Wright Trust needs better community relations

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Dan, I respectfully disagree with your comment, "We'd make a single point to those who worry that demolishing one home opens the door to more demolitions in the Wright Historic District. … Approving this does not open the door for either teardowns, with McMansions following, or brick ranches crammed onto side lots" [A Wright alternative, Our Views, Aug. 28].

I grew up in Oak Park, as did you. Over the many decades, there have been a slew of teardowns of old homes. My late parents remembered when there were homes all along Kenilworth, from Elizabeth Court to Lake Street. Gradually, one by one, developers sought — and gained approval — to tear them down. So no, this won't open the flood gates for demolition immediately. But, incrementally, I could envision more encroachment on the residential area. Village leaders need to envision what do they want Oak Park to be, not just today but looking down the road long-term.

I think the village does need a visitor center downtown to serve all of the tourism entities. I think what the FLW Trust is really envisioning is a visitor center to serve its own expanding needs.

Lastly, as both a longtime Trust volunteer as well as someone who watched the formation of the FLW Home & Studio as a museum back in 1974, I admire and respect their work and mission. However, I truly think they need to improve their community relations. I'm not talking about public relations — there is a big distinction between community relations and public relations. Historically, the Trust has not reached out to build strong relationships with its neighbors, except to ask homeowners to put their homes on the Wright Plus housewalk. If they did establish a truly robust community relations program, it could go a long way in fostering greater trust with the neighbors.

Susan Montgomery

Oak Park

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