Chamber reports on marketing efforts, past and future

Also, 12th St. Wings relinquishes liquor license

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By Robert J. Lifka

Contributing reporter

The benefits of shopping and dining on Madison Street in Forest Park are about to become better known.

During a presentation at Monday's Forest Park village council meeting, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce unveiled a marketing plan that will publicize Madison Street's benefits far and wide.

Noel Eberline, member of the chamber's executive committee and marketing committee, informed village council members Monday that Forest Park will be featured in Chicago Transit Authority rail station platform advertising and interior train advertising in May and in the June issue of Chicago Magazine.

The presentation came in response to a request by village council members that the Chamber of Commerce provide an update on use of marketing funds the village contributed to the chamber in May — $20,000 for a celebration and awareness campaign upon the completion of the Madison Street resurfacing project and $25,000 in annual funding support going forward.

"Forest Park is an incredible community," said Eberline, co-owner of Yearbook, a shop and design studio on Madison Street, in his presentation. "Not many municipalities have a main street as viable as ours."

He explained that the chamber's initial approach was to focus locally, but this new marketing campaign, involving the CTA and Chicago Magazine, will reach into Chicago and the west suburbs.

The CTA advertising program, which will cost $12,644, will include 250 interior train placements and 12 rail station display ads for four weeks, reaching as many as 4 million riders. In the presentation, chamber officials said they hope to leverage Forest Park's advantage of having two convenient Blue Line stops at Harlem/Circle and Forest Park/Desplaines with priority given to primary Blue Line stations and hub/connection stations. The total average four-week ridership across 33 stations is 4,057,848.

The full-page color ad in Chicago Magazine's guide to the western suburbs, which will cost $6,400, will promote Forest Park as a destination for shopping, dining, entertainment and living. Forest Park will receive a bonus full-page "advertorial" in the Chicago Magazine's "Go-West" guide and a microsite on the magazine's website. Total readership is 717,069.

The remaining $6,253 will be used for a refresh/update of a shopping and dining directory/map created in 2016. Of the 20,000 copies of the updated directory/map, 12,500 copies will be inserted in local newspapers in May and June and the rest distributed elsewhere.

Expenses for last year's celebration and awareness campaign included $7,252 for light post banners on Madison Street; $5,113 for a shopping and dining directory/map; $2,789 for newspaper advertising and posters promoting holiday events; and $1,870 for a full-page ad in the February issue of West Suburban Living Magazine. The remaining $2,976 will be used to promote spring/summer events.

"We truly appreciate our partnership with the village so much," Eberline said. "We've taken great care to do our research and want to spend the money to get the best return on this investment."

The presentation was generally well-received with Commissioner Dan Novak thanking chamber members for their efforts and describing the accompanying handout as a "pretty cool piece."

Eberline termed a suggestion from Commissioner Joseph Byrnes that the chamber work with local Realtors to distribute welcome packets to new residents "a great idea" and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurie Kokenes indicated the group would consider undertaking such an effort.

Business relinquishes liquor license

Mayor Anthony Calderone announced at Monday's meeting at operators of 12th Street Wings had avoided a hearing last week on possible loss of the business' liquor license by voluntarily relinquishing its license. Calderone indicated that a series of incidents requiring intervention by the Police Department precipitated the request for the hearing.

Vehicle sticker fees to rise

The village council voted unanimously to increase most vehicle sticker fees by $10.00 effective this year. The fee for a passenger vehicle will increase from $25.00 to $35.00 and for a senior citizen or handicap license plate from $7.00 to $10.00. Vehicle sticker fees for motorcycles, recreational vehicles, dealer-owned vehicles and five classes of trucks also will increase $10 each.

Morey added to ad-hoc committee

The village council voted unanimously to add Carole Morey to the ad-hoc committee studying resident Ralph DiFebo's proposal to create a mini-Ravinia on vacant village-owned property near the Altenheim Retirement Home. 

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