Prevent Your Holiday From Going Up In Flames

The holidays are days filled with fun, food, friends, family and the happy memories that go with the season.  Yet, the holidays also bring an increased risk of fire that can be prevented.

The following holiday fire safety tips will help ensure many more joyful holiday memories for years to come.

  • Place Christmas trees and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from any heat sources:  portable heaters, radiators, heat vents.
  • If you are purchasing an artificial tree check to see if it is also flame retardant. Most are these days but double check the box before you buy.
  • If you are purchasing a real tree make sure it’s fresh (needles will be green, flexible and not brittle).   Have the trunk re-cut, place the tree away from heat sources and make sure to keep it watered.
  • Check strings of lights and extension chords – don’t use anything that is frayed.   Never run chords under a rug or string too many chords together. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Today’s LED lights give off very little heat, greatly reducing the risk of fire.  Consider upgrading the lights you own to LED’s.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • Unplug holiday lights before leaving home, going to bed or use a timer so you never have to worry about forgetting to turn off the lights.
  • Rethink using real candles. Why risk a fire when there are so many beautiful battery operated options that look real.  If you feel you must use real candles then make sure to always extinguish those candles before leaving the room. But remember, candle fires are 4x’s more likely to occur during the holidays.
  • Make sure your tree stand is sturdy. A tipped tree is a big fire hazard as well as a general safety concern.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts handy.
  • Invest in and know how to use a fire extinguisher.

And remember smoke alarms save lives. OakParkApartments has installed smoke alarms in all of our apartment units.  It is your responsibility as a tenant to test the alarms each month and replace the batteries once each year.

Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Cold weather, Holiday,, Safety | Tagged | Leave a comment

Grinch-Proof Your Holiday

Don’t let the Grinch steal your Christmas. Christmas gift giving and the advent of Cyber Monday has increased the number of deliveries which has in turn caused the rise of “doorstop theft”.  Some thieves are so bold as to actually follow delivery trucks and steal packages just minutes after the packages have been dropped off.

Since prevention is the best defense against theft take note of the following tips for a Grinch free season:

  • Sign up for carrier email or text message alerts notifying you of your package delivery time and status.
  • Download an app, like Parcel, to help you track your deliveries.  Many apps are free.
  • Request a signature before the carrier can release any packages, ensuring they are in your hot little hands.
  • Deliver those online orders to your office where someone will be available to accept those orders & let that person know when you are expecting a delivery.
  • Arrange to pick up your package at the your local shipping center – especially if you have many packages being delivered.
  • Ask a neighbor who you know will be home to accept delivery.
  • Retrieve packages from the front vestibule as soon as a delivery is made.
  • If your apartment has an common behind the second locked entry door, bring in any and all packages for your neighbors and hopefully they will do the same for you.
  • Report any suspicious people or activity to the police.
  • If you suspect a package has been stolen start by contacting the carrier. The carrier will perform a search to try to locate your package. If the package cannot be found, you should be able to file a claim up to the declared value of the package contents.
  • Finally, if the carrier has determined the package has in fact been stolen contact the local police to file a report.
Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Holiday, Oak Park Police,, Safety | Tagged , | Leave a comment Donantes $3000 To Local Charities On #GivingTuesday

This is the second year that has decided to take part in the #GivingTuesday initiative.

#GivingTuesday is a movement started in 2012 which created a national day of giving during the holiday season. #GivingTuesday’s purpose was to “encourage and celebrate acts of charitable support” to non-profit organizations.  The movement has caught on and participation increased 338% from 2012 to 2013.  Amazing!

The #GivingTuesday initiative has once again inspired OPA to donate $500 to 6 worthy local charitable organizations on this #GivingTuesday – 2014!

Oak Park and its’ neighbors have so many notable groups that it was difficult to select which charities to support this year.  The following 6 charities caught our attention and will receive $500 from us to help aid their missions:

  • Bethel New Life‘s mission is “to realize God’s vision of a restored society by empowering individuals, strengthening families, and building neighborhoods through community driven, solution-oriented, and value-centered approaches.
    Bethel New Life achieves its’ missions’ goals through entrepreneurial and job training programs, investment in education and provision of affordable senior housing for those living in Chicago’s West side neighborhood.
  • Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry‘s mission is to “is to work together as a community to reduce hunger locally through direct hunger relief services, hunger awareness education and advocacy to influence anti-hunger policy.”  The Pantry procures and distributes food to needy families as well as providing benefits counseling services for families applying for SNAP -Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “Food Stamps”- as well as other forms of public aid.
  • L’Arche provides for the “dignity of every human being by building inclusive communities of faith and friendship where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together.”
  • Hephzibah Children’s Association mission is a multifaceted one. Hephzibah offers short- and long-term group homes for children traumatized by neglect and abuse, child welfare and family services, foster care and adoption programs and award-winning day care on a sliding scale for families of all income levels.
  • Prevail provides emergency assistance and referrals to individuals and families in times of financial crisis and struggle, addressing immediate basic needs and laying the groundwork for future stability.

