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Parking shortage merits attention

Just a few months ago it appeared that the village’s search for additional parking along Madison Street would take center stage in this year’s elections, but in fact, the issue has all but disappeared from the radar.

Incumbent commissioners have quietly acknowledged how severely the village bungled its announcement that six homes were being lined up for buyouts to make way for new asphalt. Even the entrepreneurs who stood to gain the most declined to publicly back the project. Meanwhile, that proposal has been noticeably absent from council discussions.

The chamber of commerce though, may be ready to take the point position. As the voice of many Forest Park businesses, the chamber should be a leader in this discussion. The problem now is that the businesses don’t have the tools to solve this problem on their own and will likely be sitting at the table by themselves for many months to come.

It’s obvious that nothing substantive will occur at village hall on this front until after the new council is sworn in. That moves us into May. It will likely take a few more months to educate newly elected commissioners on the severity of the problem and the pros and cons of different solutions. We’ll need estimates on the cost and scope of any solutions. All the while, commissioners will be extra careful to allow for plenty of public input, we’re sure. We could easily find ourselves in early 2008 before another plan is ready for a vote.

Chamber President Mark Hosty is correct to predict that businesses will do little more than provide stop-gap solutions by trading parking spaces back and forth. New parking needs to be created. But for the sake of customers and residents alike, some creative trades and leadership backbone from the village will be necessary in the coming year.

John Q. Public is a no show

There’s a new majority emerging from the District 91 Board of Education and you didn’t vote them in. Of course, residents here have given those who do serve little option but to appoint whoever they see fit. We’d like to ask that voters humor us for a moment by participating in an exercise called, Getting to Know Your Empty Seat.

In this role playing exercise, you the voter will adopt the persona of an educator. An empty chair will be your partner. Now, sitting across from your partner (the empty chair) begin asking for feedback. Is this level of student performance acceptable? What do you think about increasing the emphasis on reading and math? Should we be concerned with curriculum changes at the public high school?

Once you’re thoroughly frustrated, we would encourage you to attend a school board meeting and claim your empty seat.