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Old 09-23-2009, 04:59 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,319 times
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Default Oak Park...

I posted a few weeks ago that my family was planning on moving out of the city soon...

Anyway, after spending some time in the area, I think we've narrowed our focus to OP/RF, and I'd like to ask a few more specific questions. We've driven around a lot, but it can't compare to getting advice from residents or those really familiar with the area.

1) The consensus seems to be that anywhere in OP is safe as long as its west of Ridgeland. I've looked at the crime data on the OP police department site, and the area East of Ridgeland doesn't seem THAT bad. It still seems a lot safer than Lincoln Park (our current residence), which I consider one of the safest areas of the city. Does anyone have any anecdotal evidence that suggests otherwise?

2) One of our primary criteria is being able to walk to the EL (to commute to the loop everyday), and so it appears that anywhere from Chicago Ave on south will be within walking distance to either the Blue or Green line. Is this correct?

3) What is the absolute best location in OP in terms of walkability to stores, restaurants, trans, etc? From driving around, I would guess the area bounded by Harlem/Lake/Oak Park/ and 290? Any other ideas?

4) Are there any elementary schools that should be avoided? Is there a significant difference between the schools in River Forest and OP? We like River Forest, but its a little pricier, and less is walkable to the EL (the Metra is out as the downtown stop is inconvenient to my husbands job)

We also like Evanston/Wilmette, but from looking at real estate listings, our budget (750k) will go A LOT further in OP/RF.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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I've known several families over the years who have lived east of Ridgeland, and most of them have liked it. I'd stay off of Austin Avenue itself, however. And I'd personally like a few blocks of buffer, but I've known people on Lombard who just love it there. The biggest complaint I typically hear is regarding garage break-ins--but this is a problem all over Oak Park.

As far as schools are concerned, check out the Illinois school report cards. Mann has long been the best elementary school in Oak Park. Recently Lincoln has taken up second place, but it switches around. You'll notice that test scores really corrolate quite strongly to the demographics of the school.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:55 AM
 
77 posts, read 95,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
I've known several families over the years who have lived east of Ridgeland, and most of them have liked it. I'd stay off of Austin Avenue itself, however. And I'd personally like a few blocks of buffer, but I've known people on Lombard who just love it there. The biggest complaint I typically hear is regarding garage break-ins--but this is a problem all over Oak Park.

As far as schools are concerned, check out the Illinois school report cards. Mann has long been the best elementary school in Oak Park. Recently Lincoln has taken up second place, but it switches around. You'll notice that test scores really corrolate quite strongly to the demographics of the school.
sorry to but in this topic but;

do you have any advice on private schools in oak park, elementary and middle?
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Tri-Taylor
2,109 posts, read 4,039,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix9 View Post
sorry to but in this topic but;

do you have any advice on private schools in oak park, elementary and middle?
St. Mary School (Riverside), St. Leonard School (Berwyn), Children's School of Oak Park (Berwyn) are three private K-8 schools in the area. I also heard there is a Montessori school opening in Berwyn shortly.

Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park), St. Joseph (Westchester) and Fenwick (Oak Park) are three private high schools in the area.

You should do your own research but all of these are generally well regarded.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:18 PM
 
134 posts, read 232,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
I've known several families over the years who have lived east of Ridgeland, and most of them have liked it. I'd stay off of Austin Avenue itself, however. And I'd personally like a few blocks of buffer, but I've known people on Lombard who just love it there. The biggest complaint I typically hear is regarding garage break-ins--but this is a problem all over Oak Park.

As far as schools are concerned, check out the Illinois school report cards. Mann has long been the best elementary school in Oak Park. Recently Lincoln has taken up second place, but it switches around. You'll notice that test scores really corrolate quite strongly to the demographics of the school.
count me in as one who loves Oak Park...one must be "aware" of the surroudings, and use city sense, but there is so much positive going on there....we live east of ridgeland in the arts district (on Humphrey, one block from austin) and love the neighborhood. It's a great area!!
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:54 PM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,359,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adele115 View Post
count me in as one who loves Oak Park...one must be "aware" of the surroudings, and use city sense, but there is so much positive going on there....we live east of ridgeland in the arts district (on Humphrey, one block from austin) and love the neighborhood. It's a great area!!

