Though it has as many critics as supporters, we can all agree that life in Forest Park hasn’t been the same since The Rose gentleman’s club opened on Industrial Drive.

At first, it was a law enforcement nightmare, the police chief confessed, with an officer directing traffic full-time at Industrial and Desplaines. When a traffic signal was finally installed, it eased the burden somewhat. The club’s location in the far southern region of Forest Park was also a handicap to police but the chief said their response to disturbances has been nothing short of “miraculous.”

“All the dispatcher has to say is ‘The Rose,’ and we have four squads there in less than a minute,” the chief said.

However, the club’s presence has also caused an up-tick in missing persons reports.

“The husband says he’s going for a gallon of milk and he’s gone for three hours,” the chief said. “So, we check The Rose parking lot first thing. By the time we find the guy inside, the milk’s usually warm.”

The fire department has been equally diligent in its response time to The Rose during the many surprise inspections it has carried out.

“There may be some hot stuff happening on stage,” the fire chief said, “but thanks to our stepped up inspections, it’s the safest building in town.”

It’s also one of the cleanest, Forest Park’s liquor commissioner said, in terms of its beer lines.

“I check the taps on almost a nightly basis and they run a tight ship there, in more ways than one,” he said.

The success of The Rose has spilled over into other areas of community life. The Park District reports a waiting list for its pole dancing classes and The Rose’s sponsorship of a Little League team made the club more family friendly.

“I don’t mind the hot pink lettering,” one of the player’s mothers said. “But I don’t see why the jerseys should have snaps down the back.”

Sales tax revenue from lap dancing alone financed Forest Park’s new three-story parking structure and it also transformed the business on Industrial Drive. First there was the garter factory followed by the company that specializes in dim lighting.

The club has its detractors, though. Area guidance counselors lament that many young women who would have gone into medicine or engineering are living off the dollar bills they receive from strangers. Also, the birth rate has dropped in Forest Park, as more and more women are waiting for their dance careers to end before starting families.

Looking back, the initial blocking of the club by the village council seems very shortsighted. Look at how happy they were last week, when they accepted the club’s generous offer to paint their favorite flower on Forest Park’s water towers.