Spring Brings Severe Weather – Be Prepared!

Looking at the snow still on the ground makes it hard to believe that March is the official meteorological start of spring. But March is officially here and with it comes the potential for severe weather. In fact the threat of tornados is so real that March 1st – March 7th has been designated as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois.

This yearly reminder is an important, potentially lifesaving prompt that gives locals the heads up about weather dangers that can occur in our state during the spring season.

Flooding, thunderstorms, lightning and tornados are all common weather occurrences that can cause havoc, but tornados can be the most destructive and life-threatening of them all.  With Illinois being a part of what is known at “tornado alley” it makes sense to be familiar with the signs that a tornado may be approaching:

  • The sky is dark or green in color
  • Low-lying dark cloud cover
  • Large hail
  • The sound of a freight train-like roar

The best way to be informed when severe weather hits is to be tuned into the local news/weather to get the latest emergency weather information. When a tornado siren sounds do not ignore.

Being in your own apartment/home can give a false sense of security.  You may only have seconds to act from the time a tornado siren sounds so know that best to be during a tornado is the basement. If you do not have a basement or it is not quickly accessible then go to an interior closet or bathroom tub and stay away from windows. Cover your head with pillows or sofa cushions. The number one cause of death during a tornado is flying debris so making sure you are covered and protected is a vitally important part of any tornado safety plan.

Finally, having an emergency supply kit that includes bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlight/batteries and a first aid kit is another smart way to be prepared.

Posted in 2015, OakParkApartments.com, Safety | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Eat Your Way Through Winter With Oak Park’s Foodie Fest

How do you get through the coldest February on record with plenty of snow on the ground, more to come and no end in sight?

Eat. Why not enjoy the one indoor activity that everyone has to do every day in order to survive.  And Oak Park’s here to help you survive by providing 2 weeks of special “restaurant week” promotions called Foodie Fest.

So, what is FoodieFest and how does it work?

Foodie Fest is a special prix fixe menu festival of local dining fare put together by the OPRF Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oak Park that highlights many Oak Park, River Forest and Berwyn restaurants and specialty food stores. Each participating vendor has a prix fixe menu that suits their venue and comes with three items or courses for only $10, $20 or $30.

Their are options for all palates and budgets.  For those who would like a fine dining experience might want to check out Berwyn restaurant, Autre Monde Cafe’s menu which includes three courses with two choices per course for a $30 price tag.  Or, if you have a sweet tooth, maybe a visit to River Forest Chocolates for a $10 sampler box of goodies might be more up your alley.  No matter what your food cravings may be, Foodie Fest has plenty of options.

Foodie Fest runs through March 7th, and even though that seems like a long time there are over 50 restaurants for you to choose from – so get eating.

Posted in 2015, Cold weather, Downtown Oak Park, Fun, Oak Park Happenings, OakParkApartments.com, Village of Oak Park, Visit Oak Park | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bundle Up Oak Park, Winter’s Not Done With Us Yet!

Winter’s arctic weather continues to have a hold on the midwest late this season.  With temperatures averaging 20 – 25°F  below normal and some bone chilling negative wind chills this February has us shivering.  With no end in sight (at least according to Tom Skilling’s 7 day forecast) OakParkApartments.com has some tips to help you survive.

  1. Remove any and all window air conditioning units, which are a huge source of heat loss.  The impact of leaving a window air conditioning unit in a window during the winter is similar to that of leaving a window in your apartment open – so by simply removing an air conditioning unit you are instantly keeping your home warmer as well as being kind to our environment.
  2. Close all storm windows and windows tightly.  Make sure windows are locked for the tightest seal.
  3. Make sure your radiator valves are open, “lefty loosey” (if you need more heat) “righty tighty” (if it gets too hot) is a good way to remember which way to turn the radiator valves in order to help regulate the heat in your apartment.
  4. Purchase insulated curtains.  Insulated curtains have been shown to reduce heat loss through windows by up to 25%.  Not only will the curtains keep you warmer in the winter, they will also keep out heat in the summer – double bonus.  Plus, you can take them with you if and when you move.
  5. Don’t block your radiators.  Furniture absorbs heat that would normally get directed into your apartment so keep your radiators clear.
  6. Draft-proof your doors.  Draft stoppers or just a plain old rolled up towel placed up against exterior doors will help to prevent the cold wind from blowing through your apartment during the extreme weather.
  7. The easiest way to stay warm is to dress warm – OakParkApartments.com is required by the Village of Oak Park to maintain the following apartment temperatures of 65°F from 6 to 8 a.m.; 68°F from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 63°F from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m from September 15th through June 1st at all of our properties – and many of our property temperatures average between 68 – 72°F – but that does not mean you’ll be comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt!

