Mapping the future of Forest Park’s neighborhoods is an effort that requires patience, diligence and thoughtfulness. The forethought that goes into deciding what a community will look like, what it will feel like and who it will attract has to be tremendous if it’s going to be done well. That village officials are working to address these issues on what is potentially a very controversial front is praiseworthy.
As it stands, Forest Park is vulnerable to having a strip club or adult bookstore arrive unwelcomed in an unsuspecting neighborhood. Provisions in the zoning code to regulate the location of this hot button industry are simply inadequate to the point that, in theory anyway, exotic dancers could take the stage next to a tutoring center or coffee shop. We employ these admittedly alarmist scenarios not to scandalize adult businesses but to highlight the need for changes to the zoning. For some, nudity and sexually explicit material is too taboo regardless of the context. In our view, Madison Street or Roosevelt Road are wholly inappropriate settings for this industry and we’re glad to see that community leaders agree.
But this is another example of how sorely the zoning regulations need to be reviewed. During last winter’s campaign season leading into the council election, several of the candidates leaned on this issue. Incremental progress is being made, but we’re yet to hear any mention of the need for whole scale review.
A Forest Park original
What can you say about Carl Schwebl? Except that for better, and once in a while for worse, he represents everything we love best about Forest Park.
Full of spit and vinegar, an opinion on every subject of local interest, connected through business, marriage, politics and friendship to everyone in town, Carl Schwebl is about to depart the corner of Madison and Circle and enter, kicking and screaming, into retirement.
We’re losing one of the holdovers, one of the bridges between the old and the new Forest Park. Carl is a guy who represents the virtues of the old Forest Park. Self-reliant, loyal, grouchy, funny and profane, a guy who can take care of himself in a fight, and who, if you’re with him, will take care of you, too. Yet, we recall a night crossing Madison Street with Carl Schwebl when he said he came close a decade back to leaving Forest Park, his frustration with the stagnation so advanced. Quietly, an oddity for Carl, he joined a small group of locals dedicated to moving Forest Park and Madison Street forward in a progressive way. He rightly ought to take pride in the role he played in Forest Park’s renewal.
The Review would be remiss in not thanking Carl Schwebl, and the late Bill McKenzie, for their purchase of the Review decades ago when the unexpected death of the publisher left the paper at loose ends, its future as a locally owned institution in doubt. Carl and Bill were worthy caretakers, shepherding the paper into the loving arms of Bob Haeger, who with daughter Laurie Kokenes, set the paper up for a bright future.
OK, Carl may not be in the pink of health, but he’s not dead. So enough of this. Carl, we’ll see you on the street.