OPA’s thanks all of these amazing organizations for giving with your whole heart to the missions you are passionate about 365 days a year!

Posted in 2014, Oak Park Charities, Oak Park Happenings, Village of Oak Park, Volunteerism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving, Oak Parkers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Friends @

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Thanksgiving Parking Just Got Easier

Attention all tenants – the Village of Oak Park is giving the gift of ticket free overnight parking over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Yes, you heard correctly.  You and/or your Thanksgiving guests need not worry about calling in your car to the non-emergency police number to avoid receiving the cursed Oak Park overnight parking ticket.  The restrictions have been eased for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, starting at 2:30 a.m., Thursday, November 28nd, and ending at 2:30 a.m., Monday, December 2nd.

Be forewarned that other restrictions will apply  in some overnight permit areas, such as Village-owned lots, on-street enclaves and on-street overnight parking zones. Plus, be aware that all other parking regulations will remain in effect – meaning tickets can and will still happen.

If you have any further parking question do not hesitate to contact the village at:

Posted in 2014, Holiday, Oak Park Parking, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Downtown Oak Park’s (DTOP) Shopper’s Reward program is back in full swing just in time to take care of all of your holiday shopping needs, Oak Parkers.  This program is a smart way to shop for the holidays along with the added incentive of providing a little post-holiday shopping therapy as the carrot to keep your shopping dollars in Downtown Oak Park’s shopping district.

How does DTOP’s Shopper’s Rewards Program work?

The program has you, the shopper, save your receipts from participating stores and restaurants when you shop and dine in Downtown Oak Park. You must save 7 separate receipts totaling $25.00 or more from at least 7 different local participating downtown businesses. Multiple receipts from the same business adding up to $25 or more will count as one receipt total. Those receipts must reach a minimum total of $400.00.  Once you’ve achieved the vendor and receipt requirements you then bring the receipts to the Oak Park Visitor’s Center to redeem for a $50 gift certificate that can be used between January 1st and February 15th for purchases at any of the Rewards Program’s participating businesses.

Along with the above info there are some additional rules:

  • Limit 3 Shopper’s Rewards certificate booklets per household.
  • Must have original store detail receipt.
    — NO photos copies
    — NO debit or credit card statements
    — NO medical or contractual services
  • Receipts must be dated from November 1, 2014 to December 25, 2014.
  • Receipts must be from participating Downtown Oak Park businesses listed on the back of this envelope, or they will not be accepted.

DTOP has created a great incentive program that allows you to earn $$ while keeping your holiday dollars local. There are so many places you can receive the reward gift certificates from – buying groceries at Trader Joe’s, taking in a movie at the Lake Theater, getting a haircut at James Anthony Salon, lunching at Praire Bread Kitchen or shopping for gifts at one of the many amazing retail stores on Lake or Marion Streets – so much so that participating in the program truly is an easy way to earn yourself some Oak Park spending money for the new year!

Posted in 2014, Downtown Oak Park, Fun, Holiday, Oak Park Happenings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

OPA Receives Honorable Mention For Being Green!

One of’s company missions is to to be “green” and evidently we must be doing something right because we will be receiving an honorable mention award for our efforts at this year’s Green Award ceremony.

So here is a recap of some of our recent “green” efforts:

  • Insulation upgrades in attic spaces, which took buildings with zero insulation up to a R-value of 38, greatly improving efficiency as well as comfort for our tenants.
  • Installation of energy efficient windows at 14 OPA  buildings.
  • Use of compact fluorescent light bulbs in all common areas at all of our 40 plus properties.
  • Ongoing replacement of old toilets to high efficiency, low flow models – with the new 1.3 gallon toilets the water usage is reduced to 2,372.5 gallons per year – a savings of 6,752.5 gallons of water per year, per apartment.
  • Replacement of shower heads and faucets which provide an increased water efficiency of between 30 – 40% per apartment.
  • Dedicating building parking spaces to car sharing programs because people who use car sharing services drive about 5,500 miles less annually.
  • Educating and informing tenants through social media about Village sponsored hazardous waste, electronic and paint recycling programs and ways they can be green in their own apartments.
  • Using clean natural gas to power our buildings’ hot water and heating systems and adding state-of-the-art boiler monitoring systems and controls to all of the heating systems at every building.
  • Upgrading our steam radiator systems by adding new, efficient radiator air vents, which means better heat for our tenants, better efficiency for our buildings.
Posted in 2014, Green Living, Oak Park Happenings,, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Time To Prep Your Apartment For The Cold

This past Friday’s white Halloween, with measurable snow, was a tough reminder that last year’s Chi-beria winter weather is already knocking at our door.  Here at the boilers have been turned on and tuned up.  Any kinks in the system are being worked on before winter hits us full force.

