The Village of Oak Brook was incorporated in 1958 and is located twenty five miles from the Chicago Loop. Oak Brook has a residential population of 9,087 with a daytime population approaching 100,000. Spacious, stylish and prestigious residential areas, vast open spaces, elegant shopping, and a beautiful commercial district complete the picture. Residents enjoy some of the best schools in Illinois, expansive open space (including several golf courses), an extensive bike/pedestrian pathway system and exciting polo matches on summer Sundays. World-class medical care is nearby and many members of the medical community also call Oak Brook home.
Oak Forest The City of Oak Forest is making great strides in economic development as more and more individual business operators, real estate brokers, and land developers involved in the various aspects of economic development express an interest in opening new businesses or in expanding existing ones. The inquiries received by the city’s economic and community development staff cover a broad range of projects – from small individual retail establishments, small shopping centers and auto repair and sales to major industrial enterprises.
Firms already established have generally found Oak Forest to be an excellent community in which to do business, with a substantial number of second- and third-generation business owners and operators. Many have been here for more than 25 years. Why has Oak Forest become such a popular place for economic development? Several factors explain why the development community is looking at Oak Forest: the success of Oak Forest Commons, the adoption of a new Comprehensive Plan for the City, the merging of the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals into a consolidated, streamlined Planning and Zoning Commission – all of which contribute to the City of Oak Forest’s positive, development-friendly attitude that encourages and enhances business and economic growth.
Developers and applicants find that the combined Planning and Zoning Commission reduces the number of meetings that they and their representatives have to attend, which can be costly. By having one group review an application, projects can be presented to the City Council for consideration much more quickly – thereby allowing faster project approval and start-up, and/or allowing developers more time to revise projects as recommended by the Council. The Mayor, City Council, Economic Development Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, and Community Development Department are eager to attract new business activity to the City, which will improve Oak Forest as a whole and provide additional services for the convenience of residents. At the same time, the City recognizes the importance of established standards in maintaining the quality of life that residents have enjoyed, and are carefully planning today’s and tomorrow’s economic growth. The City of Oak Forest created an Economic Development Commission (EDC) to help promote and market the community as a possible location for new and/or expanded business and industry. The commission is composed of a broad cross-section of local community leaders from both public and private sector firms and organizations. It provides data to prospective corporate residents and assists in site location and selection. Members of the Commission regularly meet with prospects to provide information and assist with any problems that may arise with the opening of a new business or industry. The EDC maintains a working relationship with qualified economic development consultants who provide specific information for individual prospects relative to questions related to property taxes, incentives, financing, and education and training. It works with a professional Community Development Coordinator employed by the City to help with business assistance needs including start-up, expansion, relocation services, site and building selection, financial packaging, employee training and other services. Municipal cooperation for new and existing business is a priority. The Commission is generally responsible for working with new business and industry, while the Chamber of Commerce generally deals with existing establishments. However, the EDC and the Chamber are jointly working on developing a retention program to help enhance the local business climate for existing establishments.