I was recently over by the so called "arts district" a couple of months ago and was surprised to see the blue print and drafting supply shop my father used over 40 years ago was still there. Mike's Pizza was gone though.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:06 AM
 
21,476 posts, read 34,954,601 times
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Default Missed a whole bunch...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRU67 View Post
St. Mary School (Riverside), St. Leonard School (Berwyn), Children's School of Oak Park (Berwyn) are three private K-8 schools in the area. I also heard there is a Montessori school opening in Berwyn shortly.

Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park), St. Joseph (Westchester) and Fenwick (Oak Park) are three private high schools in the area.

You should do your own research but all of these are generally well regarded.
It is not hard to track down this info, even the public schools list is a good starting point.

Elementary Schools in Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois

Not sure why this school is not on list: Google Maps I seem to recall that a high percentage of kids there are from Chicago, but it is still technically in the OPRF feeder area...

There are other schools that Oak Parkers attend, one of the most obvious misses is the all girls Trinity: Trinity High School in River Forest, IL


I should point out that with the relative acceptance / support that most Oak Parkers have for public schools the decision to utilize the private schools is driven more by tradition and social concerns for those in town and for an escape from poor performing schools for those who live in Chicago. The quality of the educational experience is not dramatically different, but the social associations can be quite different...
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:30 AM
 
373 posts, read 516,015 times
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To Felix

Alcuin Montessori School is a great private school in OP. All of the Catholic Churches seem to have pretty good programs, with Ascension and St. Giles leading the pack.

To the OP:

We moved to OP from North Center last year and really like it (although we miss the city and our old 'hood). We both take the green line to work; we live walking distance. The commute to downtown is certainly quicker than taking the brown line from Irving Park. We love how walkable OP is; we can walk to all the OP Ave shops and restaurants.

Crime is an issue here, but probably no worse than compared to all of Lincoln Park. Lookout Kid did a great chart last year comparing crimes in popular suburban and city 'hoods. For us, we were not comparing crime in Winnetka versus OP, but comparing crime from city 'hoods to Oak Park. In other words, we strongly considered staying in the city long term.

Although we don't have kids in the public schools yet, we will. We think the diversity will add to our children's education. Don't let the test scores of certain schools get you down - look at the breakdown by race/ethnicity.

Let me know if you have more specific questions.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:37 AM
 
21,476 posts, read 34,954,601 times
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I almost hesitate to point this out, because the last I want is any sort of disharmony, but I am curious why some folks seem to value the "diversity" that they feel will benefit their children but in the same breath say not to worry about the test scores as the break down by ethnic/racial lines in more encouraging. Would that be like saying "well you know all the kids that did not perform as well as you did in school can still be your pals when you have a nice job as a well paid attorney and they have a made-up job in the Cook Co system"??? I just don't get it...
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:49 AM
 
1,237 posts, read 1,209,352 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kindrakindra View Post
To Felix

Alcuin Montessori School is a great private school in OP. All of the Catholic Churches seem to have pretty good programs, with Ascension and St. Giles leading the pack.

To the OP:

We moved to OP from North Center last year and really like it (although we miss the city and our old 'hood). We both take the green line to work; we live walking distance. The commute to downtown is certainly quicker than taking the brown line from Irving Park. We love how walkable OP is; we can walk to all the OP Ave shops and restaurants.

Crime is an issue here, but probably no worse than compared to all of Lincoln Park. Lookout Kid did a great chart last year comparing crimes in popular suburban and city 'hoods. For us, we were not comparing crime in Winnetka versus OP, but comparing crime from city 'hoods to Oak Park. In other words, we strongly considered staying in the city long term.

Although we don't have kids in the public schools yet, we will. We think the diversity will add to our children's education. Don't let the test scores of certain schools get you down - look at the breakdown by race/ethnicity.

Let me know if you have more specific questions.
I kind of followed the same trajectory as kindra (moved to OP from Lincoln Square) and agree with pretty much everything she(?) said. Commute to city via Blue and Green lines (or Metra) is easy, ~ 25 minute train ride. As kindra states, there are also great private schools, but for the most part, the public schools are very good as well.

the good: great schools, great urban community, fairly open-minded-liberal, decent (not great) restaurants, ok shopping
the bad: taxes, crime-- certainly a consideration, however if you're smart, you can minimize it. East of Ridgeland, as I understand, has an uptick in crime. However, OP is not Englewood and crime should not be a deterrent to moving here.

Last edited by BigLake; 09-25-2009 at 09:09 AM..
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