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VIP work complete, Roos nears approval

At the start of the new year there are two bright spots in village government that should give people something to cheer about.

The village actually managed to save a little money on its $10 million infrastructure project. This alone ought to make taxpayers happy, and it appears there is a reasonable plan for the remaining $200,000. On top of that success is a strong indication that all 107,000-square feet of promise located at 7329 Harrison St. will be fulfilled. Developers of the Roos property were met with little resistance at a recent plan commission meeting as neighbors begin to get excited over the project.

Of course there is still work to be done on both of these items and short of a ribbon cutting our congratulations could be premature. Both of these projects, however, are clearly headed in the right direction.

Before the village successfully lobbied for a sales tax referendum to raise the roughly $10 million needed for the Village Improvement Program, road projects were done somewhat haphazardly with whatever money might have been available at the time. This approach doesn’t allow for any planning to occur, making it difficult to repair anything other than the most pressing issue at the time.

Longtime Commissioner Tim Gillian is a retired paving contractor who knows a thing or two about putting together a project of this nature. Gillian will be stepping down at the end of his term this year and said he is hopeful the council will continue to look for ways to fund road improvement projects.

Without the benefit of a referendum earmarked for such expenses, the council could easily fall back into a pattern of stopgap measures, Gillian said. Perhaps the coming budget cycle is an opportunity for the village to begin planning for such recurring expenses.

As for the Roos property on Harrison Street, we couldn’t agree more with the neighborhood resident who said he is ready to look at something other than the boarded up windows of a vacant factory. The planning officials for the village and the developer were right to rethink the density of the project, especially given the parking crunch that could develop as a result. The new plans still don’t meet the two-space minimum required by the village, but again, Forest Park’s parking problems will require some long range planning that could begin during this year’s budget process.