OakParkApartments.com heating systems have been upgraded and are able to be monitored via computer remotely.  Our heating technicians regularly oversee our heating systems (being especially vigilant during extreme weather conditions) and can trouble shoot problems before they become an issue.

If you do experience an issue with your heat during normal business hours (Monday – Saturday; 9 – 5) please contact our office immediately at 708-622-9246 .  If the issue occurs after normal business hours please call our emergency service number, 708-237-6952 and our answering service will contact our on-call staff to help you.

The cold is coming – there is no way around it – but with OakParkApartments.com’s tips and a little proactive prepping you’ll stay warm and cozy in your apartment.

Posted in 2015, Cold weather, OakParkApartments.com | Leave a comment

Oak Park History 101: The Road To Knowledge

Did you know that Lake Street was originally named Pennsylvania Avenue? Oak Park’s Pennsylvania Avenue became a toll road at Austin Boulevard, charging users a 5 cents toll, causing many users to bypass by using other roads.

Did you know that Oak Park’s toll road was privately owned and operated? James Scoville and H.W. Austin where granted the concession to Oak Park’s toll road in 1869. These two Oak Park “founding fathers” ran and collected tolls in Oak Park for ten years!

Did you know that the “road” that Oak Parkers used to bypass the Pennsylvania Avenue toll was originally a cow path? That “cow path” was also know as the “Big Ditch”.  Today Oak Parkers call that road Chicago Avenue!

Did you know that most of Oak Park’s streets were named after Oak Ridges’ (Oak Park’s original name) early speculators and developers? While driving through Oak Park you will see street signs bearing their names; Austin, Scoville, Lombard and Harvey are just a few.

Did you know that OakParkApartments.com‘s its’ community? Finding out some of the fun, quirky historical facts only makes us feel more connected to this unique and special place we call home!

Posted in 2015, History of Oak Park, OakParkApartments.com, Uncategorized, Village of Oak Park | Leave a comment

Ice & Snow… Take It Slow: Snow Safety Tips

Hey Oak Parkers! Winter and snow – a lot of snow – has finally hit our village.  We are pretty much done digging out from Sunday’s #snowmageddon2015 Super Bowl blizzard but, since it looks like the snow will be staying awhile, OakParkApartments.com wanted to remind our tenants of a few winter tips that will help keep them safe.

  • Snow safety starts with snow removal.  Our OPA staff has been working diligently to remove snow and salt pathways but please understand that there are only so many places to put that much snow – almost 20 inches – the fifth largest snowfall in Chicago’s meteorological record books.  So, if your parking space or a pathway needs extra attention please kindly contact us and let us know.
  • For your safety please use your building’s front enclosed entrance way instead of the back, open staircases during and after a snow storm.  It just is much safer even if you need to walk further to get to your car.  The back porches and stairs may be shoveled and salted but are always more slick and prone to freezing.
  • Be cautious entering the front of your building as well. The floors of buildings may be wet from melted snow and ice. Entryway rugs will help to prevent slipping but still use caution.
  • If you must use the back porch stairs then walk slowly and deliberately. Plant your feet securely on each step and be sure to have a firm grip on the handrail.
  • When sidewalks look wet that usually means black ice, so approach with caution. Ice often appears in the mornings, so be aware.
  • Purchasing a snow shovel and salt for your own personal use makes sense.  These supplies help you to get your car unstuck or ensure your own safety when the snow starts to fall.

Posted in 2015, Cold weather, OakParkApartments.com, Safety, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Host A Great Superbowl Party

For some this year’s Super Bowl may be all about the battle played out on the field between the Patriots and the Seahawks but for the majority of Sunday night’s viewers the game is just a back drop for eating, socializing and critiquing the Super Bowl commercials and half time show.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party there are some definite rules and regulations to ensure your party scores big on game day.

