Downtown Holiday Walk was a hit

Despite the snowstorm and cold temperatures, Madison Street was filled with folks enjoying the chamber’s Holiday Walk on Friday, Dec. 1. It was undoubtedly the best yet thanks in large part to our sponsors, and the incredible effort put forth by the merchants in creating the live window displays.

From a Japanese tea ceremony, Santa’s attempt to secure a loan and antique elves to an amazing magician, misfit cookies, and black and white TV, merchants went all out this year much to the delight of the crowd.

The Holiday Walk was created to bring merchants and the public together to share some holiday spirit. Thanks to Ferrara Pan Candy, our generous title sponsor. We’d also like to thank the following sponsors for their part in keeping the tradition alive: Schauer’s Ace Hardware (horse-drawn sleigh rides); Forest Park Main Street (Main Street gift certificates and the chocolate fountain); Park District of Forest Park (marshmallow roast); Spotless Carwash (Santa and goodies and car wash tokens); Elizabeth Axtell Agency/American Family Insurance (live reindeer); Paulson’s Paint and Thiesse Plumbing (face painting); Madison merchants (gift certificates for the Downtown Dollar Giveaway); Mohr Oil and Krazy About Kids Outlet (poster sponsors); Wednesday Journal and Neighbors Magazine (advertising sponsors); and Todd & Holland Tea Merchants, Louie’s Grill, Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753, St. Bernardine School, deedee & edee, Triton College, Lisa Howe Ebright Photography, Dr. Lori Lipkin, Ernie Hines, Duffy’s Tavern, Military & Police Supply, Heels, Accents by Fred, Two Fish Art Glass, Gallery Etc., caffe DeLuca, The Old School Records and House Red (supporting sponsors) and to Forest Park National Bank & Trust (photos with Santa).

Thanks to Santa and his helper for taking time from their busy schedules to spread some cheer, and to Circle Theatre for singing carols by the tree and throughout the evening. A big thank you to all who braved the elements to join us. Happy Holidays and best wishes in the New Year.

The Holiday Walk Committee:
Laurie Kokenes, Erik Fjeldstad, Heidi Vance,
Connie Brown, Wayne Schauer, Judy Trage
Forest Park

Kudos for snow removal

Just a big thank you to all the hard working village employees working the snow plows during the big snow storm. After living through snow in Chicago the first 28 years of my life, the snow removal in Forest Park is second to none; streets, alleys, even sidewalks! A mayor won’t lose his job over snow in this town.

Plowers, next snow just stop by my place on Circle Avenue for a shot of brandy. However, my wife will serve it to you. I will be fast asleep knowing I’ll be able to get to work the next morning.

Tom Reich
Forest Park

Why we live here

To the Main Street Board of Directors: After reading your article regarding the parking issues, I’m a bit agitated and feel that the article is a bit condescending to the village residents. My husband and I moved here 15 years ago and our two children were born here. Our desire to live here and what I believe is attractive for most people who live here, is the small town community, the people that live here and take pride in their village and property, the proximity to Chicago and the easy access to the Chicagoland area, etc. Don’t get me wrong, we love what Madison Street has brought to the community, but it’s not the deciding factor on why most village residents call this home.

Is the parking really a problem for the patrons? Have customers complained that they can’t walk a few extra blocks down a nice residential street? Patrons who come from other towns park in front of my house on a daily basis. We welcome the visitors. We take pride in our home and our property, which also makes Madison Street that more appealing.

Don’t tear down residents’ homes for your parking needs. Find other alternatives! I will speak for my family; we are not in favor of what you or the village is proposing.

Marie Spence
Forest Park

Insensitive proposal

The letter from the Main Street Redevelopment Association is very callous and shows them for the very self-serving and unfeeling organization that they are. They think because our property values have gone up and because there are some fancy restaurants and shops that it will justify anything they want to do. They do not actually care about Forest Park or its residents beyond the desire to get as many of us to spend money in their establishments or buy their townhouses and condos. They primarily care about their businesses and their profits. They could have easily suggested the tearing down of one or two of the businesses in town in order to create parking. That would not put out any of our residents. A show of good faith would have been to at least split it 50/50. Half residential and half commercial. Doc Ryans could be torn down and the lot expanded to the west instead of to the south. You could say the same about the business to the west of the Circle and Madison lot. Of course that would be unheard of because it is all about the businesses.

Forest Park is not just about Madison Street. I don’t see MSRA worrying about the schools, the library, the park district or any other aspect of our town other than the six block strip along Madison. They only see themselves and what they want.

The Main Street Redevelopment or village administration never gave a second thought to how increased parking would effect the residents of the village when they were busy waving the requirements for incoming businesses to not provide for the parking needs of their patrons. Many of the large buildings and town homes that have been going up have not provided adequate parking for their developments. They get wavers from the village instead of cutting down the number of the units they build. Why should their profits be compromised when they can just have the village take the neighboring homes to provide what they did not want to?

I did not move to Forest Park 12 years ago because they had a couple of nice restaurants and shops downtown! I can’t recall any of my neighbors listing shops and restaurants as their reason for moving to town either. They are trying to justify the taking of homes because they have done sooooooo much for our little town. That’s very transparent for their true motivation of just want parking for their patrons and not wanting to provide it at their expense.

The village mayor and administrators need to start paying attention to needs of the rest of the village and not just to those of the developers. Forest Park is about much, much more than just Madison Street and its redevelopment.

Kathy Kucia
Forest Park

New web address

The community message board at has a new web address. We can now be found at

Because we weren’t using for much more than hosting the forums, we decided to sell the domain name to an organization who wanted to make better use of it. Our new URL of: more accurately describes the purpose of our website.

Anyone who has previously bookmarked our site is advised to take note of the new address.

Fred Broecker
Forest Park