Along with ensuring all of our heating systems are in excellent working order last year OPA added computerized monitoring systems to all our boiler units so we are able to monitor the temperature and how well the boiler is running at all of our properties. This investment in technology allows us to trouble shoot and fix problems quickly and efficiently, many times without tenants even knowing there was an issue.

But in order to maintain a comfortable environment in our apartments requires the help of tenants as well.

How can you help keep warm, you ask? Below is a list of things you can do to ensure your apartment stays toasty once temperatures start to drop.

  • If you still have a window air-conditioning unit please remove!
  • Close all storm windows.  This is especially important in a vintage building where you find single pane windows. These windows are the biggest heat loss culprit so in order to keep your place cozy take charge and close your storm windows. ( has replaced many of our old windows with new, energy efficient ones so, depending on which building you live at, this may not be an issue.)
  • Make sure all windows are fully closed and locked.  This is the best way to seal out the cold. (OPA’s employees have gone on heat emergency calls and closed windows after asking tenants if all their windows were closed and being assured that all windows were closed.)
  • Most of our vintage properties have radiator heating systems so it is good to know how to open and close your radiator valves in order to best regulate the heat in your own unit.  “Righty tighty” (if it gets too hot) or “lefty loosey” (if you need more heat) is a good way to remember which way to turn the radiator valves.
  • Invest in 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, they will also keep out heat in the summer – double bonus.  Plus, you can take them with you when you move to use at your next home.
  • Don’t block your radiators.  Furniture absorbs heat that would normally get directed into your apartment so keep your radiators clear.
  • Draft-proof your doors.  If you notice a huge draft at your front or back door contact’s maintenance request service and ask to see if a door sweep can be installed. Otherwise, draft stoppers or just a plain old rolled up towel can do the trick.

Lastly, do not expect to be able to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt and be warm during the winter – as building owners 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 our properties.

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. knows there is no way around the reality of the midwest’s cold blast but if you take a little time to be proactive you can maintain a cozy retreat during this season’s worst weather!

Posted in 2014, 24/7 emergency service, Apartment Living, Cold weather, Maintenance,, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Decorating Your Apartment For Halloween

Whether you are preparing for a Halloween party, trick or treaters or you just want to get into the Halloween spirit, don’t fear, having a plan can make sure your decorating efforts don’t turn into a nightmare!

First decide on a theme – cute Halloween, spooky skulls or zombies, zombies, zombies – whatever possess your designer instincts.

Now don’t moan and groan but it makes sense to create a basic plan around your apartment layout. Do you just want to focus on a window so your apartment gives off an eerie vibe to your neighbors or are you planning on putting a full-throtle haunt on?  Either way a plan will help youkeep from freaking out when you go to purchase your decorations or diy supplies.

Spooky colored lighting sets a chilling mood as well as creating creepy scenes in unexpected places.  Glow sticks and inexpensive string lights do wonders to set that spine chilling mood.

Don’t forget to use your ceiling for the unexpected fright – helium balloons can be easily transformed into ghostly guests lurking in unexpected places or a spider that drops from a door frame are a shriek inducing good time.

Finally, cobwebs, lots and lots of cobwebs – nothing is more unnerving then walking face first into a web.

Posted in 2014, Holiday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Beat Boring Beige With Pop of Color

Apartment decor can be pretty bland simply because we, as a property management company, need to appeal to a broad base of customers.  So painting walls is not about personal style but about not turning off potential tenants with vivid paint color choices.

So how can you, the tenant, add that pop of color to a bland sea of beige?

Here are some easy and affordable ways to introduce color into your home:

  • Paint a focal piece of furniture a vibrant color you love.
  • Add fun kitchen utensils to brighten up your kitchen countertop.
  • DIY your own glass vases in bold paint hues to display throughout your place.
  • Removable wallpaper. Pick a wall and have some fun.
  • Use white furniture or comforters as a base then layer color. Pillows, blankets, curtains, art, accessories and rugs – also very easy to switch “looks” when you’re ready for a change.
  • Flowers.  A great way to bring color and a little bit of the outdoors in!
  • Two brightly colored chairs in a favorite color can do the trick.
  • Go bold with your shower curtain to add that visual splash.
  • Art – play up color in the art you choose – then coordinate the colors of rug, accessories, etc.
  • Make your own art by covering large panels of foam core in fabric or wallpaper and then hang or just lean them up against the wall.  Instant wow.
Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Design, | Tagged | 1 Comment