Know that:

  • Only a few of the most die-hard football fans truly care about the outcome of the game if their favorite team is not in the competition. So, since the Bears are not playing, chances are the game will be more of a side note to the food and fun you have planned.

On Saturday:

  1. Set up your T.V. for the best viewing of the game for all your guests.
  2. Set up multiple T.V’s in various rooms if you are able.  This makes sure no one misses any of the commercials, oops we mean action on the field.
  3. Make sure your cable is working – you do not want any surprises come kick-off.
  4. Cook, cater, or pick up snacks.  No one cares what you do but whatever you decide to do, do lots of.  The Super Bowl is a nash-fest.
  5. If you are cooking, make some things ahead of time.  You’ll have more fun at your own party if you do.
  6. Get creative with you decorations.  Turn your kitchen table into a field full of food. Put your beverages into an inflatable football.
  7. Plan games.  Everyone loves betting on the Super Bowl and the best way to do this is through betting squares. You can play for money or silly gifts (bobble-head dolls, for example) but this is a definite part of the party experience.

On Sunday:

  1. Do some minimal picking up/cleaning – Remember it’s Super Bowl not a fancy dinner party so perfection is not required.
  2. Rearrange some furniture for optimal viewing and comfort.
  3. Pick up your catering or do some more cooking.
  4. Chill your drinks.
  5. Welcome your guests and have fun yourself!
Posted in 2015, Apartment Living, Entertaining, Fun | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The History of Oak Park’s Diversity Mission

Starting with Dr. Percy Julian back in 1947 and through the late 1950′s Oak Park struggled with racism right alongside the rest of the country.

Dr. Julian, a prominent African American scientist, and his family moved to an affluent section of Oak Park in 1947.  Almost instantly there were both physical and verbal threats made to he and his family. Many Oak Parkers rallied their support behind the Julian family thus setting the beginning stages for Oak Park’s vision of what a truly integrated community should look like.

Oak Park struggled with the issue of integration throughout the 50′s. Not until February of 1960, when a town hall meeting was held at the First Congregational Church, did Oak Park’s religious and civil rights leaders began to seriously address the issues of racism in the village.

The 60′s became a time that tested and pushed Oak Park and it’s residents to truly examine their beliefs on racial equality.  Public debate in Oak Park during these years was heated.  Oak Parkers took sides but in 1964, with over 1000 Oak Parkers signing a petition that backed peoples right to “live where they choose”, the tide began to change towards embracing the idea of the benefits of diverse community.

Additionally during this time, social action committees were created at several churches which led to the formation of the Oak Park River Forest Citizens Committee for Human Rights.  Next the Open Housing Ordinance, which supported integrated housing, was enacted and then by 1973 the Village Trustees created a policy statement regarding diversity which continues to guide Oak Park and it’s residents today.

“The people of Oak Park choose this community, not just as a place to live, but as a way of life. Oak Park has committed itself to equality not only because it is legal, but because it is right; not only because equality is ethical, but because it is desirable for us and our children. Ours is a dynamic community that encourages the contributions of all citizens, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital and/or familial status, mental and/or physical impairment and/or disability, military status, economic class, political affiliation, or any of the other distinguishing characteristics that all too often divide people in society.”

Posted in 2015, Diversity, History of Oak Park, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Chase The Winter Blues Away & Do It For Free!

The surest way to beat these midwestern winter blahs is by planning some fun activities that get you up and moving. And, with Oak Park being just so darn close to the thriving Chicago metropolis, what better place to go and explore.

Jump on the Metra, Blue or Green “L” lines or even in the comfort of your own car because downtown Chicago is less then 10 miles from Oak Park.  Not only is Chicago close and convenient, much of what can be experienced in the city can be done on a budget or even for free.

Here are a few ideas to get you to head downtown, have some fun, experience Chicago and not pay a fortune while your at it.

