As you read this the elections will finally be over and the community, or at least the candidates, will heave a collective sigh of relief. But let’s not forget what the elections were all about: there is a lot of work to be done.
At the park
The first and most immediate issue on the agenda for the park should be coming up with a plan for dealing with the Roos Building demolition and construction. The construction promises to affect traffic into the park during its most crucial money-making months. In addition, it will affect parking, as streets in the park will have to become two-way thoroughfares to accommodate street closings.
This means losing parking spaces and customers during the summer in a district that admits it has not had a good summer in a long time.
Also on the agenda, should be the completion of the comprehensive plan and the creation of a reasonable maintenance schedule to deal with the park’s much needed building repairs. The plan should also include routine maintenance for the park, such as resurfacing, repainting, slide maintenance, etc.
This will not only help ensure the safety and appeal of our park, but help get the budget under control by providing commissioners with realistic projected costs for the future.
Intergovernmental agreements should also be on the list. The park needs to work towards creating a better partnership with the village, to deal with the tot lot issue and to streamline our community’s governments as much as possible.
Along those same lines, more intergovernmental cooperation would allow the park and the village to seek out ways, perhaps in conjunction with the state, to safeguard the prairie path. It should be easy to designate the land for the prairie path as “not for development,” so when the time comes, the land is still there for the path.
Speaking of land, land acquisition is also important for the park to begin planning. If the park does not begin this process now, there may not be any land left in Forest Park to buy.
At Proviso Township High School District 209
The new board truly needs to address test scores, low academic performance, low attendance, falling expectations and rising cynicism.
Most important is the need for less secrecy on this board.
This is a board with schools that are failing, that is trying to create an entirely new magnet school, and a board that needs to take stock of its needs and wants.
It needs to address the falling scores, it needs to give its new magnet school a curriculum, it needs to trim the fat, it needs to put petty bickering aside and it needs to regain the public trust.
Perhaps the community should begin it’s own scoreboard to keep track of the board’s successes and failures. When the students go in for ISATs, the board goes in and gets measured on such unthinkables as open government, board member performance, commitment to education and ability to compromise.