom for any less than $850.
-Oak Park’s claim to fame is having the home of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He has designed a few other homes nearby and they are beautiful.
-The north and west sides of the town have beautiful and massive homes. The south and east part of the town have more apartments, and once you are two or three blocks from Austin (on the east side) it becomes sketchy.