  • Skating – The Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon is the newest addition to 7 other outdoor skating rinks available in the city. Located at 337 E. Randolph St., the ribbon is unique in that it gives skaters an “alpine experience” with it’s looping quarter-mile “ribbon” layout. Hours at the ribbon are Monday – Thursday from 12 p.m.- 8 p.m., Friday 12 p.m.- 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Admission is free, however there is a $12 fee for skate rentals and $1 for locker rentals.  Be forewarned – lines to rent skates are long so if you don’t own skates make sure to borrow a pair to enjoy some wintertime fun.
  • Museums – The cold winter months are a perfect time to stroll through some of Chicago’s world renowned museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Chicago History Museum, Notebaert Nature Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Children’s Museum plus more.  In fact these wonderful cultural and educational institutions offer free admissions days so take note and plan your outing accordingly!
  • Garfield Park Conservatory – Designed in 1906 by famous landscape architect, Jens Jensen and conveniently located on the west side of Chicago (so really close to Oak Park), this 6 green house conservatory is a national leader. There is no better place to head to when the temperatures outside dip down below freezing.  The surrounding greenery can fool even the most hardened mid-westerner into thinking spring has sprung.  Not only does the Garfield Park Conservatory fool your weather senses but once again this Chicago gem is free (and the adjoining parking lot is free too – bonus!)  Good will donations are accepted and appreciated!

So, Oak Parkers, there is no reason not to venture out into the cold and snow this winter.  Visit our closest neighbor, Chicago, and start chasing those blues away!

Posted in 2015, Chicago, Cold weather, Fun, Money | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your Apartment

With Chicagoland’s temperatures continuing to plummet it is good to take precautions not only when you are outside but inside your apartment as well.

OakParkApartments would like to share these tips to help prevent the pipes in your apartment from freezing during the extreme cold weather the Chicagoland area is experiencing.

Tip #1: Open the doors to your kitchen and bathroom base cabinets.  By opening the doors you allow warmer air to circulate into the cabinet area and around the pipes.

Tip #2: Let your faucets drip cold water in extreme cold weather, especially overnight, when temps are at their lowest.  If you are concerned about water usage tests have shown that dripping cold water uses only 5 cents worth of water in eight hours.  While a small flow of water will not prevent the pipe from freezing it will prevent it from bursting.  A burst pipe can pour out gallons of water and cost thousands of dollars in damage to both the property and your belongings. (Another good reason to invest in renter’s insurance.)

Tip #3: Wrap kitchen and bathroom pipes with old newspaper and/or towels for insulation. Duck tape in place.  The extra layer of protection could prevent a pipe from bursting.

Tip #4: If you will be gone overnight during an extreme cold spell leave some heat on in your apartment and follow the above three tips.

If you turn on a faucet during freezing weather and only a trickle of water comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.  Follow the below tips to help thaw a frozen pipe:

Tip #1: Keep the faucet open and water running. The running water will help melt ice in the pipe. After flow is achieved, allow faucet to drip to prevent refreezing.

Tip #2: Apply heat to the pipe.  Use a hair dryer, heating pad or wrap the pipe in towels soaked in hot water to help unfreeze.

Tip #3: Call OakParkApartments.com to report the issue.

Posted in 2015, 24/7 emergency service, Apartment Living, Cold weather, Safety | Tagged | 1 Comment

Renter’s Resolve For 2015

The end of 2014 is fast approaching.  As you get ready to ring out 2014 and welcome in the new year you may want to focus your resolutions close to home!

Here are some promises you can make to your apartment!

De-Clutter

Stuff in, stuff out!  Chances are your apartment isn’t getting any bigger with the new year so the best way to give yourself and your place a fresh start is to de-clutter.  The holidays bring new gifts and gadgets that can easily accumulate into a hoard. Start 2015 out right by assessing what you use and don’t. Go through your closet and cabinets and decide what you wear/use, then decide what you can either sell or should donate.

DIY

Do you have an old dining room table or pictures that you’ve been meaning to frame? Resolve to start and complete one DIY project in 2015.  Just check out OPA’s Pinterest DYI board for inspiration.

Decorate

Pick a room, a corner, a wall and add your own flair.  Once again, Pinterest can be a place to start the decorating ideas flowing. As a renter, adding a splash of color to your beige environment can put the personal touch on your pad.  Removable wallpaper can dress up a wall while 3m’s adhesive hooks can provide renters with a damage free way to create a gallery wall.  Start creating!

Posted in 2014, 2015, Apartment Living, Holiday, OakParkApartments.com, Organization | 1 Comment