The Park District of Forest Park initiated $1.75 million in financing to reconstruct its headquarters, and construction is one step closer to beginning.

At its Aug. 24 board meeting, the district voted to issue $1.75 million in bonds. Director Dave Novak emphasized this will not increase taxes, but enables the district to access the remainder of the $3 million in funding already authorized by referendum.

The board also heard proposals from two construction management firms vying to oversee the project. Henry Bros. Co., a general contractor with 82 years of experience, was awarded the contract. The company has managed a number of construction projects for park districts in the Chicago area. Henry Bros. has also overseen the renovation of vintage buildings, many older than the 62-year-old park headquarters.

Board members said having a project manager is essential to cost-efficiency and keeping the project on schedule.

The renovation plans include installing an elevator and refurbishing the veranda. A stairway will allow pool patrons to take advantage of the second-story sundeck. An addition will also be built on the east side of the building, which will feature a new entrance and space for offices.

The board anticipates that groundbreaking for the project will occur in November or December, with the work being completed prior to the 2007 pool opening. Henry Bros. will provide a project superintendent who will be on-site to enforce safety regulations for workers and the public.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.